Gray Lady Down, The Early Years

It’s not fair to condemn the New York Times of the first three quarters of the 20th century based on serial lies and errors of the current regime led by Pinch Sulzberger. But still, in retrospect, talk about getting one of the most important stories of the 20th century completely wrong right at the start:


This feature looks at the first time famous names or terms appeared in The Times. Have an idea for someone or something you would like to read about? Send a suggestion in the comments section.

It was all there in the headline and first sentence — the anti-Semitism, the swastika wavers (or Hakenkreuzlers), the demagogue with a seemingly mystical sway over crowds. Everything was there except his first name: Adolf.

On Nov. 21, 1922, The New York Times gave its readers their first glimpse of Hitler, in a profile that got a lot of things right — its description of his ability to work a crowd into a fever pitch, ready then and there to stage a coup, presaged his unsuccessful beer hall putsch less than a year later. But the article also got one crucial point very wrong — despite what “several reliable, well-informed sources” told The Times in the third paragraph from the bottom, his anti-Semitism was every bit as genuine and violent as it sounded:


Gee, ya think?


Click to enlarge.

But — to tie the early days of Times under the Sulzberger family into the current misshapen leftwing propaganda mill the paper has now become, why should FDR have invaded such a murderous socialistic regime when, as Pinch himself would say, “It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there”?

(And to learn how the Times fell so quickly from its mid-20th century glory, don’t miss veteran journalist William McGowan’s 2010 book, Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America.)


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