The Fog of War: Censorship of Canadas Media in World War II
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Both practices were seen by members of the sect as a form of heresy, placing allegiance to the state above allegiance to God. Although the children promised to stand respectfully at attention during the singing of the anthem, they were not permitted to return to classes.
Book Review: The Fog of War, by Mark Bourrie
Over the course of the next few years, the issue of religious freedom versus patriotic conformity was fought out at the judicial and political level in a number of provinces, and although the Witnesses were finally successful, it was a series of conditional wins, based upon fairly narrow legal technicalities. By the fall of , over 1, people had been interned under the DOCR. In retrospect, this was the stuff of Orwellian nightmares. Lambertson, Ross. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Patrias, Carmela.
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Benning James C. The Office of Censorship and the Weather Bureau saw weather as especially sensitive. Military authorities asked the Office of Censorship to severely limit information about the weather because they feared too much information would help the enemy attack. Weather-related news comprised about half of all code violations. While newspapers could print temperature tables and regular bureau forecasts, the code asked radio stations to only use specially-approved bureau forecasts to prevent enemy submarines from learning of current conditions.
From January 15, to October 12, broadcasters said nothing about rain, snow, fog, wind, air pressure, temperature, or sunshine unless it was approved by the Weather Bureau. After Memphis, Tennessee stations could not discuss tornadoes that killed hundreds in March , the code was changed to permit emergency bulletins but only if approved by the office.
The office saw current weather conditions as so sensitive that it considered banning broadcasting any outdoor sports event, but decided that sport's benefit to morale was too important. When fog so covered a Chicago football game in August that the radio play-by-play announcer could not see the field, the Weather Bureau thanked him for never using the word "fog" or mentioning the weather.
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She received "a very stern letter" from the Office of Censorship reprimanding her. The code specifically restricted information on "movements of the President of the United States". As Price reported only to the President, Roosevelt effectively became censor of all news about himself.
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When he toured war factories around the country for two weeks in September , for example, only three wire service reporters accompanied him on the private railroad car Ferdinand Magellan. They filed articles for later publication, and despite being seen by tens of thousands of Americans, almost no mention appeared in the press of the president's trip until after it ended. Similar procedures were used on later domestic and international trips, such as to Casablanca in and Yalta in While the majority of reporters supported voluntarily censoring themselves over such travel, Roosevelt also used the code to hide frequent weekend trips to Springwood Estate and, some believed, the meetings with former lover Lucy Rutherford that began again in During the presidential election , he may have used his ability to avoid press reports to hide evidence of worsening health.
Such arbitrary use of the code was controversial among Washington reporters, and Price privately wrote that Roosevelt "greatly abused" the press' cooperation. Price stated throughout the war that he wanted censorship to end as soon as possible. The code of conduct was relaxed in October to permit weather information except barometric pressure and wind direction, and weather programs returned to radio.
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Most restrictions ended after V-E Day in May , with the code only four pages in length after its final revision. Price called the Manhattan Project , the United States' development of the atomic bomb , the best-kept secret of the war. The government made a general announcement on radar in April , and government and military officials frequently leaked information on the subject, but restrictions did not end until the day after Japan's surrender in August From mid until the bombing of Hiroshima in August , the Office of Censorship helped keep the Manhattan Project secret by asking the press and broadcasters to voluntarily censor information they learned about atomic energy or the project.
Perhaps the worst press violation occurred in August , when due to procedural errors a nationwide Mutual Network broadcast mentioned the military creating a weapon in Pasco, Washington involving atom splitting. The Office of Censorship asked all recordings of the broadcast to be destroyed. As with radar, officials sometimes disclosed information to the press without authorization. Price noted in comments to reporters after the end of censorship that some 20, news outlets had been delivered similar requests. For the most part censors were able to keep sensitive information about the Manhattan Project from being published or broadcast.
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While Canadian newspapers generally complied with requests to ignore the tale, a freelancer sold the story to Time magazine, enraging both Canadian censors and local media outlets who were angry they were scooped on the sensational news. Bourrie, an instructor at Carleton University in Ottawa, puts his major focus on the complex relationship between official censors and media outlets. Though it would be tempting to view the censors as the overbearing bad guys in every case, Bourrie is usually sympathetic, concluding that they were thoughtful and well-intentioned in their effort to help Canada win the war.
The people chosen to enforce censorship during the war were themselves journalists, though most went on to find other work after Wilfred Eggleston, for instance, went from being the chief English-language censor to the founder and first director of Carleton's school of journalism.
When the war ended, most Canadian publishers and editors had kind things to say about the role the censors played. That wasn't a universal view, though. In Toronto, the Globe and Mail was a consistent critic of the censors, arguing that they often used their powers to protect ministers and the government from embarrassment. Many Quebec newspapers, prone to supporting the Nazi Vichy regime and other fascist causes, posed the greatest problems to the official censors.
Individual battles and arguments between editors and censors are well-documented in the book, as are the issues they debated.
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While Bourrie credits the fighting spirit of some journalists to get their work published, he doesn't show much regard for their analytical abilities. In fact, Bourrie says most Canadian journalists reacted to censorship by playing dead. Investigative reporting all but stopped.