The Charlotte News
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1940
Reporter Mr. Gannett Forgets A Prime Rule Of The Trade
Somehow, we have a hunch that we will not be hiring Mr. Frank Gannett as a reporter when he is through running for the Republican Presidential nomination. We wouldn't be anyhow, of course, seeing that Mr. Gannett, in addition to being a candidate, is the owner of a string of newspapers in New York state. All the same, if he were available as a reporter we should have to think it over seriously before hiring him.
Says Mr. Gannett:
``I have traveled across the country from coast to coast twice in the last six months and have sought to know its sentiments. I make no misleading prophecy when I say that the New Deal will be voted out of power next November whether President Roosevelt heads the Democratic ticket or not."
Which may be so. And may not be. We have no idea. But in any case it seems to us that Mr.Gannett's account of the matter is somewhat less than good reporting. He is quite positive about it, leaves himself no loophole. And yet it is plain to us as newspapermen, ought to be plain to Mr. Gannett as a newspaperman, that in the nature of the case he cannot have got an unbiased view as he And yet it is plain to us as newspaper men, ought to be plain to Mr. Gannett as a newspaperman, that in the-nature of the case he cannot have got an unbiased view as he passed around.
In the nature of the case the boys he has mainly talked to were sympathizers with Mr.Gannett--either Republicans or bitter anti-New Deal Democrats. And all the reports on the other side which he has got must have come through these channels.
It is not a safe way to arrive at dogmatic prophecy. By the same process, Henry L. Mencken, another newspaperman who ought to have known better, arrived at the considered conclusion that even a Chinaman could beat Mr. Roosevelt in 1936. And what happened?
This Would Be Comic If It Did Not Hide Purpose
If it were genuine, the official German indignation over the Altmark case would be the funniest thing heard of in the world in a long time. "Criminal" and "law-breaker" and "pirate" and "murderers" --these are the mildest epithets used. "On Feb. 17, 1940, chivalry died in, the Western world," says one of the Nazi newspapers.
Yet the plain fact is that the Altmark was not a merchant ship at all but a naval auxiliary, subject to the same laws as other naval vessels. Whether or not she was armed has little to do with the matter; there is no doubt at all that she had served as a supply ship for the Graf Spee in its journey about the seas, and had played a direct part in the sinking of the seven merchant ships which fell victim to the raider before the British navy caught up with it. More, she apparently came into a Norwegian port flying the German naval flag.
And to cap the climax, she had kept her winches going while in the harbor so that the Norwegian authorities, probably intimidated by threat, would have an excuse not to discover the presence of British prisoners--and practiced deception to claim a privilege which she had no right to in the first place: that of using Norwegian territorial waters as a shield for her escape to Germany, so that she could continue to play naval auxiliary.
Further still, the prisoners rescued from the ship aver that a time bomb had been placed in the quarters in which they were locked--placed where they could not get at it and timed to go off in 30 minutes after the rescue was effected. Whether that is true or not we don't know. If it is, then the Nazis were planning one of the most dastardly crimes heard of in modern times.
And all this uproar, mind you, comes from a nation that--
(1) Invented and alone practices the business of sinking merchant ships without warning or provision for the crews' escape,
(2) Sank the Athenia on the first night of the war with England, killing and drowning over a hundred men, women and children,
(3) Bombarded Almeria, killing many women and children in revenge for the feat that a bomb had been dropped on one of its warships which was literally and exactly engaged in piracy against the ships of a country with which Germany was at war.
(4) Sent German bombers to Guernica, in that same Spain with which Germany was not at war, to murder 700 helpless men, women and children in cold blood,
(5) Has been systematically sinking British fishing vessels and machine-gunning the crews,
(6) Has murdered countless Jews and robbed, beaten and exiled hundreds of thousands, and
(7) Is presently engaged in the systematic extermination of all the more intelligent Poles, the enslavement of the lower orders.
Yet this brassy uproar is not really funny, of course. For what it undoubtedly means is the Nazis are engaged in cooking up against the Scandinavian countries the same sort of lying excuse they cooked up in the cases of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. The Altmark is simply being made an "exhibit" in preparation for invading and seizing these Scandinavian countries, if and when Hitler decides he needs to and can do it.
Inquiry Into The Sympathies Of Cops is Quite Proper
The New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, with about 15,000 members, has begun a revolt against Mayor LaGuardia's attempt to poll the department to determine whether any of its members are members of the Christian Front or other Fascist organizations or any Communist or Communist-affiliated outfit. The excuse given is that the Mayor's questions constitute a violation of the civil rights of the policemen.
But it is an exceedingly weak one. The police everywhere occupy a crucial position. Upon their loyalty in the face of a possible large-scale attempt to seize power, such as that planned on a small and idiotic scale by the seventeen Christian Frontiers now in the hoosegow, a great deal might depend. But if they were themselves Christian Fronters or --Communists or Kukus or what have you, according to which gang tried force, their loyalty obviously could not be counted on. Hence it is entirely in order to inquire into their connections--and even though revolution is utterly improbable in the country at present.
In point of fact there have been many rumors that the considerable numbers of the New York Police force were active Christian Front sympathizers. Nor does it seem entirely impossible in view of the fact that many of them are Irishmen from the more ignorant classes, and so particularly susceptible to the oily suggestions of the hate-preaching Irish priest, Coughlin.
In any case the Mayor is certainly justified in investigating. If the charge isn't true, the New York polices should be cleared. If not, New York and the nation should know it. And in setting up the totally ungermane claim of civil rights as a ground for refusing to answer the questions, the PBA is only lending fuel to the flames of suspicion.
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