Anthony Shadid's Cousin: New York Times to Blame for Death

Ed Shadid says his cousin was fighting with editors and battling health problems before his final trip to Syria

The cousin of Anthony Shadid is blaming the New York Times for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's death in Syria last February. 

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In a speech at the  Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee's convention in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Ed Shadid said his cousin was battling both health issues and his editors in the weeks and days prior to suffering a fatal asthma attack at age 43. 

Before he died, Anthony Shadid (left) had snuck into Syria from Turkey to report on the political unrest in the country. 

Also read: Anthony Shadid, New York Times Correspondent, Dies in Syria

In his speech, Ed Shadid implied that the planning for Anthony Shadid's reporting trip to the troubled region quickly fell apart. 

"It was at that time that [Anthony Shadid] called his wife and gave his last haunting directive that if anything happens to me I want the world to know The New York Times killed me," Ed Shadid said, according to a transcript provided to Politico

In response, The New York Times issued a statement rejecting Ed Shadid's claims that it had pressured the journalist to undergo the dangerous assignment. 

"Anthony's death was a tragedy, and we appreciate the enduring grief that his family feels.  With respect, we disagree with Ed Shadid's version of the facts," the paper said in a statement. "The Times does not pressure reporters to go into combat zones. Anthony was an experienced, motivated correspondent. He decided whether, how and when to enter Syria, and was told by his editors, including on the day of the trip, that he should not make the trip if he felt it was not advisable for any reason."

Ed Shadid may not be alone among those closest to Anthony Shadid in blaming the paper of record for his death. As Erik Wemple notes in The Washington Post, Shadid’s widow, Nada Bakri, implicated her husband's profession in an interview with CNN four months ago. 

"I feel like I'm a little mad at journalism," Bakri said.