While William Randolph Hearst’s national string of newspapers is building news of more or less importance into scareheads, Mr. Hearst himself elects to ignore a situation of true scarehead proportions, with which he has had personal contact.
This purring giant of American sensationalism, with a party of ten including Marion Davies, returned to the United States yesterday. He was aboard the Nazi liner Bremen. That in itself is news to the millions of readers, Jewish and non-Jewish, who have decided, for what seemed to them good and sufficient reasons, to withhold all patronage from the Hitler regime, but whose money has found its way indirectly into the Nazi coffers, via Mr. Hearst.
“I will answer only written questions,” the publisher told ship news reporters, and he was adamant.
The best newspaper minds aboard the Bremen then went into a huddle and framed about a dozen pointed, concise questions, almost any one of which would have given the publisher ample opportunity to clarify his stand on the subject of the Third Reich and its brutal maltreatment of the Jews.
A PASTORAL LETTER
The man-mountain of journalism thereupon retired to his private quarters, labored mightily, and gave birth to a figurative mouse, in the form of a pastoral tone-poem on the theme, “All’s for the best in this best of all possible worlds.”
Not a word about the Jews in Germany. Not a line about his chat with Der Fuehrer. Not a sentence on his blatant hob-nobbing with the master minds of Nazism. Not even the briefest of paragraphs on the tea he gave at Bad Nauheim for Ernst F. S. “Putzy” Hanfstaengl, gentleman nurse to Hitler and self-constituted spokesman for the American publisher while the latter was in Germany. Not the barest whisper regarding his attendance at the recent Nazi congress in Nuremberg.
THE SPHINX SPEAKS
Mr. Hearst’s masterpiece of indirection follows verbatim and in toto:
“I have traveled through Spain, England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. Of these nations Spain, Holland, Germany and Austria are supposed to be in a state of disturbance.
“I traveled in an automobile and moved backwards and forwards through these countries like the shuttle of a loom. I saw no disturbance anywhere. Everything was much more peaceful and orderly than in our own country.
“There were no riotous strikes, no racketeering, no kidnaping, no gang murders, no organized lawlessness and violence. I met one American family who were afraid to go back to America on account of threats to kidnap their children.
“I talked with an English lady who said she had recently accompanied her husband as far as Bermuda but had not dared to go to New York. She said that her husband had gone on, but ‘he was a very brave man.’
“I don’t think that our people, inured to disturbance at home, need worry about disturbances abroad. They are mild in comparison. I am sort of sorry not to be able to retail any hairbreadth escape from danger, any harassing experiences, outrages or affronts.
“The nearest thing to an adventure that we had was in Italy. The Italian army was massed on the Austrian frontier. We traveled always with little American flags on our automobiles.
“We were going through frontier Italian towns on our way to Austria. Soldiers were everywhere. They blocked the streets. They encumbered the roads. We were dragging along slowly behind a barricade of great army tanks.
CALLING THE MARINES
“Suddenly we were stopped altogether. Some officers approached. They said we must take down, our little flag. We said ‘no,’ it was a neutral flag, a friendly flag, a flag which had nothing to do with their squabbles, a flag which separated us from their quarrels and conflicts.
“We said we would not take it down. They said then They would take it down. We said they would not do that either.”