Different war, same old New York Times

By

In the book The First Heroes, Craig Nelson crafts a wonderful book about the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo shortly after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The book is a very spirited account regarding the bravery and the sacrifices made by the flyers who risked life and limb so soon after Pearl Harbor to make a statement that America was not a beaten nation and that it would rally towards victory.

I highly recommend the book. It illuminated the lives of the flyers just as the wonderful book Flags of our Fathers did for the men who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. There were many surprises for me reading the book but one area did not surprise me: the New York Times' reporting on the Doolittle Raid.

The government wanted details of the mission to be kept secret. For example the number of bombers, the extent of the damage, and the number and destination of the bombing crews once the mission was executed were never meant to be published, according to the preferences of those fighting the war.

Many of the bombers had to land, crash—land, or parachute into areas of China occupied by Japanese troops. These flyers were at risk of being captured had the government disclosed details of the raid (in fact, some were captured and suffered miserably as POWs). The government was therefore very circumspect about the mission.

However, the New York Times Times was not. Instead, the Times took the enemy propaganda and reported it as news. Quote from page 160 of the paperback version of the book:

The New York Times front—page lead story, April 18, 1942:

{Citing Japanese sources} Enemy bombers appeared over Tokyo for the first time in the current war, inflicting damage on schools and hospitals. Invading planes failed to cause any damage on military establishments, although casualties in the schools and hospitals were as yet unknown, This inhuman attack on these cultural establishments and on residential districts is causing widespread indignation among the populace....Nine of the attacking planes were shot down and the rest repulsed by heavy anti—aircraft fire.

All a tissue of lies. The Japanese government wanted to depict Americans as bloodthirsty, cruel, war criminals. And incompetent, as well. In fact, damage was done to important military installations and only a few civilians were accidentally hurt in the raid (there was no zoning in Japan, and peoples' houses were literally next to factories and military depots). Regardless, the Times relied on enemy propaganda for its news.
 
Sound familiar?
 
I just noticed that Amazon is running an amazing special on the book : 67% off the cover price of the paperback. For $4.99 this is a must buy.

"Tokyo Rose" passed away yesterday. Her real name was Iva Toguri. She was an American woman who was nicknamed "Tokyo Rose" for making treasonous radio broadcasts from Japan during World War Two. She was scorned for spreading enemy propaganda designed to demoralize Americans and hurt our efforts against Japan. On the day of her passing, one wonders how many in the media are doing similar work—right here in America.

Ed Lasky  9 28 06

Update:

It is stated of the raid participants that "some were captured and suffered miserably as POWs". I recalled reading that some POWs suffered more than just "miserably", as did many Chinese who were slaughtered in retaliation for giving aid to the airmen. A quick search turned up this, from which I quote the following paragraph.

"The other fifteen planes, with their seventy—five men, flew on toward China, where darkness forced four to crash—land or ditch offshore. With fuel running out after some fifteen hours of flying, eleven crews took to their parachutes. Three men were killed at this time. Local residents saved most of the others and heroically spirited them through Japanese—held territory to safety. The vengeful enemy retaliated with a vicious ground offensive, killing tens of thousands of Chinese over the following months. The Japanese also were able to capture eight men from two planes' crews. Three of these prisoners of war, Second Lieutenants Dean E. Hallmark and William G. Farrow and Sergeant Harold A. Spatz, were executed at Shanghai in October 1942.

Another, Lieutenant Robert J. Meder, died in prison more than a year later."

Dave Runyan

In the book The First Heroes, Craig Nelson crafts a wonderful book about the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo shortly after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The book is a very spirited account regarding the bravery and the sacrifices made by the flyers who risked life and limb so soon after Pearl Harbor to make a statement that America was not a beaten nation and that it would rally towards victory.

I highly recommend the book. It illuminated the lives of the flyers just as the wonderful book Flags of our Fathers did for the men who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. There were many surprises for me reading the book but one area did not surprise me: the New York Times' reporting on the Doolittle Raid.

The government wanted details of the mission to be kept secret. For example the number of bombers, the extent of the damage, and the number and destination of the bombing crews once the mission was executed were never meant to be published, according to the preferences of those fighting the war.

Many of the bombers had to land, crash—land, or parachute into areas of China occupied by Japanese troops. These flyers were at risk of being captured had the government disclosed details of the raid (in fact, some were captured and suffered miserably as POWs). The government was therefore very circumspect about the mission.

However, the New York Times Times was not. Instead, the Times took the enemy propaganda and reported it as news. Quote from page 160 of the paperback version of the book:

The New York Times front—page lead story, April 18, 1942:

{Citing Japanese sources} Enemy bombers appeared over Tokyo for the first time in the current war, inflicting damage on schools and hospitals. Invading planes failed to cause any damage on military establishments, although casualties in the schools and hospitals were as yet unknown, This inhuman attack on these cultural establishments and on residential districts is causing widespread indignation among the populace....Nine of the attacking planes were shot down and the rest repulsed by heavy anti—aircraft fire.

All a tissue of lies. The Japanese government wanted to depict Americans as bloodthirsty, cruel, war criminals. And incompetent, as well. In fact, damage was done to important military installations and only a few civilians were accidentally hurt in the raid (there was no zoning in Japan, and peoples' houses were literally next to factories and military depots). Regardless, the Times relied on enemy propaganda for its news.
 
Sound familiar?
 
I just noticed that Amazon is running an amazing special on the book : 67% off the cover price of the paperback. For $4.99 this is a must buy.

"Tokyo Rose" passed away yesterday. Her real name was Iva Toguri. She was an American woman who was nicknamed "Tokyo Rose" for making treasonous radio broadcasts from Japan during World War Two. She was scorned for spreading enemy propaganda designed to demoralize Americans and hurt our efforts against Japan. On the day of her passing, one wonders how many in the media are doing similar work—right here in America.

Ed Lasky  9 28 06

Update:

It is stated of the raid participants that "some were captured and suffered miserably as POWs". I recalled reading that some POWs suffered more than just "miserably", as did many Chinese who were slaughtered in retaliation for giving aid to the airmen. A quick search turned up this, from which I quote the following paragraph.

"The other fifteen planes, with their seventy—five men, flew on toward China, where darkness forced four to crash—land or ditch offshore. With fuel running out after some fifteen hours of flying, eleven crews took to their parachutes. Three men were killed at this time. Local residents saved most of the others and heroically spirited them through Japanese—held territory to safety. The vengeful enemy retaliated with a vicious ground offensive, killing tens of thousands of Chinese over the following months. The Japanese also were able to capture eight men from two planes' crews. Three of these prisoners of war, Second Lieutenants Dean E. Hallmark and William G. Farrow and Sergeant Harold A. Spatz, were executed at Shanghai in October 1942.

Another, Lieutenant Robert J. Meder, died in prison more than a year later."

Dave Runyan