Thursday, November 8, 2007

How It Used To Be

[Aug 29, 1943]

World News Today, brought to you by Continental Radio and Television Corporation, makers of Admiral Radio, 'America's Smart Set'. By shortwave broadcast, direct from important overseas stations, as well as leading news centers of our own country, CBS correspondents are waiting to bring you a complete report from the world's political and battle fronts. But first, here's Doug Edwards:

The Germans have put Denmark under martial law today, but resistance continues and Danish naval forces have scuttled most of their fleet. This revolt, and the death of King Boris of Bulgaria, menace two wide-spread flanks of Germany's European fortress.

Reports from Madrid say the Germans have forbidden Berliners to leave their homes during the night, in an effort to stop the mass exodus to safety outside the city.

Russia reports continued success in all sectors of the Soviet offensive line.

Now for our first news direct from overseas, Admiral Radio takes you to CBS Algiers. John Daly reporting:

The Northwest African Air Force yesterday continued the blitz on Axis communications in southern Italy. Flying Fortresses blasted Terni, 45 miles north of Rome; medium bombers hit the railroad concentrations at Odessa and Cancello, near Naples; and a strong mixture of strong, medium and fighter bombers dropped the heaviest load of bombs since the end of the Tunisian Campaign, in attacks ranging over a toe and instep of Italy, with particular emphasis on Catanzaro and Lamezia.

Enemy fighter resistance was strong in central Italy. Of a total of some 80 Axis planes that tried to intercept of Terni, Odessa and Cancello, 20 were shot down. In the operations of the toe and instep enemy fighters offered resistance only over Lamezia. Spitfires shot down 4 of them. The Axis lost another 6 fighters in Sardinia, when a force of 10 [Junged?] Allied P40 fighter-bombers attacked industrial targets. For the heavy toll of Axis fighters taken in these operations, we lost 8 planes.

As I write this report in the Press Room here at Allied Force Headquarters, the maps on which we followed the campaign of Sicily are being taken off the wall. In Sicily, so recently a battle ground, the people are learning what democracy means under the indulgent instruction of the Allied Military Government.

Sicilians are a bit surprised at an Allied sponsored newspaper, Free Sicily, which criticises friend and foe alike. They're not used to freedom of the press.

I stood in a provisional courtroom while the battle for Sicily still raged, and heard a British judge roundly cheered because he released a poor peasant picked up by the local police for gathering in some worthless Axis junk left after a battle. They're not used to justice, either.

A real hero of the Allied Military Government in Sicily as far as the Sicilians go is Pvt. Giuseppe Adami of the United States Army. He has played the violin for Toscanini, toured Europe in concerts, appeared in Boston and Chicago and at the Metropolitan in New York.

He is now assigned to civilian relief, and is in charge of the bread lines in Sicily[?]. He is firm and fair with the hungry Sicilians. He has a little trouble with women who simulate pregnancy to get to the head of the bread line by putting pillows under their dresses, but he settles all problems with dispatch. Thousands of Sicilians who can't read newspapers and thus learn what we stand for and what we're fighting for, find all the answers in Pvt. Adami. They have given him the honorary title of professore, and when he appears, cheers thunder out for the Professor, for America, and for Perina[?].

Now back to CBS in New York:

More news in just a moment, but first here's Warren Sweeney with a word from Admiral Radio:

You've all seen pictures of the famous rubber boat that American ingenuity has provided to save the lives of our boys forced down at sea. One of the most precious pieces of equipment that goes into these boats is a little box with a crank handle on the top -- the portable radio that can mean the difference between life and death. An antenna, held aloft by a box kite, current generated by a twist of the crank handle, and an SOS brings one of the renowned Navy Flying Boats to the rescue. A crew of American boys has been saved, to carry death and destruction to our enemies on other vital missions.

Here is another example of the many dramatic roles radio is playing in the present war. It is typical of the many types of equipment now being turned out at top in the great Admiral plants exclusively for our Armed Services. Admiral engineers and research technicians are concentrating on the one problem, of making the delicate, precise, yet sturdy and dependable instruments needed to win this war.

And the post-war Admiral to grace your home will also bear the stamp of the skills that are now going into these grim weapons of war -- the post-war Admiral that will once more be 'America's Smart Set.'

Now, here once again for Admiral Radio, is Doug Edwards.

[Five minutes into a 25 minute broadcast.]


The news:
"our own country"
"we lost 8 planes"
"what democracy means"
"indulgent instruction of the Allied Military Government"
"They're not used to freedom of the press."
"roundly cheered"
"They're not used to justice, either."
"A real hero"
"firm and fair"
"he settles all problems with dispatch"
"what we stand for and what we're fighting for"
"when he appears, cheers thunder out"

The commercial:
"American ingenuity"
"to save the lives of our boys"
"A crew of American boys"
"death and destruction to our enemies"
"needed to win this war"


Hardly objective reportage, from CBS News. "We"? "Our"? Hardly impartial. "What democracy means" -- an issue for discussion by political scientists, not by reporters in the field. "Indulgent instruction"? -- "of the Military"? Many would scoff at the idea. How is a private a hero because he is doing a competent job? "What we're fighting for"? Um ... isn't it always oil?

Hardly what we've come to expect, from a commercial. "Our boys" -- not used in an infantilizing way. Used as an endearment, with affection. "Our enemies" -- in a commercial, no less. Mightn't such stark language be cause for offense to those at home or abroad with some other allegiance? Bad for business? "Death and destruction"? Please. In our prime time dramas, yes. In our commercials? Please.

Man, were our grandparents a bunch of bigots and fools. How ever did we survive?


No comments: