"The only problem with their new position that the Holocaust was the
Big Story that the Times Missed is that it is not true. A decade before
the Holocaust, the Soviet Union was undergoing its own series of state-
sponsored terror and massacres.
by Dr.William L. Anderson
November 17, 2001
In a recent edition celebrating 150 years in business, the New York Times
also engaged in a bit of self-flagellation, calling attention to its meager
coverage of Adolph Hitler's slaughter of the Jews during World War II.
Saying that it "missed" the Holocaust, the Times decided to point out its
alleged malfeasance on page one.
According to former editor Max Frankel, who authored the story, the
newspaper ran six stories that included reports of mass murder by the Nazis,
but buried the pieces on inside pages. Frankel says that given the false
stories of German atrocities during World War I (the "Hun" was supposed to
be "bayoneting babies"), the Times was reluctant to be used in the same way
a generation later, especially if the stories were to turn out to be untrue
(unfortunately, they were true).
Another reason Frankel gave for the reluctance of the Times to play up
allegations of a Jewish massacre during World War II was that the Times
owners and editorial board, which was dominated by Jews, did not wish to
appear to be a "Jewish-oriented" newspaper. In other words, it wanted to
appeal to a wider audience than just the New York Jewish community, as large
and as influential as that community may have been during the 1940s.
However, the higher ups at the Times tossed aside all of those reasons as
they groveled before their readers. The only problem with their new position
that the Holocaust was the Big Story that the Times Missed is that it is not
true. A decade before the Holocaust, the Soviet Union was undergoing its own
series of state-sponsored terror and massacres. It seems that not only did
the Times "miss" that story, the newspaper aided and abetted Joseph Stalin's
murderous regime. It was a con job from start to finish, and even today the
Times leadership refuses to admit the obvious. In fact, the newspaper
continues to celebrate the fact that it deliberately and maliciously misled
During the 1930s, as Josef Stalin was establishing communism in the
U.S.S.R., the Times' man in the Soviet Union was Walter Duranty, who openly
sympathized with Stalin and communism. (Duranty was hardly unusual in that
regard, as numerous intellectuals, clergymen, politicians, and union leaders
also embraced the Russian "alternative." In fact, Duranty's reporting from
the U.S.S.R. as Stalin was consolidating his first Five Year Plan was
considered so informative and important that the reporter was awarded the
1932 Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence. Duranty's picture still hangs in the
lobby of the Times building, as the newspaper proudly displays him among its
many other Pulitzer Prize winners.
The only problem is that Duranty wrote nothing but lies, and it is even more
apparent that the leadership of the Times had been informed on numerous
occasions that Duranty was painting a false picture of Stalin's actions.
While Duranty told the readers of the Times that the Five Year Plan was
successfully transforming production in the U.S.S.R. and giving the citizens
of that nation an ever-improving standard of living, the opposite was
Many readers of LRC are very familiar with the human catastrophe that
accompanied Stalin's first Five Year Plan, the Ukraine Famines of the early
1930s being the worst of the dictator's man-made tragedies. In order to
destroy any Ukrainian resistance to Stalin's rule, the dictator ordered much
of the grain harvests of that area confiscated, the result being death by
starvation of as many as 10 million people.
The sympathetic western press presented the famine in one of two ways. The
first was to deny altogether that famine was even occurring, which is the
direction taken by the New York Times and many British newspapers. The
second was to claim that if famine existed, it was because of bad weather,
which is refuted by the facts.
Through his dispatches, Duranty denied time and again that famine existed at
all in the Ukraine, despite the fact that Duranty himself was the source of
the 10 million estimate. In other words, even though his stories denied that
famine existed at all in the U.S.S.R., Duranty knew all along that he was
It is not as though all western dispatches were painting a rosy picture of
the Soviet Union. Malcolm Muggeridge, for example, reported in his
Manchester Guardian stories that starvation was occurring. Please remember
that Muggeridge at this time was a Soviet sympathizer, but at least he had
enough honesty to admit what Stalin was doing, unlike Duranty and a host of
other American and British writers.
Another journalistic criminal was the radical writer Anna Louise Strong, who
was doing articles for leading periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly,
Harper's, Nation, and Asia. She was also close to Eleanor Roosevelt. Strong
also saw what was going on, and, according to her own writings, wrestled
with her conscience as whether to write of the famine, but decided that the
furtherance of communism was more important.
In other words, it was possible for the editors of the Times to know that
Duranty was lying, but they chose to look the other way, since they, too,
were sympathetic to the "Russian Experiment." Later that decade, Duranty
again would use the Times as a mouthpiece for lies and Stalinist propaganda
with his coverage of the infamous Moscow Show Trials.
As anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the Soviet Union knows, none of
the people Stalin put on trial for treason were guilty of the crimes as
charged. (As part of the Bolshevik Revolution, they were guilty of mass
murder, but Stalin didn't charge them with that crime.) And while many of
Stalin's former comrades received death as their final reward for bringing
communism to Russia, millions of ordinary Russians were sent to
concentration camps where many died horrible deaths, most not even knowing
what crimes they supposedly had committed.
Duranty, of course, was oblivious to the truth. Instead, he told readers of
the Times that all the men executed were guilty as charged, and that people
sent to the gulags were enemies of the revolution.
In 1981, the Washington Post found itself in the dock when it was discovered
that its Pulitzer Prize winner Janet Cooke had won the prize with a
fictitious story. The Post leadership was appalled at this breach of
journalistic ethics and immediately returned the prize, as well as firing
Cooke, who remains banished from journalism to the present time.
The New York Times apparently takes a different approach when it is
discovered that one of its reporters writes falsehoods: it all but canonizes
the reporter. Yes, by all accounts the Times did a wretched job of writing
about the Holocaust, although its reasons are perfectly understandable in
hindsight. Yet, a decade before the Holocaust, the Times committed a far
greater crime by denying the wholesale slaughter of millions by its favorite
dictator. And even today, the leadership of the Times still wants us to
believe that it never happened.
William L. Anderson, Ph.D., teaches economics at Frostburg State University
in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Contact Dr. Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article published by Lewrockwell.com.
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