A common part of our discourse: It’s hard for people to understand how much of our discourse is simply made up—invented by pseudo-journalists.
Our press corps routinely repeats bogus facts to punish outcasts or reward friends. In such situations, they also know which facts they must, as a group, withhold.
In the process, utterly bogus “demon tales” get invented about the guild's targets. Utterly phony “hero tales” may also be widely pimped.
Last Thursday, the New York Times debunked a well-known “hero tale” dating from the Holocaust.
On the front page of Thursday's paper, Patricia Cohen debunked a remarkable but bogus hero tale. As it turns out, an Italian long praised for saving Jews was in fact an executioner:
COHEN (6/20/13): Italian Praised for Saving Jews Is Now Seen as Nazi CollaboratorWe recommend the whole report. We also suggest that you consider how this sort of thing happens.
He has been called the Italian Schindler, credited with helping to save 5,000 Jews during the Holocaust. Giovanni Palatucci, a wartime police official, has been honored in Israel, in New York and in Italy, where squares and promenades have been named in his honor, and in the Vatican, where Pope John Paul II declared him a martyr, a step toward potential sainthood.
But at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the tale of his heroic exploits is being removed from an exhibition after officials there learned of new evidence suggesting that, far from being a hero, he was an enthusiastic Nazi collaborator involved in the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz.
A letter sent this month to the museum’s director by the Centro Primo Levi at the Center for Jewish History in New York stated that a research panel of more than a dozen scholars who reviewed nearly 700 documents concluded that for six years, Palatucci was “a willing executor of the racial legislation and—after taking the oath to Mussolini’s Social Republic, collaborated with the Nazis.”
The letter said that Italian and German records provided no evidence that he had helped Jews during the war and that the first mention only surfaced years later, in 1952. Researchers also found documents that showed Palatucci had helped the Germans identify Jews to round up.
How did this bogus “hero tale” manage to gain so much purchase? Basically, Cohen cites three reasons:
First, the phony story “seemed to bolster the reputation of Pope Pius XII, whom Jewish groups have described as being indifferent to genocide.” Powerful interests thus had a motive to push this bullshit along.
Also, the phony story helped advance “the belated claims of some Italians that they went out of their way to save Jews as part of an attempt to recast Italy’s Fascist past.” When the wider world purchased this phony tale, Italy itself looked better.
Finally, the phony story helped the family in question gain a postwar pension. According to Cohen, that is how this “hero tale” got started.
In short, various groups had an interest in pushing the phony “hero tale.” Result: Palatucci, who helped assemble Jews for death, has been hailed as a hero for lo, these fifty years.
In the past twenty years, of course, America’s Potemkin “press corps” has crafted quite a few demon and hero tales of its own. This week, it’s using phony facts to help create a demon tale about Paula Deen, a cultural outcast.
In 1999 and 2000, some of the very same people invented a string of “demon tales” about Candidate Gore. Purpose: Punishing Clinton!
In the end, Mission Accomplished!
That said, we've also suffered our fair share of phony “hero tales.” During the Clinton-Gore era, the fakers and frauds still known as a “press corps” created silly hero tales about a string of secular saints named Bradley, McCain and Powell. Beyond that, hero tales have been invented about pleasing corporate favorites like Michelle Rhee and Wendy Kopp.
As the New York Times invents and withholds basic facts about Deen, a familiar pattern is playing out. This sort of thing rarely ends well.
This sort of practiced group deception rarely ends real well. As your heroes know but won’t say, it’s how George Bush reached the White House!