Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


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Through the years, America's Public Broadcasting System has curiously made a point of presenting one-sided broadcasts, as a mouthpiece for Armenians. This is a particular shame, as PBS is...  in theory...  not supposed to be beholden to one point of view, and is meant to represent the entire American public. Commercial television stations could be influenced by their sponsors; PBS as well is likely aware of not putting off wealthy Armenian financial sources, such as The Manoogian Foundation... which is almost always credited as being behind PBS Armenian programs. Here is an article that appeared in the Winter 1989 edition of ATA-USA, regarding the 1988 Armenian program, “AN ARMENIAN JOURNEY.” (The Boston PBS station WGBH was reportedly behind this made-in-1987 hour-long production.)






    by Joan Weeks


Despite numerous requests from the Assembly, Turkish-Americans and Americans who know Turkey, PBS aired “An Armenian Journey” on its nationwide affiliated stations, April 18, 1988. Attempts to gain appointments before then showing were turned down categorically. No meetings or input of any kind were accepted until after the film aired because PBS felt it was unbiased, and people would have to see it before they could comment.

After the program was shown, those who knew the background history were dismayed and outraged at the gross misrepresentations and falsehoods contained in the film. Those who did not know anything about the subject beforehand were left with pity for the Armenians and antagonism toward Turks. The Armenians had scored a propaganda victory in convincing PBS that this was a true and unbiased account of what happened to their ancestors in Eastern Turkey.

Theodore Bogosian

Ted Bogosian

     On Friday, April 22, 1988, ATAA met with the National Vice President of Programming, Barry Chase, who ultimately had decided to air “An Armenian Journey.” He defended his decision remarking that he was a lawyer by profession and that PBS had done nothing illegal in showing the film. Maintaining that (Theodore) Bogosian, the film maker, and the program were unbiased, Chase detailed the criteria PBS uses in selecting items for broadcast. In this case, the PBS affiliate in Boston had produced the film and in the eyes of the National PBS Office they had a very good track record for making credible films. Also, Bogosian was an accredited journalist with very good credentials as far as PBS was concerned.

It was pointed out that the Manoogian foundation, an Armenian organization had funded a large portion of the film and therefore had a vested interest in promoting their point of view. Also, during this meeting several of the glaring errors and misrepresentations were pointed out.

For example, throughout the film numerous still photographs are shown with the indication that they depict Armenian victims of the Turks. The film credits the Informations and Dokumentationszent rum Armenian, an Armenian research center located in West Berlin, as the source of the photos. However, these photographs are in fact copies from a collection of 50 glass positives taken by Armin T. Wegner, a member of the German-Ottoman Health Mission Team. The originals are housed in Stutgart’s Schiller-Nationalmuseum Deutsches Literaturarchiv. In reference to the Wegner photos, the Director of the Museum writes:

“Unfortunately, we do not have any indication regarding when or in what country the Wegner photographs were taken. As a result, the dating, and sites depicted must be determined by whoever uses the photos:’

This means that the people displayed could be Turks, Armenians or others, all of whom died in large numbers in the regions Wegner visited.

Bogosian centers a good portion of his proof on the war crime trials of 1919, organized in Istanbul which was under foreign occupation at the time. While Bogosian is searching for official Turkish documents from the early 1900’s in the Central Archive of Ancient Armenian Manuscripts, he is told of a lengthy document, rumored to be the records of the war trials, which has just been received in a nearby archive. After a week-waiting period he is handed a photocopy of this document and Bogosian implies he took the document to a Professor Bardakjian at Harvard to decifer the Ottoman Turkish. It turns out that Professor Bardakjian does not read Ottoman Turkish and took the document to a colleague, Professor Sinasi Tekin who teaches Ottoman Turkish language and literature at Harvard. Bogosian further claims he then showed the document to Professor Justin McCarthy, who he misrepresents as a spokesman for the Turkish position from the Institute of Turkish studies rather than an independent American historian specializing in Ottoman history at the University of Louisville. Professor McCarthy has stated that he was handed a seven page summary of the trial records and after asking for a copy of the documents in Ottoman Turkish that Bogosian brought back from the Soviet Union, he was told they were “secret” and could not be shown to him. Dr. McCarthy and other independent scholars have questioned the authenticity of these documents.

After these and other inaccuracies were pointed out, Erich Feigl’s Myth of Terror film was presented to Barry Chase for broadcasting. Feigl is an independent Austrian filmmaker who investigated Armenian terrorism after his friend, Erdogan Ozen, a Turkish labor attache, was assassinated by Armenian terrorists. 

Immediately, ATAA were told that PBS did not accept films from organizations with an interest in the film. It was pointed out that ATAA had received distribution rights in the U.S. from the filmmaker himself. Chase agreed to review the film but very quickly it was returned to ATAA as too biased.

In spite of this initial rebuff, ATAA has made this film, about the devastating effects of Armenian terrorism, available to various members in the community who were willing to visit their local PBS affiliates and ask to have it shown. ln some cases the PBS local affiliates had refused to show it stating that they have to have guidance from the National Office. However, others have struck an independent course and shown Myth of Terror or refused to show An Armenian Journey.

In the aftermath of the visit by ATAA to PBS, a letter-writing campaign has resulted in a flood of correspondence to not only the National Office of PBS but to PBS affiliates all over the United States. At this point the pressure must be kept on PBS not to show An Armenian Journey again. There are still serious questions about the funding of this film by the Manoogian foundation, which has a vested interest in it. PBS has yet to answer these questions nor have they responded in detail to the errors in An Armenian Journey that were pointed out. The issue is far from settled.

ATA-USA Summer/Fall 1987



 Other Biased, Armenian Butt-Kissing PBS Shows:

The Great War (1996)

The Armenians, a Story of: Survival (2002)

The Forgotten Genocide (1983)





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