Reporter Quits in Dispute Over Dukakis Story
A reporter for the Washington Times said Friday he resigned from the newspaper in a dispute with his editors over their handling of a story suggesting that Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis had sought psychiatric counseling.
Gene Grabowski said he resigned Wednesday in a disagreement with editors who revised his original story appearing Aug. 4 to emphasize what Grabowski felt was a more remote possibility that Dukakis had visited a psychiatrist.
Grabowski said he had written a “straight story” about Dukakis’ medical records released by the Massachusetts governor’s physician, Gerald Plotkin.
The Times article, under a headline reading, “Dukakis Kin Hints at Sessions,” quoted Janet Peters, the sister of Dukakis’ wife, Kitty, as saying “it is possible” Dukakis once consulted “on a friendly basis” with a family friend who also was a psychiatrist.
Subsequent quotes described the possibility of such a consultation as more remote, with Peters saying: “It’s possible, but I doubt it.”
Grabowski said the story as he and co-writer Amy Bayer submitted it did not include any reference to Peters because they did not feel her statements provided any useful information. The quotes from Peters were inserted by editors who asked to see the notes Grabowski took during his interview, he said.
Wesley Pruden, the Times’ managing editor, said the paper stands by its story.
“Reporters are rewritten all the time. Their stories are rewritten all the time,” Pruden said. “We stand behind it (the story) the way we stand behind all our stories.”