Page 20 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • December 23, 2009 gave this guy a clean bill of health. The one document that made him look guilty was edited so heavily as to constitute forgery. The actual text said that nothing was known about the suspect, but that some people from a different unit with whom he took a train ride in 1944 may have been involved in war crimes in 1941 – at which time the suspect was still in the Red Army, not driving a horsedrawn field kitchen for the Wehrmacht, which was the sum total of his service to Hitler and Company. The fact that nothing was known about his own service was edited out, and his name was appended to that of genuine war criminals. This was sort of like listing me, the 1967 U.S. Army trainee at Fort Dix, for throwing bound prisoners out of helicopters in Vietnam that same year. Unfortunately, the verifiable evidence left me stuck with a war criminal who was not a war criminal. “I drove a mobile field kitchen in Hitler’s army” was about all the confession I came up with. The document trail clearly indicated a willful forgery by another reporter, and I knew that if I wrote this mess I’d be hounded for the remainder of my career, while if I didn’t, I’d be hounded by my own vestigial conscience and the knowledge that I had passed up a great story. I wrote it. Half the people I knew put me down as a hero of journalism and the other half put me down on the suspect list. Two guys from New Jersey Monthly, both of whom are Jewish, asked me to write a unique version for a story almost as controversial as “New Jersey’s Umpteen Best Schools.” I tried to warn them. “What are people gonna do to us?” they asked. I wrote it. They ran it. They both got fired. The guy who wasn’t a war criminal beat the publisher for a half-million bucks in a libel action. He was blown up by a radio-detonated bomb before he could spend the cash. His lawyer, who was Jewish, bet me as to which of us was next. I spent the next couple of weeks looking for limpet wires under my car. The point of this endless saga is to point out that America will be better off if America continues to get at least some of its reportage from print media, because print media is, but its very nature, more responsible for its actions than electronic media. My first year on the job, I almost got terminated because of a traceable error. I had rewritten a story about a man who was found in an abandoned warehouse with his throat slit and a canary in his mouth. He had been in partnership, some years before, with a husband and wife who made a couple of shady real estate deals. People had questioned them and released them. When the story hit print, it said “police are seeking the couple,” instead of “The couple has been questioned and released.” After hearing from its lawyer, the newspaper started to investigate. I was still living at home then, and my mother was so proud of me that she had saved the carbon copy of the story as I submitted it along with all my other stories. The publisher’s hit squad ransacked the printing shop of the newspaper and found the version that was handed to the typesetter. The phrase “Police are seeking the couple” was visible. The handwriting was not mine. The editor who wrote the phrase promptly became unemployable. I got a raise. Compare if you will the capacity of the electronic media to deliver truth, justice, and the American way. Stories are often promoted with a “Come on in and we’ll show you a good time” attitude, but the facts often don’t justify the promotions. Some people who don’t have to report to editors set up their own websites and promote “alternative journalism,” which is sometimes factual and sometimes fantastic. Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson got away with this sort of thing, but they had some talent. You can call up “The Protocol of the Learned Elders of Zion” and read all 73 pages in English translation – and never encounter a disclaimer that the whole thing was exposed as a Tsarist forgery in a neutral and unbiased Swiss court in the 1930s and that no serious historian takes this seriously, though many Neo-Nazi groups believe every word, or profess to. You can look up the Tanaka Memorial – “Japan’s master plan to take over the world” -- and acquire the entire text, and never read that this was a Soviet forgery from 1931. You can find Chinese accounts of the Rape of Nanking that cite 400,000 dead, and Japanese accounts that quibble at 4,000, but unless you know who Tillman Durdin, John Rabe, and Edgar Snow were, you’ll never know that both figures are unreliable. You can read frantic screeds by atheists charging that Hitler was a lifelong Catholic blessed by the Pope and that Darwin was never a racist. These atheists will not tell you that Hannah Arendt and Jacques Barzun – neither of them a Creationist -- wrote about the obvious and blatant link between Darwin and Hitler while Hitler was still alive. Neither will the atheists cite Hitler’s many negative comments on Christianity, Golda Meir’s praise for Pope Pius XII for saving hundreds of thousands of Jews, or the fact that natural selection turns up in the orders for the Holocaust. You won’t understand Darwin’s crass racism from Richard Dawkins. Read the book, Darwin’s “The Descent of Man,” in which Darwin cites Africans and Australians as a missing link between man and gorilla and sees the Africans, the Australians, and the anthropoid apes all becoming extinct, which is cool with Darwin, leaving the struggle for existence bifurcated between the white guys and the baboons. In short: Don’t trust the anonymous experts of the Web, or the anonymous bloggers who attack generous, constructive citizens to further their own agendas. Trust stand-up guys like me who can’t hide behind a phony name and have to answer for what they write. Send all bribes in cash. I’m not dumb enough to sign a check. Richard Nixon had the ultimate comment on newsmen. He said that journalism was a profession where smart people earned salaries more appropriate to dumb people. Well, gentle reader, as long as both my kids are still talking to me, I probably won’t starve to death. I got into this business because most of my high school teachers were so stupid that the only learning I was able to accomplish was what I could teach myself. Stories in simple English are more accessible than equations and logarithms, and once I discovered that the world was being lied to, I was able to channel my incredible malice into a career that turned out surprisingly well, considering that the more usual venues for my peers were the enlisted ranks of the armed services or prison. Most of my best stories exposed the lies printed in other newspapers. Forty years ago, nobody believed that there was heroin on this side of the Hudson. I got my first newspaper job revealing that they were wrong. The paper gave me the job on the strength of the interview I was trying to sell, but took a year to get up the guts to publish it. We had a case a little later when a motorcycle gang was accused of the rapes of a woman and a teenager. An investigation showed that neither of the alleged victims was credible. The woman in question had a long history of filing charges of rape, sometimes accusing aliens from outer space. The gist of the story was that the bikers had chipped in to buy a house in a working-class neighborhood. Their loud parties annoyed the neighbors, and the police and other authorities accepted charges that were unfounded and irresponsible with a hidden stratagem. Conviction was unlikely, but the legal costs were so substantial that the bikers lost the house. The award nominee that didn’t get an award was another miscarriage of other people’s reporting. I was asked to speak to a public official who had been accused as a Nazi war criminal. I decided to try to get the guy to confess and take the credit when he went to the gallows in Israel or the Soviet Union once the United States deported him. I went in clean-cut and cleanshaven talking German a mile a minute so he would mistake me for a sympathizer. I had already done undercover work for Mossad and had one marriage and many friendships among people who are not Aryans, so I was a very implausible Nazi to anybody who knew my file or my family. The first five minutes of the interview looked promising. The alleged culprit looked like Christopher Lee playing Dracula. This guilty-looking suspect produced a file of documents that showed he was not guilty. The Soviets and the Israelis had already reviewed his case. He was a listed deserter from the Soviet Red Army – he was wounded and the Soviets sent him home to recover or die without benefit of iodine -- but he was not otherwise a violator, and Israel summed up his connection to the Holocaust with one word: negative. I checked with my contact in Mossad. The response was, “He’s a nothing. If he had done that stuff we’d have had him by now.”) He had also been cleared by the West German Ministry of the Interior, which handled war crime investigations and helped my friend Joseph Horn, author of “Mark it with a Stone,” send a couple of murderers who killed friends of his when he was a Holocaust slave laborer at Auschwitz to long prison terms. Even the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Why we still need newspapers Letters to the Editor Dear Editor: As we prepare to assume our duties as new Wyckoff Township Committee representatives on Jan. 1, 2010, we first want to take this opportunity to thank the residents for entrusting us with this responsibility. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in this capacity, and we are humbled by the show of support we received from township residents at the polls on Nov. 3. We are also indebted to our respective families for their unwavering support during the campaign. As we stated during the campaign, the standard we will use on every matter that comes before us will be what is in the best interests of our community as a whole. In this economically volatile time, we will hold the line on taxes and spending, and keeping our property values high will be of paramount importance to us. We will work with our freeholders and state representatives to resist additional unfunded state mandates on our community. Protecting the character and integrity of our community is, and will always be, a top priority for us. You can expect our land use decisions to be responsible, balanced, and reflective of our township’s heritage and smart growth concepts. As we pledged during the campaign, we will aim to protect and preserve the township’s remaining open spaces in an economically prudent and environmentally responsible manner. We believe in transparent and responsive government, and you can expect independent decision-making from us. We will remain closely connected to the community over the next three years so we can effectively hear you and represent you. We will have an open door policy for all town- Mindful of public trust ship residents, so please continue to share your ideas with us. We wish all the residents of Wyckoff a happy, healthy and safe holiday season. Christopher P. DePhillips Kevin J. Rooney Wyckoff Dear Editor: For some of our Midland Park neighbors, this is a season of anxiety and stress, when they wonder how they will fulfill even the smallest Christmas wish for their children. Again this year, the Children’s Love Fund has displayed The Giving Tree in the children’s room at the library and at Starbucks. Please stop by and take a wish from the tree and make a local child’s Christmas special. You can purchase and wrap a special gift, place the tag from the tree on it, and bring it back to the library. A Love Fund volunteer will bring your gift to the child’s family before Christmas morning. Your generosity will make a difference in a life of a Midland Park child. If you can not make it to the library or Starbucks, but still feel the spirit of giving, the Love Fund is happy to accept donations of any amount at anytime of the year. Send donations to: The Midland Park Children’s Love Fund, P.O. Box 327, Midland Park, NJ 07432. Thank you for your continued generosity. Noreen Desbiens The Midland Park Children’s Love Fund (continued on page 23) Love Fund requests Christmas gifts