That newspapermen and their editors are not the hard-hearted wretches they are frequently portrayed is reflected from the manner in which they handled certain phases of the McCormack committee’s Nazi quiz here last week.
As far as we could learn, not one paper carried the picture of Congressman Dickstein giving the Hitler salute.
It came about this way: It was the end of a long, weary, hot morning session. Nothing of great importance had been disclosed to appease the sensation-loving appetites of the scribes.
One of the photographers suggested respectfully that Dickstein, who would like to shoot it out at ten paces with Hitler, pose in the manner of Der Fuehrer himself. It was further suggested that the picture might carry the story to the front pages of the metropolitan dailies, and publicity, it is no secret, is necessary if the committee’s findings are to be brought before the people.
“I can’t look grim like Hitler, but I’ll pose,” Dickstein said.
And he did. He sat there with an ear-to-ear grin, hand up in the air, looking, as much as he could, like Hitler himself. The flashlights went off, and the incident became history.
Chairman McCormack didn’t like the idea. When Dickstein raised his hand to pose again for a couple of tardy picture men, McCormack took the right arm of the New Yorker and clamped it down to his side. Dickstein’s will prevailed again, however. And boom went more flashlights.
It so happened that the afternoon session was somewhat brighter than that of the morning; and it was found that the story, by its own merits, rated front page space. Respecting the opinion of McCormack, the pictures were not published.
Some would criticize Dickstein for his action. We most certainly would not. The pose was adopted, we feel certain, to put the committee in the limelight and not without some sacrifice on the part of Dickstein, who happens to come from a Congressional District in which abide many Jews who might not fully understand the caprice.
Dickstein’s good humor touched a responsive chord in the press. Without the cooperation of the press in reproducing the findings of the committee, Nazi sympathizers would never realize the evil of their ways.
McCormack and Dickstein make an excellent combination, incidentally. McCormack is a gallant, shrewd, likable gentleman from Down East. Dickstein is shrewd, but he prefers to fight with bare knuckles instead of eight-ounce gloves as used by McCormack.
It has frequently been the case that when Dickstein finishes with a customer, the latter is so weary, so beaten down, he is on the verge of tears. McCormack then begins in a sympathetic manner that makes the tears come unrestrained, and by the time the two have finished, the witness has bared his all.
The witnesses usually like McCormack and dislike Dickstein because of the methods used by each. What they won’t tell McCormack sympathetically and under persuasion of clever, catchy quizzing, they yield under Dickstein’s merciless hammering.
They’d make a swell pair at a third degree.