Fake news has a long and shameful history. Our 21st century nooze media didn’t invent it.
The 1930s were the heyday of unreliable, dishonest, distorted, suppressed, and invented news. Walter Duranty of The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for his brazen fictions about life in Josef Stalin’s workers’ paradise. But for real, thorough-going journalistic quackery, the British newspapers took the cake.
As Britain’s ruling class, throughout the 1930s, sought to appease and butter up Adolf Hitler at all costs, and to shirk their duty to defend their country, and to delude themselves into thinking Hitler was a nice man who only wanted what was reasonable and good, the higher-ups at the British papers did everything they could–including telling outright lies–to foster this illusion and deceive the British public.
Mind you, it wasn’t the reporters. The foreign correspondents in Berlin, Vienna, Rome, and elsewhere faithfully sent their editors accurate reports of developments in Europe. These the editors rewrote to mask the truth, or else simply discarded. As the Nazi regime grew in evil, so grew the editors and publishers in mendacity.
One particular incident really stands out.
In 1938 the arch-appeaser, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, bragged about securing “peace in our time” by sacrificing “a faraway country,” Czechoslovakia, to Hitler. This came on the heels of a long series of concessions to the Nazis, all of which made Hitler stronger and the western democracies weaker. It came rather close to treason.
Unable to stomach the dishonor of the government’s cowardly betrayal of an ally, Alfred Duff Cooper resigned as First Lord of the Admiralty. His resignation speech was a ringing denunciation of Chamberlain’s actions, and a full house at Parliament was strongly moved by it.
So the London Times reporter on the scene reported. Accurately, as a good reporter should.
But The Times’ editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Dawson, hand in glove with Chamberlain in all attempts to surrender to Hitler, didn’t like that report at all. So he threw it away, wrote a false account of Cooper’s speech going over like a lead balloon… and signed the reporter’s name to it! Appalled by his editor’s chicanery, the reporter resigned. And faced with a storm of criticism over the grossly inaccurate account that had appeared in his paper, Dawson could only pretend he didn’t know how that had gotten published.
In their decade-long campaign of lying and distortion, the British news media had a share in the responsibility for the millions of lives snuffed out in World War II. There were countless opportunities to stop Hitler before it was too late to prevent war. Thanks in part to the noozies, those opportunities were allowed to pass away, one after the other.
This is the example being followed today by our own Big Media.
God help us. Amen.