PO Box 943, Mendocino CA 95460-0943
FRIENDS OF JUDI BARI
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Media Contact: Nicholas Wilson, info (at) fojb.org
Estate of Judi Bari Asks for Withdrawal and Correction of
L.A. Times Reviewer Blasts Coleman For "Dubious
Friends of Judi Bari Offers Documentation of Facts About Book
The Estate of Judi Bari, the
Earth First! activist who died of cancer in 1997, today requested that Encounter
Books "withdraw The Secret Wars of Judi Bari from publication
until it can be corrected."
a letter to publisher Peter Collier, estate executor Darlene Comingore cited 351
factual errors in the new book, and said, "A book can't claim to be a
biography with this level of error....That doesn't mean that Judi Bari is
above criticism. But everyone--dead or alive--is entitled to a certain
base-line honesty in the telling of the story of his or her life."
Comingore told Collier that the on-line critique of the book at www.colemanhoax.info that has been prepared by family, friends and associates of Judi Bari will help in the task of correcting the book, since it lists the 351 errors page-by-page and includes documentation that immediately disproves 15 key assertions by author Kate Coleman.[A copy of Comingore's letter is below].
The book received another setback today in a scathing Los Angeles Times review. Mark Hertsgaard wrote that Coleman's book "could be assigned in journalism schools to each how not to do investigative reporting." The review said Coleman's "reporting is thin and sloppy and the humdrum prose is marred by dubious speculation." He adds, "You can't cherry pick 'facts' to fit your thesis."
In dismissing Coleman's book, the
review states, "Coleman doesn't explore the very plausible theory that
angry loggers may have bombed Bari. Her thesis is that Bari was a
pot-smoking egomaniac who latched onto the timber wars to fulfill her dream of
political martyrdom--a dream the car bombing fulfilled six years before her 1996
(sic) death of breast cancer." (note: Bari died on March 2, 1997, and over
a thousand people attended her memorial seven days later in her hometown of
In a letter to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat today calling attention to errors in a Sunday column by Chris Smith, Friends of Judi Bari coordinator Nicholas Wilson offered a list of facts about the Coleman book that he would happily document if asked. The fact list appears below, after the text of Bari estate executor Darlene Comingore's letter to Encounter Books.
of Bari estate letter to Encounter books
Estate of Judi Bari
January 25, 2005
Peter Collier, Publisher
665 Third Street, Suite 330
San Francisco, CA 94107-1951
RE: Request for
withdrawal of "The Secret Wars of Judi Bari"
Dear Mr. Collier:
political allegiances, it is sometimes possible for people of differing
persuasions to agree that something just isn’t true. Although you run an
ideologically-based publishing house, I trust that you have the intellectual
integrity to want to avoid knowingly printing false information under the guise
Any book can have a
few mistakes. But Encounter Books’ recent title, "The Secret Wars of Judi
Bari," seems to have broken some kind of record. A page-by-page listing of
its factual errors and false assertions has reached 351 entries, and the book is
only 232 pages long. These errors range from small ones—like the constant
misplacing of people, dates and events—on up to serious libels, like the claim
that Bari abandoned environmental activism and instead promoted her image as a
martyr in order to benefit financially.
You may quarrel with
some of the listings, but most are indisputable. Fifteen key errors are refuted
with on-line documentation, and many more will be included in the "Instant
Proof" section as additional documents are assembled.
As someone who was a
friend, political colleague, and ally with Judi from 1979 to the day of her
death in 1997, the portrait painted in this book is not one that I recognize.
Please don’t take my word for this. In his LA Times review of your book
published January 25, 2005, Mr. Mark Hertsgaard writes, "‘The Secret Wars
of Judi Bari’ could be assigned in journalism schools to teach how not
to do investigative reporting." As a person who Judi named to protect her
interests, Ms. Coleman neither contacted me nor to my knowledge attempted to
contact me to verify any assertions she presented in her book.
A book can’t claim
to be a biography with this level of error, whether it is deliberate or just the
consequence of a lazy author or incompetent fact-checkers. That doesn’t mean
that Judi Bari is above criticism. But everyone—dead or alive—is entitled to
a certain base-line honesty in the telling of the story of his or her life.
For these reasons,
the Estate of Judi Bari requests that you withdraw "The Secret Wars of Judi
Bari" from publication until it can be corrected. The extensive critique
that has been posted by her family, friends and associates at www.colemanhoax.info
should be helpful.
I look forward to
hearing from you. You may contact me by phone at (916) 806-6913, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or in writing in care of my attorneyMr. Daryl J. Weinroth, Esq., 750 Grant
Avenue, Suite 250, Novato, CA 94947.
Very truly yours,
Darlene G. Comingore
------------------end text of Bari estate
In a letter to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat Tuesday morning, Friends of Judi Bari made the following offer of proof:
We can document
each of the following facts and would be happy to do so:
Kate Coleman's book is a classic example of the principle:
garbage in, garbage out. Encounter Books should be investigated for false
advertising for calling the book non-fiction. It's fiction from the title
through the final sentence.
Coordinator, Friends of Judi Bari (FOJB)
PO Box 943
Mendocino CA 95460-0943
Relevant websites: www.fojb.org www.colemanhoax.info www.judibari.org