AP cooperated with Nazi regime, study finds

The Associated Press formally cooperated with the Hitler regime, including providing material produced by the Nazis’ propaganda ministry, a German historian alleges in a new study.

Historian Harriet Scharnberg, in an article published in German in the academic journal Studies in Contemporary History, alleges that AP was able to remain in Germany because of its cooperation with the Nazi regime. AP was the only international news agency allowed to continue to operate in Germany until the United States entered World War II in 1941.

The wire service in response denied collaborating with the Nazis.

“AP rejects the suggestion that it collaborated with the Nazi regime at any time,” its statement said. “Rather, the AP was subjected to pressure from the Nazi regime from the period of Hitler’s coming to power in 1932 until the AP’s expulsion from Germany in 1941. AP staff resisted the pressure while doing its best to gather accurate, vital and objective news for the world in a dark and dangerous time.”

The article was first reported in The Guardian.

AP agreed to abide by the Schriftleitergesetz, or Editor’s Law, under which it would not publish any material “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home,” Scharnberg wrote.

AP in its response said that the entity Scharnberg is referring to was a German subsidiary of AP Britain established prior to the Nazi rise to power and as such subject to the law when it was introduced in 1935.

The news agency also hired reporters and photographers who worked for the propaganda ministry, and allowed the Nazis to use its photo archives to create anti-Semitic propaganda, Schanberg said.

A historian at Halle’s Martin Luther University, Schanberg argued that AP’s cooperation with the Hitler regime allowed the Nazis to “portray a war of extermination as a conventional war,” according to The Guardian.

In its reply, issued after AP reviewed documents in its archives and elsewhere, the wire service said images “that came from Nazi government, government-controlled or government-censored sources were labeled as such in their captions or photo credits sent to U.S. members and other customers of the AP, who used their own editorial judgment about whether to publish the images.”

The AP in its response noted that Louis Lochner, its Berlin bureau chief at the time, won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about the Nazis, and said he protected Jewish employees of the wire service.

Lochner “resisted anti-Semitic pressure to fire AP’s Jewish employees and when that failed he arranged for them to become employed by AP outside of Germany, likely saving their lives,” the AP said. “Lochner himself was interned in Germany for five months after the United States entered the war and was later released in a prisoner exchange. He then spent the next year publicly speaking out against fascism in lectures and in his book, ‘What about Germany.’”

Is Obama George W. — or even Nixon? The secrecy factor

The Obama administration has in recent weeks suffered a 1-2-3 scandal outbreak:

– The Benghazi tragedy-as-fiasco gained legs when internal emails emerged suggesting a massaged timeline of who knew what, when;

– The IRS owned up to focusing on conservative groups in delaying approval for tax exempt status in the last election;

– The AP furiously revealed that for two months last year the Justice Department had tracked its phone calls, apparently in a bid to track down government leakers in a story about the thwarting of a Yemen-based terrorist plot.

So the emerging narrative is, is President Obama another George W. Bush or (gasp!) Richard Nixon? And will this finally lose him the liberals?

The Reform movement’s Religious Action Center is already on the record with fairly no-holds-barred outrage regarding the IRS story:

Reports that the IRS focused attention on applications for tax exempt status from groups with apparently politically conservative names and ideologies are deeply concerning. The IRS must establish neutral guidelines for its work that do not favor or disadvantage any political ideology. Abiding by these guidelines will ensure the IRS upholds the non-partisan status that is key to maintaining public trust in its work.

No individual or organization should incur extra attention from the IRS solely on the basis of political ideology and no entity should feel implicit or explicit pressure to alter its mission or actions based on fear of politically-motivated action from the IRS – or any other government agency.

We look forward to a full explanation from the IRS as to how this situation developed and how it will be prevented from occurring in the future.

Jon Stewart had fun last night with the 1-2-3 meme:

And naturally, we’re already deep into Nixon comparisons.

The Nixon years are an inverse of the old 1960s encomium: Anyone who misremembers them so badly can’t have lived through them. Nixon made rivals into enemies, tried to make enemies into criminals, and made the Constitution confetti along the way. Obama, so far, is a long way from there.

But the Bush comparisons seem to have legs, and not least because it has been Obama’s defenders who over the last couple of days have raised them. The Bush era IRS in 2004 went after the NAACP, they have noted, and the Bush administration sought New York Times and Washington Post phone records under the same terms that the Obama DOJ did the AP.

Which raises the question: How does this square with a president who campaigned on a vow not to be Bush, particularly as it related to government secrecy?

One caveat: The Bush administration sought to criminalize the gathering of information, not merely its leaking. It tried to set a precedent that ultimately would have criminalized the journalists in these cases, not just the leakers.

JTA covered the story, naturally enough — the “leakees” in this case were two former AIPAC staffers. And notably, one of Attorney General Eric Holder’s first acts was to shut the case down.

Murdoch apologizes for ‘Jewish-owned media’ tweet

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch apologized for a tweet in which he slammed the “Jewish owned press” for its “anti Israel” coverage of the Gaza conflict.

Murdoch reportedly received angry responses to his tweet, posted on Saturday, which asked: “Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?”

In a second tweet, Murdoch, who has positioned himself as a supporter of Israel, added, “Middle East ready to boil over any day. Israel position precarious. Meanwhile watch CNN and AP bias to point of embarrassment.”

On Sunday, Murdoch tweeted his apology: “'Jewish owned press' have been sternly criticized, suggesting link to Jewish reporters. Don't see this, but apologize unreservedly.”

Murdoch is the founder and chief executive of News Corporation, which owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and many other media properties.