Thursday, February 23, 2012


“You must remember that only a trick of fate has brought you so far from your homeland, but there must be no question of your loyalty. When Japan calls, you must know that it is Japanese blood that flows in your veins.”

In this series I've tried to find stories and commonly held beliefs about the past and events which are at least partly if not completely false. I like to find out this kind of thing, perhaps because it verifies by cynicism, and perhaps just because I want to be correct. Certainly given the state of journalism in the US (if not worldwide) its no surprise many basic presumptions about events are utterly false.

There are so many of these I could write for months, but too many of them are so small and short I'd be padding just to make a full blog article out of them. So here are a lot of these short takes to look over. How many of these had you heard wrong in the past?

  • William Randolph Hearst didn't start the Spanish-American war, despite Citizen Kane. There zero evidence, and Hearst always denied it.
  • Kennedy didn't win the race based on his performance at the televised debate with Nixon, he only got a 2% bump in the polls, which is within the margin of error.
  • Johnson probably never said "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America;" he wasn't even watching the news when Walter Cronkite treacherously declared the Vietnam war (despite all evidence to the contrary) to have been lost. Johnson continued to be upbeat about the war and condemned people who called for withdrawal.
  • For that matter, the Tet Offensive was a disastrous, ghastly defeat for the Viet Cong, which in effect ceased to exist after it because the US military totally obliterated them, reversing their temporary gains in a matter of days.
  • The press didn't bring Nixon down. Even Bob Woodward calls that horse(bleep). It was the special prosecutor and the supreme court, not the press, but the "heroic journalist" narrative is too sweet for the media to pass up.
  • Following the Watergate scandal, there was supposedly a doubling of journalism students, making reporters hot for the first time in history... except that never happened. There was a very slight gain, but the doubling had already taken place.
  • JFK wore a hat to his inauguration, in fact he was the last president to wear the traditional stove pipe hat.
  • Michael Moore's entire movie Roger And Me was based on his not being able to get into talk to the president of GM... but he did, but just didn't bother showing that in the film, since it would ruin his entire thesis.
  • One in Four women in college have not been the victim of attempted rape
  • 30% of women's visits to emergency rooms do not come from domestic abuse
  • The "rule of thumb" does not refer to the size of a rod that could be used to beat women legally.
  • There is no rise in domestic violence on Superbowl Sunday.
  • Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were guilty.
  • Alger Hiss was guilty.
In fact, you could do a whole article on people the left defend as innocent who were actually, really guilty. I probably will, with greater detail. There are a lot more of these.

Just remember, having heard something all your life and had it repeated to you by people you trust doesn't necessarily make them true.

*This is part of the Common Knowledge series.


Anonymous said...

ed in texas
Note how many of these have the commen theme of the media being incorrect, but not bothering to point this out.
You might add to this, Dan Rather was never a Marine. He washed out. Twice.

Anonymous said...

You left out "Mumia is guilty"

Anonymous said...

That's a top hat on Kennedy's head, not a stovepipe.