Wednesday, September 29, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 29, 1943

THREE EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that amid destruction and chaos, as the Nazis prepared to evacuate Naples, Italian refugees poured from the city telling stories of other refugees being machine-gunned as they fled, women and children among them. The Nazis had turned Naples into an enforced labor camp; anyone who refused to participate was killed on the spot. Vengeance was the by-word against the former ally who bitterly resented now the Italian armistice with the Allies.

The Fifth Army had penetrated Pompei at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, about thirteen miles from the heart of Naples, clearing the mountains above the city of all German resistance and completely occupying the Sorrento Peninsula between the Bay of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno.

Some leaks had occurred from the top, the 10 percent who were other than the ninety percent "damn good eggs", said FDR to reporters, anxious to confirm reports that General Marshall was about to be appointed Supreme Commander of all Anglo-American forces worldwide. But the President did not deny the rumor.

Because of the shortage of copper, steel pennies coated with zinc were in circulation. But Senator Buck of Delaware was fed up with them, introduced legislation to mandate that pennies be made of a material to make them distinguishable from dimes.

Damn bad dimes.

No sealing wax on the 10 percent which were the really bad eggs.

On the editorial page, Burke Davis enters a by-lined piece on the problems of African-Americans, asserting that the major issue at the time was that no one really understood what the problems were. He recommends that formal sociological studies be advanced to ferret out those problems so that they might be addressed by government and the people. The greatest impedance to implementation of offered remedies in the past had been, says Mr. Davis, the white manís attempt to assert remedies while laboring under the mistaken assumption that he understood the problem, one which had not been identified except by false assumption.

Mr. Davis also offers that the last thing Charlotte African-Americans needed at the time was social equality.

Impliedly, given the statistics from a limited study which had been conducted, the major remedies needed were in decent housing and better paying jobs.

The presumption no doubt was, while unstated, that with better housing and jobs, social equality would come in time on its own.

But how to get the housing and the jobs? That was the haunting question which would take society the next several decades to begin to address and answer, with varying results along the way.

"The Accuser" finds Congressman John Rankin's attack on Wendell Willkie as a profit-mongering businessman to be unwarranted. Mr. Rankin of Mississippi, as we have previously pointed out, was a racist and anti-Semite of the old stripe. What he said, therefore, little mattered probably, except to racists and anti-Semites.

"All Plowshares" asserts that the notion advanced by some, that abolition of all weapons to all nations was the desired end in the post-war world, enforced by a policing organization of a third of the nations, was a hopeless pipedream, one tried and failed after World War I.

It opts instead for a world in which the victorious allies would remain armed to the teeth with a policing organization formed of them to keep the rogue nations of the past disarmed and potential rogue nations of the future without the beginnings of armament.

Drew Pearson, in another piece on the State Department, examines the no-foreign marriage policy of the Department, finds it anachronistic. It had led to the forced resignation of John Hubner for his desire to wed a Brazilian woman. His alternative, not marry or resign. He chose resignation. Mr. Hubner had saved the Queen Mary from sinking by ferreting out and interdicting a Nazi radio transmitter in Brazil before it began operating. The radio was to be used to relay information on the sailing time and course of the Queen Mary to offshore U-boats lying in wait to sink it with 10,000 troops aboard.

Now, because of a senseless policy, a good diplomatic talent had been lost.

Raymond Clapper examines the first United Nations organization to be set into operation, scheduled to begin in November, that of relief administration and food distribution. It had been accomplished not by the cumbersome treaty route, requiring two-thirds assent of the Senate, but rather by executive action through the State Department with funding to be approved by a majority of both houses of Congress.

"What Freedom?" believes that Dorothy Thompson's piece of the day before, suggesting that the new CBS policy banning the assertion of opinions by reporters giving the news was chilling of freedom of the press and an abrogation of responsibility to listeners, was stirring no more than a tempest in a teapot. The editorial distinguishes in print journalism between the reporter and the editorialist, the latter free to provide personal opinion, the former confined to delivering the news without interjecting subjectivity. Similarly, radio broadcasts offered the same defined dichotomy in programming and should continue to do so.

You know, like the Fair and Balanced news network of today.

Doesn't a reporter, however, by choice of the slant on the assigned story, by omitting facts, by stressing other facts, by using adjectives and other nuances of expression, by providing certain quotes while not always establishing their full context, as often as not make a personal statement on a given story anyway? Doesn't the producer of the program who selects the subject matter to air make in the first instance an editorial decision which constitutes an opinion by determining what to cover out of a given dayís myriad of events and potential stories?

There is, we assert, no such thing as objective journalism, except in the purely theoretical realm and ethereal confines of journalism school. So didn't Ms. Thompson have a point? Wouldn't it be more honest for the reporter to assert opinions as part of the news broadcast? Then the shading of facts by other means would be less able to hide behind the ephemeral disguise of claimed "objectivity", a state of mind never achieved by anyone anyway, except perhaps in persons whose opinions and judgments are worthless because their minds are such vacuous enterprises, readers of mindless, boring sentences, as to be unenlightening, unspirited, unenchanting, unconvincing to anyone save other vacuous-minded persons.

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