Richard Tropp Letter to San Francisco Chronicle
P. O. Box 893
November 1, 1978
San Francisco Chronicle
5th and Mission Streets
San Francisco, CA
It is indeed puzzling and disturbing that the Chronicle has not yet printed a word of a significant series of disclosures by civil rights attorney Mark Lane, concerning the Peoples Temple community here in Guyana. Mr. Lane’s investigation has not only vindicated the Temple of the charge that it was running an “armed camp.” He has disclosed that an individual hired to lead a minor armed invasion against Jonestown, complete with rocket launchers and other weapons, himself saw when he got here that he had been deceived, and called the whole thing off. The man has since visited Rev. Jones here at the community, and has, like everyone else, found the year-long campaign against Peoples Temple to be a malicious fraud.
The Chronicle has been involved, through reporter Marshall Kilduff and others, in following the story (some might say promoting it!). It is, therefore, revealing that at the very time that the story is coming to a head, and key information released, the Chronicle chooses to remain silent. Having aired the other side of the story, which has been proven false, it indicates that you are acting as anything but an objective news reporting agency and, in the Peoples Temple matter, you have an editorial policy of taking sides. Particularly so in view of the fact that the above disclosures, aired [at] a press conference attended by your reporters, clearly bear out what Peoples Temple has been saying all along, despite the innuendo-filled publicity that has worked only to credit those who have conspired to destroy us.
A final note: attorney Lane and his Citizens Commission of Inquiry organization are currently preparing a multimillion dollar suit that will name a host of government agencies and individuals, and will expose fully what certain Bay Area newspapers have been unable and, it appears, deliberately unwilling to bring to light.
RICHARD D. TROPP
cc. Bay Guardian Mark Lane
Charles Garry Berkeley Barb
San Francisco Council of Churches