New York Times Article Inflames the British City of Sunderland

An op-ed, angry reader comments and more.

The June 28 New York Times article was headlined “Pro-Brexit City of Sunderland Glad to Poke Establishment in the Eye.” But a day later, it was the Times getting poked by the paper of record in this northern British community of 273,000 residents.

In short order Thursday, the Sunderland Echo fired off the following three ripostes:

Sunderland Hits Back to New York Times ‘Slur’ Article

12 Things You Wanted to Tell The New York Times After Sunderland ‘Slur’

Give Us an Apology, New York Times – Sunderland Echo’s Message After ‘Irresponsible’ Article

The first piece demands an apology from the paper and invites reporter Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura to return for a second, more complete visit. The Echo contacted The New York Times directly and concludes at the end of the piece that, ‘At the time of going to press, we have received no response.’ There’s also this paragraph:

“If The New York Times had stuck around it could have asked more than 50,000 people at the sell-out Beyonce concert or the hundreds of thousands of people who will soon be visiting the Sunderland International Airshow exactly what they think.

In “12 Things,” there is collected feedback from various locals, including a number of reactions along these lines:

Where are the photos of our beautiful parks and seafronts? Discussions with adults who live, work in some of the very many beautiful areas of Sunderland? No, Kimiko couldn’t do that! She came to do her worst and she achieved it.

The final item takes the form of an op-ed:

Many reasons have been suggested as to why Sunderland voted to exit. Was it immigration? Was is an anti-establishment vote, Was it a socio-economic divide, was it a protest? Was it the older generation to blame?Whatever the reasons were will be debated for many months to come.

But what we will not accept is that this city reached its decision because it is downtrodden, uneducated, deprived and living in a “time-warp.”

We’re pretty sure The New York Times will not be apologizing. However, a return visit by de Freytas-Tamura with photographer Adam Ferguson could be interesting, especially if it’s scheduled at a another crucial juncture of the Brexit road.

Update (July 5):
Per U.K. website Hold the Front Page, reporter de Freytaas-Tamura has responded to the Sunderland outrage over her article:

“My intention was not to upset residents of Sunderland nor to paint it in bad light; it was to understand why people overwhelmingly voted Leave when its economy seems to be tied to Nissan, the largest employer in the region, and EU funding.”