Times settles with Butera
A fraudulent Letter to The Editor and a serious error in editorial judgment on the part of The Aspen Times have combined to embarrass two members of the Aspen community who were entirely blameless in the matter.
On Monday, Oct. 25, the Times printed a Letter to The Editor, pretending to be written by Dick Butera, attacking Jon Busch for a column he had published in the Aspen Daily News. That letter, as received at the Times offices and as published in the newspaper, was signed “D. Butera, Aspen.”
The letter contained unacceptable insulting statements about Mr. Busch. Simply on the basis of its content, it should never have been published. The Times made a serious error in publishing such a scurrilous letter.
Mr. Butera has denied writing that letter. The Times acknowledges that Mr. Butera did not write the letter. Mr. Butera has further stated in the strongest possible terms that he disavows the sentiments expressed in that letter.
Mr. Butera has made the following statement:
“The sick person who wrote the letter did not deserve The Aspen Times’ mistake. For the Times to have enabled intellectual terrorism to take place is unconscionable. I’m pleased that they have acknowledged their error and are paying a small price to show they are responsible for their actions.”
The Times sincerely apologizes to both Mr. Busch and Mr. Butera. It has always been our goal to keep the Letters to The Editor columns as open as possible to the community. However, that desire for openness should be moderated by good judgment. In this case, we have failed to exercise the required good judgment and we are deeply embarrassed by that failure.
As a sign of sincerity, the Times, at Mr. Butera’s request, will make a donation to the Aspen Ski and Snowboard Club.
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