In light of the latest attempt to sabotage the War on Terror by the Grey Lady, this address by FDR makes for interesting reading. It was a fireside chat from 9 December 1941. A remarkable speech in many ways. I am struck by the somber realism with which he prepares the nation for more bad news after Pearl Harbor.
But this is the really good part:
Many rumors and reports which we now hear originate, of course, with enemy sources. For instance, today the Japanese are claiming that as a result of their one action against Hawaii they hare gained naval supremacy in the Pacific. This is an old trick of propaganda which has been used innumerable times by the Nazis. The purposes of such fantastic claims are, of course, to spread fear and confusion among us, and to goad us into revealing military information which our enemies are desperately anxious to obtain.
Our Government will not be caught in this obvious trap -- and neither will the people of the United States.
It must be remembered by each and every one of us that our free and rapid communication these days must be greatly restricted in wartime. It is not possible to receive full and speedy and accurate reports front distant areas of combat. This is particularly true where naval operations are concerned. For in these days of the marvels of the radio it is often impossible for the Commanders of various units to report their activities by radio at all, for the very simple reason that this information would become available to the enemy and would disclose their position and their plan of defense or attack.
Of necessity there will be delays in officially confirming or denying reports of operations, but we will not hide facts from the country if we know the facts and if the enemy will not be aided by their disclosure.
To all newspapers and radio stations -- all those who reach the eyes and ears of the American people -- I say this: You have a most grave responsibility to the nation now and for the duration of this war.
If you feel that your Government is not disclosing enough of the truth, you have every right to say so. But in the absence of all the facts, as revealed by official sources, you have no right in the ethics of patriotism to deal out unconfirmed reports in such a way as to make people believe that they are gospel truth.
Every citizen, in every walk of life, shares this same responsibility. The lives of our soldiers and sailors -- the whole future of this nation -- depend upon the manner in which each and every one of us fulfills his obligation to our country.