Fake News From St. Olaf to AP’s Nazi Photos
For a group so obsessed with calling out “fake news” the media sure does a good job of perpetuating it. The phony flap over the fake racist note at St. Olaf should have raised suspicions from the start. First clue? The revelation the offensive note was burned before anyone, including police investigators, could view it.
Unlike its profile earlier this week of a local Black Lives Matter leader, the Star Tribune declined to censor readers’ reactions to the delicate development and permit comments on the fake news from St. Olaf.
Dozens of readers claim they saw through it from day one. Maybe, maybe not, but for sure readers were far more skeptical of the narrative than the professionals who were duped into serving as mouthpieces for campus activists’ grievances.
The hundreds of commenters get right to the point–the media is part of the problem here.
Under the mantra, “If it bleeds, it leads!”, the media is all over the initial story because ithrpeard it’s battle cry, sexism, racism homophobic, etc., and must rise to the “headline” occasion, facts aside!
I guess a number of the posters here owe a lot of people an apology that questioned this story from the beginning, and were basically called racist. I won’t hold my breath though, Liberals cry wolf all the time and when their fabricated stories are exposed, they go on to the next hoax.
These hoaxes are a pernicious epidemic sweeping the country right now and they need to stop. The media regurgitating the meme that they “started something good” from these is irresponsible and only incites more of these hoaxes.
The second fake news expose to hit media this week serves to remind that the fake phenomenon has been around a long time. More details have surfaced on the Associated Press’ secret deal to distribute hundreds, possibly thousands, of Nazi photos without attribution to American newspapers in World War II with the knowledge of some American officials.
Stunningly, AP executives still stand by the wire service’s arrangement with Hitler.
In an interview this week, AP officials strongly defended the arrangement, saying it was conducted in neutral countries, and that there was tremendous news value in offering its newspaper customers photos of Hitler and German military activities — even if the photos were taken by Nazis, who were expert propagandists.
John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president for standards and editor at large, said that the organization’s journalists “were doing their best to get out information that the world needed.” He defended the photos — they are still available for purchase on an AP website — by noting that blatantly staged propaganda was excluded and that AP’s captions made the Nazi origins clear.
But the Washington Post, one of the papers that unwittingly published the AP’s Nazi photos, says some clearly served the propaganda purposes of the Third Reich.
The June 30, 1942, edition of The Washington Post carried a photo of Hitler shaking hands with ex-German officials, including one wearing a Nazi navy uniform. The photo credit is “Associated Press WIREPHOTO.” The photo was also published by Nazi magazine Berlin Rom Tokio, crediting Helmut Laux, the Waffen SS officer who made the deal with AP.
To this day, the AP still sells some of the photographs they helped the Nazis distribute in the U.S.
Asked why the captions distributed with the photos didn’t include references to Nazi or SS photographers, Daniszewski said, “It is easy to second-guess eight decades later, but we do not believe and did not find in our research any intention to deceive anyone about the German origins of these photos depicting scenes from the German side of the battle lines and inside Germany itself.”
But Nicholas O’Shaughnessy, a communications professor at Queen Mary, University of London and the author of a book on Nazi propaganda, said it was plainly apparent that the Germans had succeeded in finding a “direct route into the Allied consciousness through their propaganda.”
“It was extremely cynical of the AP to use these photos,” he added. “One tries to justify these things by saying the camera doesn’t lie. But Nazi cameras always lied. They were a colossal kind of fairy tale. None of these images are real. This is how Hitler wanted to be seen.”
At least today’s news consumers have more choices and ways to verify what the media tells them. Every incident like the fake news out of St. Olaf only further undercuts the media’s credibility and fuels readers’ suspicions.