Saturday, September 09, 2006

Did you know Pearl Harbor happened because Roosevelt was distracted by his affair with Lucy Mercer?

Let’s try a little thought experiment. Imagine that it’s December of 1946, and that they had the kind of network television we have today. They already had Disney -- you might as well assume that Disney owned ABC back then, too. And throw in Robert Iger for good measure. Imagine the network decided to spend a king’s ransom to create a 5th anniversary docudrama called “The Path to Pearl Harbor,” both to pay tribute to the fallen martyrs and to explain how the tragedy could have come to pass. Some advance copies get out and the highlights can be summarized as follows:
We see the awakening of Asian fascism, see the beast leave its lair and start to stalk its prey. When Japan invades China in 1937, Roosevelt is asleep in the arms of his mistress, Lucy Mercer. When the world protests the Rape of Nanking, Roosevelt is asleep in the arms of his mistress. When Japan cuts a deal in 1940 with Vichy France, occupies French Indochina and joins the Axis powers, Roosevelt is asleep in the arms of his mistress. He continues to doze off in her arms while those more conscientious than he start an oil boycott of Japan. While Japan builds its military muscle, and the U.S. breaks their codes, Roosevelt is asleep. The codebreakers intercept the crucial cable traffic as the Japanese aircraft carrers steam toward a moment that will live in infamy, but Roosevelt blows it off -- asleep in the arms of his mistress. Nearly 2,500 Americans die as a result.
What would have happened to ABC if it had tried a stunt like this back then? Actually, there were plenty of Republicans who despised Roosevelt, and for some of them this scenario would have seemed to be an understatement. Despite all that, pinning the blame for Pearl Harbor on Roosevelt's marital indicretions never really caught on.

Bonus Question: Why not? What was so different from today's media climate? Leave your answer in the comments. I'll start.

5 comments:

Madison Guy said...

In 1946, Karl Rove hadn't been born yet.

Anonymous said...

The MSM was not owned by a small group of multi-national companies with control over broad segments of different communication media. It simply would not have been possible to "catapult" this propaganda because some other media outlet would have seen it as an opportunity to debunk the lies and gain some credibility.

Not that market forces will solve the very problems that these same forces have created - I am just pointing out that what we are seeing is a direct result of media concentration.

TNH said...

Yup. That's the difference: our overall news reporting is worthless.

Phil said...

I can't believe it's just one reason, but media concentration must be a major part. I would also guess that the country rallied around him, flaws and all, in a time of war, making a tactis like that impractical. Silmilarily to today republican continuing to support Bush despite evidence they should not. And Democrats, and open debate, only now begining to gain ground. I suppose the debate still isn't very open.

Anonymous said...

i think this is rubbish..You wouldnt have been able to get away with it and it is biast.