Folks, earlier tonite, talk radio show host Mark Levin had on as his guest Professor Laurel Leff, the author of the soon-to-be-published Buried by the Times – The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper. In her interview with Mark, Ms. Leff described how, while working in the NY Times archives for approximately one and a half years, how The New York Times failed in its coverage of the fate of European Jews from 1939–1945. She described how the decisions that were made at The Times ultimately resulted in the minimizing and misunderstanding of modern history’s worst genocide. She recounted how personal relationships at the newspaper, the assimilationist tendencies of The Times’ Jewish owner, and the ethos of mid-century America all led the Times to consistently downplay news of the Holocaust. Laurel Leff recalls how news of Hitler’s ‘final solution’ was hidden from readers and – because of the newspaper’s influence on other media – from America at large.
Here is a link to the original NY Times article announcing the declaration of the State of Israel, which took place on May 14, 1948, and was reported in The NY Times – the following day.
Here is a link to an excerpt from Buried by the Times – The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper:
On page four, amid 13 other stories, appeared a five-paragraph item with a London dateline. The first two paragraphs described the House of Commons’ decision to appropriate 50,000 pounds to help fund the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees. Then came these paragraphs:
During the discussion, S. S. Silverman, Labor member, read a report from the Jewish National Committee operating somewhere in Poland, saying:
‘Last month we still reckoned the number of Jews in the whole territory of Poland as from 250,000 to 300,000. In a few weeks no more than 50,000 of us will remain. In our last moment before death, the remnants of Polish Jewry appeal for help to the whole world. May this, perhaps our last voice from the abyss, reach the ears of the whole world.’
Without skipping a beat, the story continued: “The Commons also approved an installment of 3,863 pounds to help the International Red Cross open an office in Shanghai …”.
The journalists at the New York Times did not respond to that anguished cry – not the London correspondent who filed it, or the cable editor who read it, or the copy reader who edited it, or the night news editor who determined its placement, or the managing editor who signed off on it, or the publisher who had ultimate responsibility for the newspaper in which it appeared. One-quarter of a million people were about to die, 3 million were already dead. Yet, no one at the New York Times said, “This is not routine. This is a catastrophe. Perhaps we can not stop it, but we can lay bare the horror. We can move this story from page four to page one. We can give it a headline that befits the tragedy. We can write a forceful editorial today and tomorrow and the next day. We can recall the calamity in Sunday’s week in review. We can help our readers understand the pain, the panic, the powerlessness of a people about to be exterminated.”
But no one at the Times did, not on that day or any of the 2,076 days of the European war. As a result, the “last voice from the abyss” never reached “the ears of the whole world.” It was smothered by the hundreds of other words in the page four story, the thousands of words in the March 2 edition, and the millions of words published in all the Times editions throughout the war.