BUT FIRST, THIS:
General Motors, which has been having trouble selling cars, at least got what it considers to be some good news in the courts -- and about religion, of all things.
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Maybe the best way to end 2005 and start 2006 is with some stark truth-telling.
Which means talking about my own field, journalism, and one of its many failures. At a conference in Philadelphia recently, a Holocaust scholar described how America's journalism schools and newspaper publishers refused to help Jewish refugee journalists fleeing Hitler and his Nazis.
Such failures were, of course, commonplace, but that doesn't make learning about them even 60-plus years later less painful.
This conference, sponsored by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, heard a lecture by professor Laurel Leff of Northeastern University that outlined some of journalism's failures in this matter.
For instance, she said, in 1939, the American Newspaper Publishers Association (since merged into the Newspaper Association of America), at its annual convention, refused a request for a 10-minute presentation on the plight of Jewish refugee journalists. Also: None of America's journalism schools and departments took in Jewish refugee journalists and no major newspaper hired any of them.
Beyond that, she said, this kind of response often was accompanied by anti-Semitic language. She specifically qouoted the then-dean of the University of Illinois School of Journalism (now the Department of Journalism in the College of Communications) as saying that "the minute that Jews show up in numbers they become a threat to the others. . ."
Well, certainly times change. It's hard to imagine any J-school dean saying anything close to that today. But it's sobering to be reminded that we're not very far removed from this sort of indefensible behavior and speech, and, given different conditions, there's no reason to believe humanity isn't still capable of such reprehensible things.
To ready my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. My Saturday column is a lot less serious than today's blog entry.
Today's religious holiday: Watch Night (Christian).