Elaine back with you again. I did speak to Rebecca today. She's going to try to help out The Third Estate Sunday Review tomorrow night but she said she's enjoying her break. She's needed a long break since last summer so I hope everyone understands that.
Today, Democracy Now! devoted the entire broadcast to our using nukes on Japan.
"Hiroshima Cover-up: Stripping the War Department's Timesman of His Pulitzer" (Democracy Now!)
Amy Goodman and her brother, fellow journalist David Goodman, have co-authored an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun today called Hiroshima Cover-up, challenging the New York Times coverage of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago.
They are filing an official request with the Pulitzer committee to strip New York Times correspondent William Laurence of the Pulitzer he was awarded for his reporting on the atomic bomb. Laurence was not just a reporter for the Times, he was also on the payroll of the US government. He wrote military press releases and statements for President Harry S. Truman and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, all the while faithfully parroting the line of the US government in the pages of the New York Times. His reporting was crucial in launching a half century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb. It is high time, the Goodmans say, for the Pulitzer board to strip Hiroshima's apologist, William Laurence, and his newspaper, the New York Times of their undeserved prize.
[. . .]
DAVID GOODMAN: Sure. William Laurence was -- had immigrated to the United States from Lithuania in the 1930s, at a time when actually The New York Times was laying off reporters, due to the Great Depression. They asked Laurence to become both the newspaper's and the nation's first dedicated science reporter. Laurence was -- became fascinated with atomic power and atomic weapons and was an ardent supporter of atomic power in the articles that he wrote throughout the 1930s, and into the early 1940s. This is probably what caught the attention of the War Department.
In the spring of 1945, a remarkable meeting took place secretly at the headquarters of The New York Times in Times Square in New York City. General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, which was the name of the program that was developing atomic bombs for the U.S. military, came to Times Square to The New York Times and met secretly with Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, the Editor-in-Chief of The New York Times, and William Laurence. At that meeting, he asked Laurence if he would become a paid publicist, essentially, for the Manhattan Project. So, while simultaneously working as a newspaper reporter for The New York Times, he would also be writing essentially propaganda for the War Department. Officially he was asked to put in layman's terms the benefits of atomic weapons and the development of atomic power. Other New York Times reporters were unaware of this arrangement, this dual arrangement where he was being paid by both the government and the newspaper and, in fact, were somewhat mystified when Laurence began taking long leaves of absence.
Well, the government's investment in Laurence paid off in spades because he was rewarded for his loyalty. He was also writing -- ended up writing statements for Secretary of War Stimson and for President Truman himself. He was rewarded by being given a seat in the squadron of planes that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. I'll read to you a little excerpt of Laurence's dispatch. In general, his writing -- well, these days journalists would call it purple prose, but it was often imbued with these messianic themes about the potential and power of atomic weapons.
Here's what he had to say in describing the bombing of Nagasaki. This bombing is thought to have taken about 70,000 to 100,000 lives. Laurence recounted, quote, "Being close to it and watching it as it was being fashioned," he's speaking here of the atomic bomb, "into a living thing so exquisitely shaped that any sculptor would be proud to have created it, one felt oneself in the presence of the supernatural."
Now, Laurence went on to write a series of ten articles about the development of the atomic bomb. This is -- this and his reporting about the Nagasaki bombing won him the 1946 Pulitzer Prize in reporting. He seems to have been completely unashamed and unrepentant of what was clearly an egregious conflict of interest by any of the most basic canons of journalism ethics. Laurence later wrote in his memoirs about his experience as a paid publicist for the War Department. He wrote, quote, "Mine has been the honor, unique in the history of journalism, of preparing the War Department's official press release for worldwide distribution. No greater honor could have come to any newspaperman, or anyone else for that matter."
That's not uncommon today. Like C.I., I despise the "award winning" reporting by Dexter Filkins (New York Times) on Falluja. A tragedy took place in November of 2004 but to read Filkins "award winning" reporting, was to gain a very simplified, very superficial report that made no effort to report on actual events and results, so determined was Filkins to stamp the whole thing with a smiley face.
I have never felt C.I. should "drop" the issue of Filkins and was surprised to read in a roundtable at The Third Estate Sunday Review that some thought the topic should be dropped. It turns out those were largely visitors.
But if anyone doesn't get why it's important, Billie wrote a lengthy e-mail after hearing Democracy Now! today. In her area, Filkin's "award winning" reporting, even after smarter minds should know better, still appears to carry weight.
Which is why Steve Blow (I'm not making that name up nor is Billie, I checked) can rave over Falluja last month and reveal himself to be a "bigger dope" (Billie's term) "than when he accused peace activists at a local gathering of being treasonous." Billie notes that Blow later did another column where he wondered if maybe treason wasn't a bit harsh.
The paper of record has a lot to answer for. I've not weighed in Judith Miller here and don't intend to because I think it's a complex issue that goes beyond my area and scope (of course if Miller had testified, we might know what happened). But as reports from the unit attest, Miller bullied those guys over in Iraq. She wasn't hiding out in the Green Zone. She was basically overriding the squad she was stationed with and bound and determined to find WMD. Of course she didn't. It didn't exist. But when you read remarks on her actions (a mild term) when she was commandeering the unit, it suggests to me that she honestly believed the "facts" that the administration was feeding her.
Dexter Filkins was in Falluja. He actually left the Green Zone to be there. With his own eyes, he saw what was going on. But it didn't make his article. His much delayed article, as C.I. has noted, which would suggest that either his obsession with nailing down every "fact" was so great that it took him days and days to write up his report or it suggests that before it made it into the paper, it had been cleared and approved by the military.
Billie has a hilarious e-mail. The reality is sad but she's got a great sense of humor. She explains how Blow and the other "local columnists" (who are supposed to cover the DFW area) never missed an opportunity to beat up on Michael Moore, the Dixie Chicks and assorted others. Billie says it's hard to believe the whole thing wasn't handed down by management (the paper is the Dallas Morning News) so "on message" was everyone. Including trashing Sheryl Crow in what was supposed to be a discussion of the Grammys. But it even infected the sports pages of the paper. Tim Cowlinshaw (again, I'm not making these names up) wrote a "sports" column in March of 2003 that Billie steered me to. I ended up reading several columns. It was interested to see Cowlinshaw condemn, among others, Steve Nash for speaking out against the war and using Thomas Friedman (of all people, no offense to Betty) who isn't, according to Cowlinshaw, "exactly" a tool of the right. (Cowlinshaw may be correct, but Friedman is certainly a tool.)
As for Nash and the other athletes who were voicing their opposition to the war, Cowlinshaw didn't feel they had that right since there wasn't a draft.
It's amazing how on target, from the "local" columnists (covering Michael Moore) to the sports page how "on message" the Dallas Morning News was. I really want to thank Billie for bringing the coverage to my attention because, a point C.I.'s made, one person didn't push this war in the press. There are a lot of guilty parties.
As for Jaqueline Floyd, I agree with you Billie, to have a hair style one must have some sense of style. I'm not sure if she suffers from dandruff, but I agree with you that it's a hideous photo.
Perhaps her attack on Moore and the Oscars was her way of saying she's not a "glamor gal." (Her hair conveys that message.) Obviously she's not a "freedom of speech gal" either.
And in the Democracy Now! story today, one thing to remember is that the reporter lying for the Times didn't just do that by himself. His Pulitzer should be stripped. But people chose to follow his reporting and echo it. He's far from the only guilty party.
With one paper in her area, Billie is able to pinpoint all the war cheerleaders who attacked people who spoke out against the war. I'm pretty sure many of you would find that in your own papers.
That's been the point C.I.'s made repeatedly about Judith Miller. She didn't anchor the news on a network (which has a larger audience than the New York Times). Hold her accountable, but don't do so in a way that lets others off the hook.
Floyd, Blow, Cowlinshaw and others should be held accountable by the readers of the Dallas Morning News. You can be sure that when lies about Hiroshima were being printed in the Times, all over the country fools elected to run with them. I hope the people Billie wrote about were fools. It seems like there's a pattern and that suggests that the topics and stances didn't "just happen." But I'll leave the second guessing to others. (Except with regard to Floyd's hair "style." It's hair. It's not style. And don't they get any sun in Texas?)
All across the country, events will be going on to raise awareness of what happened when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed and to stand for peace. If you're interested in participating an event, I'll provide the following.
"August 6-9: No Nukes! No Wars! Defend Democracy! National Days of Remembrance and Action 1945-2005 July 12th, 2005" (United For Peace and Justice)
August 6 and 9, 2005 mark the 60th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. Join with tens of thousands of people at four central US nuclear weapons sites to call for an end to the development and production of nuclear bombs.
Join UFPJ member groups and the global majority to say NO! to militarism, war and oppression, and YES! to democracy nonviolence, justice and a more secure world for all. On May 1, 40,000 people marched to the United Nations to demand global disarmament. While the Bush Administration stymied global attempts to move toward nuclear disarmament, our voices reinforced the critical need for nuclear abolition to remain a part of the agenda.
In Iraq, they never found nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, yet the daily reality of death and destruction continues, sparked by the Bush administration's invasion and fueled by the ongoing U.S. military occupation. A majority of people in this nation now oppose the war, but the White House and most members of Congress are resisting the only solution to the crisis: bring the troops home immediately.
This year, the 60th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also coincide with the 40th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on August 3, 2005. Ensuring our basic voting and civil rights is at the heart of keeping our democracy alive and healthy. A vibrant democracy with open public debate is essential to keep US power in check. Given that US power is directly expressed and projected through its possession and threat to use nuclear weapons, the links between democracy, power and nuclear weapons becomes clear. Click here to read a statement drafted by US nuclear abolitions in February 1999 that addresses these crucial links.
Join UFPJ member groups as we send our message loud and clear to decision-makers and the public at large: End the war in Iraq; End the threat of nuclear annihilation; Ensure a democratic future for all!
We found the missing weapons of mass destruction. On August 6, we will take our voices to the active nuclear weapons sites across the country. We demand an end to US nuclear weapons development, production and testing. We demand an end to wars of empire and an end to nuclear excuses for war.
NO NUKES! NO WARS! DEFEND DEMOCRACY!*UFPJ Nuclear Disarmament Campaign*
I hope everyone has a great weekend.
"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
Hannah Arendt, 20th-century German political philosopher and author