Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Walter Lippmann, "The Voice of America Should be Abolished" (Los Angeles Times. April 29, 1953)

This entry is a work in progress; updated/reviewed 5/22/2016; suggestions welcome -- please email john.h30@gmail.com

Walter Lippmann, "The Voice of America Should be Abolished" (Los Angeles Times, April 29, 1953)

Updated 11/24/2014: George Creel, who headed the Committee on Public Information during the Wilson administration, too was critical of the VOA in his later years[see below].

Lippmann image from

Walter Lippmann, "The Voice of America Should be Abolished," Los Angeles Times (April 29, 1953):

The Rockefeller Committee has advised the President to take the Voice of America and the rest of the propaganda apparatus out of the State Department and to create a new agency, which might be called the United States Information Service, to direct the government's overseas information activities.

This will work better, I would argue, only if, along with the transfer to the new agency, there is a radical change in the theory of what the government can and should do in the field of information and propaganda.

My own view is that for any government agency to call itself the Voice of America is an impertinence, and that in a democratic government like ours a propaganda department must in the very nature of things cause confusion at home and abroad. In a society where opinions are free a government propaganda, which is a monopoly, is an inherent contradiction and practically unworkable.

The best thing to do, it seems to me, is to abolish the Voice of America as such, to dissolve the whole organization concerned with the interpretation and comment, with reviews of books and of the arts, with the discussion of manners and morals -- and then to have broadcast through the government's facilities a selection of the regular American domestic news broadcasts. The people overseas should have available to them substantially the same news that we have available to us. Since, as a practical matter, there must be selection, the selection should, I believe, be entrusted to men chosen in our own broadcasting companies and the press services.

While this sounds like a very drastic reform, it is no more than the undoing of what no doubt a well-intentioned but nonetheless a most serious mistake of the Truman administration.

The story of how the State Department got into the propaganda business in the first place is, as things have turned out, a joke even if it were not very funny.

At the end of the war the government propaganda agency was, as any propaganda agency is bound to be, suspect and unpopular in Congress. On the other hand, the administration did not wish to liquidate it. The problem was how to induce an unfriendly Congress to go on making the necessary appropriations.

The leaders on the Hill were consulted, and the word that came back was that the only executive department which Congress trusted, the only one which was not overrun with New Dealers and whatnot was -- believe it or not -- the Department of State. I know the young men ad the newcomers in Washington won't believe that. But that was the way it was in 1943, when James F. Byrnes was Secretary of State.

The propaganda organization with its multitude of employees was not taken into the State Department because Secretary Byrnes wanted to do propaganda. It was taken in by him because he was a compassionate Democrat who alone could provide a refuge and asylum for the displaced persons of the wartime propaganda service.

When the transfer had been carried out, the propagandists, who were now working for the Secretary of State, began to think of new worlds to conquer. So they baptized themselves the Voice of America and began broadcasting throughout the world to all the races of mankind in all the languages their selections of the news and their opinions and comments and interpretations of the foreign policy of the United States and of all other countries.

Thus the Voice of America, as heard day by day throughout the world, was not the President of the United States or the Secretary of State speaking. It was a miscellaneous collection of people who could speak various languages.

What they were saying from hour to hour in Albanian, in Arabic, in Bulgarian, in Hebrew or Korean, was certainly never known to the Secretary of State or to the Assistant Secretary nominally in charge. For even if some official of the department read what was to be said before it was said, let us say in Albanian, he read it in the English text. There was no way he could know or check on what it would sound like when it was translated, or what it would be mean when it had been read. 

Nothing is easier, as we all know, than to say that "Susie is a nice girl," and make it mean several different and contradictory things about Susie.

The State Department could never know what was really going on. There was no way by which it could all the people who were impersonating the Voice of America. For the whole conception of the operation was wrong. It put the employees of the Voice of America in a false position, tempting them with power they should not have, subjecting them them to attacks which they cannot answer. The false conception created a situation where Congress could never trust the propaganda agency, and yet could never reform it.

And the net effect abroad can, I believe, be described fairly as self-defeating.

To set up an elaborate machinery of international communication and then have it say, "We are the Voice of America engaged in propaganda to make you like us better than you like our adversaries" is -- as propaganda -- an absurdity. As a way of stimulating an appetite for the American way of life it is like castor oil as a cocktail before dinner.

Foreigners are in more ways than one a good deal like Americans, and certainly like us in that they do not wish to feel that they are being manipulated and made fools of by someone with something to sell. Anyone, therefore, who says he is a propagandist is incapacitated to be one. Furthermore, anyone suspected of being a propagandist, as all government paid "voices" are and should be, is a lame duck from the beginning.

This suspicion cannot be removed as long as the government serves up to the foreigner different information than is being served up to the American people.

In principle the foreigner should not be asked to listen to the U.S. government speaking. He should be enabled to overhear what the American people are hearing. He will then have the same protection against being the victim of propaganda, the right of our free that we have -- namely, the right in our free society to challenge the validity of a news report and to criticize the handling of it.

This is the only way, and it is the best way, to create confidence abroad in the integrity of the information that we offer them.

It will be said, I know, that if we abolish the Voice of America, if we limit our overseas broadcasts to straight news, that we shall "lose the battle for men's minds" to the Communist who conduct incessant propaganda.

I do not think there is any evidence that the Voice of America has been winning that battle. On the contrary, there are all sorts of reasons, I believe, for thinking that it does much more harm than good to our influence abroad.


Creel, in the 1950s, was also critical of VOA.  His papers in the Library of Congress contain entries noting that he wrote an article condemning the radio station; unfortunately I haven't been able to locate the article.

Why Chomsky is Probably Wrong: Was Walter Lippmann a Member of the Committee on Public Information (1917-1919)?

This entry -- a footnote to an article on Creel and Lippmann during World War I -- is a work in progress; updated 5/22/2016; suggestions welcome -- please email john.h30@gmail.com

American public diplomacy can be defined in two ways: it should tell the truth or tell a story. Of course, there are many shades of gray between these two activities. Their tensions go back to Plato's Gorgias, in which Socrates (the truth-speaking philosopher searching for knowledge) has sharp, often sarcastic, exchanges with Gorgias (the story-telling rhetorician seeking power).

In the twentieth century, specifically during World War I, the tension between philosophy and rhetoric in political life took a new, amplified form with the appearance of a new type of propaganda, differentiated from its earlier historical forms by its efforts manipulate mass audiences through the latest forms of communications at times of global conflict.

In the United States during Great War -- from the perspective of the history of public diplomacy -- the still quite well-known Walter Lippmann was the philosopher, and the far lesser-known George Creel the rhetorician. Lippmann, part of the East coast elite, studied philosophy at Harvard; Creel, born poor in Missouri, was a journalist/publicist with an eight-graduate education. Lippmann thought for a living; Creel scribbled for a living. Both men, despite their different backgrounds, were concerned with that new political force, public opinion, and how to deal with it.

Lippmann, the philosopher, wanted to enlighten public opinion; Creel, the rhetorician, to manipulate it. Both men worked for the U.S. government in the Great War in that new frontier, the public-opinion field -- Lippmann as a captain in military intelligence; Creel as the chairman of the Committee on Public Information, labelled as America's first ministry of propaganda.

Lippmann and Creel, men whose weapons were words (but used differently), were rivals in Washington bureaucratic turf wars. Each, self-promoters infatuated with politics, wanted to be a favorite of that powerful man in the country, the president. Because of this competition, they couldn't stand each other. But intellectually they did have something in common. This is because the distinction between philosophy and rhetoric, in the real world, can be very blurry indeed.

The below deals in a concrete fashion with a philosophy vs. rhetoric issue with which students of the past are not in full agreement:

Was Walter Lippmann a member of Creel's Committee on Public Information?


1) Noam Chomsky, "What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream," Z Magazine, October (1997), accessed 9/29/2014:
Britain needed U.S. backing, so Britain had its Ministry of Information aimed primarily at American opinion and opinion leaders. The Wilson administration reacted by setting up the first state propaganda agency here, called the Committee on Public Information. It succeeded brilliantly, mainly with liberal American intellectuals, people of the John Dewey circle, who actually took pride in the fact that for the first time in history, according to their picture, a wartime fanaticism was created, and not by military leaders and politicians but by the more responsible, serious members of the community, namely, thoughtful intellectuals. And they did organize a campaign of propaganda, which within a few months did succeed in turning a relatively pacifist population into raving anti-German fanatics who wanted to destroy everything German. It reached the point where the Boston Symphony Orchestra couldn’t play Bach. The country was driven into hysteria.

The members of Wilson’s propaganda agency included people like Edward Bernays, who became the guru of the public relations industry, and Walter Lippmann, the leading public intellectual of the 20th century, the most respected media figure. They very explicitly drew from that experience. If you look at their writings in the 1920s, they said, We have learned from this that you can control the public mind, you can control attitudes and opinions. That’s where Lippmann said, 'We can manufacture consent by the means of propaganda.' Bernays said, 'The more intelligent members of the community can drive the population into whatever they want' by what he called 'engineering of consent.' It’s the 'essence of democracy,' he said.'Another member of the Creel Commission was Walter Lippmann, the most respected figure in American journalism for about half a century (I mean serious American journalism, serious think pieces). He also wrote what are called progressive essays on democracy, regarded as progressive back in the 1920s. He was, again, applying the lessons of the work on propaganda very explicitly. He says there is a new art in democracy called manufacture of consent. That is his phrase. Edward Herman and I borrowed it for our book, but it comes from Lippmann. So, he says, there is this new art in the method of democracy, 'manufacture of consent.' By manufacturing consent, you can overcome the fact that formally a lot of people have the right to vote. We can make it irrelevant because we can manufacture consent and make sure that their choices and attitudes will be structured in such a way that they will always do what we tell them, even if they have a formal way to participate. So we’ll have a real democracy. It will work properly. That’s applying the lessons of the propaganda agency.
2) "Noam Chomsky’s misrepresentation of Walter Lippmann’s chief ideas on manufacturing consent," YDS: The Clare Spark Blog, accessed 9/29/2014
Both Bernays and Lippmann had worked for George Creel’s Committee during the First World War, as Chomsky and his followers note.
3) "Woodrow Wilson's propaganda efforts were a great success - Walter Lippmann,"  progressingamerica.org [blog] accessed 9/29/2014:
Most notably, Edward Bernays, the father of spin was a part of CPI. So too was Walter Lippmann himself, though perhaps to a bit of his credit he quickly turned against Creel and his CPI. But as Lippmann would go on to write in Public Opinion (1920): The mass of absolutely illiterate, of feeble-minded, grossly neurotic, undernourished and frustrated individuals, is very considerable, much more considerable there is reason to think than we generally suppose. Thus a wide popular appeal is circulated among persons who are mentally children or barbarians, people whose lives are a morass of entanglements, people whose vitality is exhausted, shut-in people, and people whose experience has comprehended no factor in the problem under discussion. He was no fan of individual rights or "the masses" in general. Here's another example of what he writes:(Phantom Public page 145)[:] The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.
4)  Addition (10/4/2014): Richard T. Arndt, The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century (Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2006), pp. 28-29)
When young CPI propaganda analyst Walter Lippmann reported from Paris to Wilson's assistant, Colonel House, on the misbehavior of a Wilson crony from a Trenton newspaper, Wilson vented his fury not a the boor but at Lippmann.
Was Walter Lippmann a member of Creel's Committee on Public Information?

Not quite yes

1) Addition (10/16/2014): Christopher Sharrett, "9/11, the Useful Incident, and the Legacy of the Creel Committee, Cinema Journal 43, no. 4, Summer 2004, pp. 127-128:
Lippmann and Edward Bernays, a founding father of PR, became advisers to George Creel, a progressive-era journalist Wilson had chosen to head the CPI at a time when imperialist demands called for a more coordinated effort than the rather loose support of Hearst et al. for the state's conquest of former Spanish colonies.

2) Addition 10/17/2014: David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1980; twenty-first anniversary edition), p. 91: 
Lippmann had been among the initial architects of the Committee on Public Information.
Not quite no and no

1) Addition 10/19/2014: From: J. Michael Sproule, Propaganda and Democracy: The American Experience of Media and Mass Persuasion(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977) 93:
Lippmann's direct and sometimes painful immersion in political and psychological opinion control during the war may have diluted and even postponed his inchoate movement toward a paternalistic-administrative conception of mass democracy. As a worker in the army's psychological warfare unit, Lippmann contended with the jealousy of Creel's CPI [Committee on Public Information] and his own growing disdain of military organization.
2) Sidney Blumenthal, "Journalism and its discontents: Ninety years after Walter Lippmann first railed against the complicity of the media in wartime propaganda, we're back at ground zero," Salon (October 25, 2007), accessed 9/29/2014:
Lippmann had ferried from the offices of The New Republic, located in New York, to the White House, where he helped work on speeches for Woodrow Wilson. After the entry of the United States in the world war in 1917, Lippmann enthusiastically accepted an appointment as the U.S. representative on the Inter-Allied Propaganda Board, with the rank of captain. But Captain Lippmann soon crossed swords with George Creel, chief of the Committee on Public Information, an official federal government agency that whipped up war support through jingoism. When Lippmann submitted a blistering report in 1918 on how the committee manipulated news to foster national hysteria, Creel sought his dismissal -- and Lippmann quit his post to assist the U.S. delegation at the Versailles peace conference.
3) In her more recent essay,  "Semantic Tyranny: How Edward L. Bernays Stole Walter - Lippmann’s Mojo and Got Away With It and Why It Still Matters,
"International Journal of Communication 7 (2013), p. 1100, Professor Jansen deals with Lippmann's membership in the CPI in a less definitive way:
Some histories of the CPI ... describe Lippmann as a member. The evidence here is murky.
4) Updated 10/5/2014: Sue Curry Jansen, "Walter Lippmann, Straw Man of Communication Research," in David W. Park, Jefferson Pooley, eds., The History of Media and Communication Research: Contested Memories (New York, Peter Lan, 2008), p. 86, writes:
Lippmann was not a member of  George Creel's Committee on Public Information CPI (81). ... Moreover, Lippmann would never have enlisted with a program affiliated with the CPI. He had been a vehement critic of Creel before the war, calling him a 'reckless and incompetent person' in an editorial in The New Republic. In response to Creel's attempt to ban socialist publications in 1917, Lippmann approached Chief Justice Brandeis and later Colonial [sic -JB] House (Wilson's chief adviser) to stop the suppression.  ... [p. 100:] It required real intellectual courage to criticize the Creel Commission during and after World War I."
Footnote 81 is a reference Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (New Brunswick, N.J. Transaction Publishers, 1999), p. 143. On that page, however, Steel does not state outright that Lippmann was not a member of the CPI, although he makes it clear that this would be most unlikely.

5) Sue Curry Jansen, Walter Lippmann: A Critical Introduction to Media and Communications Theory (New York: Peter Lang, 2012):

Lippmann's critics stress his role as an army propagandist, implying the exercise of Machiavellian powers. But his civilian advocacy for American intervention in the war [WWI] while an editorialist with The New Republic, his involvement in planning what could become the CPI, raise far more questions in my mind than the work he actually did in the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB). ...
Lippmann's brief Army career began auspiciously, with an appointment to serve as the American representative to the Inter-allied Propaganda Board Conference in London where he was also to serve as an official representative of the Inquiry [Wilson established a wartime 'Inquiry' body, in effect a secret investigation into world affairs with the aim of producing a programme for world peace. Boasting some 125 researchers, Lippmann acted as its co-ordinator -- JB]. Its final report, The War Aims and Peace Terms It Suggests, sent to Congress on 22 December 1917, formed the basis for Wilson's subsequent Fourteen Points declaration of January 1918 and the unofficial ears of Colonel House. He took these assignments seriously, questioning various authorities in London and Paris about the effectiveness of PI propaganda, learning that both Lord Northcliffe's staff in the British propaganda office and personnel in the American Embassy in Paris were very disturbed by Creel's propaganda work in Europe, complaining that the staff knew nothing about European journalism or politics. [39]. Lippmann reported his findings to House, who in turn reported them to the president. The president was not pleased, but Lippmann, not Creel, was the object of his ire. Already irritated by The New Republic's and Lippmann's criticism of his administration's suppression of civil liberties, Wilson wrote to Secretary of War Newton Baker, "I have a high opinion of Lippmann, but I am very jealous in the matter of propaganda....I want to keep the matter of publicity in my own hands." [40]. The president made it clear to House that he wanted to hear nothing more from Captain Lippmann about propaganda. After that, Lippmann's short Army career before the armistice was a mix of routine and boredom.
In addition to writing leaflets, Lippmann interviewed German prisoners of war to assess the effects of propaganda on them, and found that few prisoners could articulate the causes of the war or German war aims. Struck by the fact that combatants were willing to risk their lives for a cause they did not seem to understand, this experience was one source of Lippmann's interest in how people acquire information and form opinions about public affairs.[41]
Looking back at the war to end all wars in 1955, Lippmann attributed the failure to develop a workable peace to the "impassioned nonsense" created by the CPI, which made "public opinion so envenomed that the people could not countenance a workable peace." [42] He bore some direct responsibility for the impassioned nonsense that he later denounced, and he was never one to shy away from retrospectively acknowledging his errors. He was directly implicated in what became the CPI. He did, however, have having his own plan rejected. ...
George Creel would later claim that the CPI was entirely his idea; and there is strong evidence that he actively campaigned for the position of chief censor [44].
Historian Francine Curro Cary claims Lippmann set "a gargantuan task for his publicity bureau," which would (1) act as a clearinghouse of information for the activities of government; (2) invent a form of publicity to enlist attention to prosaic tasks of industrial warfare (3); supply articles that supported government policy (4); (5) monitor and report on the monitor public opinion on the allied, neutral and enemy press; (6) deal with the motion picture situation; (7) run down rumors and lies [45] ...
Lippmann submitted his plan on April 12th, one day before the president created the CPI and appointed Creel chairman. ... Creel's had to have a been a bitter disappointment. Lippmann had recommended that wartime censorship be put in in the hands of people possessing "real democratic sympathy." [48]. Ronald Steel claims that Lippmann himself coveted the position [49]. While this is certainly possible, historians of the CPI, who examine Lippmann's role quite closely, make no mention of it; Lippmann himself recommenced Vane McCormick as the "ideal man" for the position. McCormick was a former journalist and publishers who was chair of the War Trade Board and the Democratic National Committee [50]. It is, however, quite likely that Lippmann was aware that Creel was the front-runner for the position, and he may have tried to subvert the appointment, giving rise to the belief that he wanted the position himself [51]. Creel was probably Wilson's choice from the beginning as the usually cool and distant Wilson seemed to enjoy Creel's gregarious story-telling and above all valued his unconditional loyalty.
Lippmann's low opinion of Creel's judgment and ethics predate the CPI. Two years earlier, in an unsigned editorial in The New Republic, Lippmann had denounced Creel for his reporting on a Colorado labor dispute (the Ludlow Massacre) as "a reckless and incompetent person...determined to make noise no matter what canons of truthfulness he violates" [52]. ...
We can only speculate whether the course of history might have been different if Lippmann's ... plan had been adopted, if McCormick had been appointed, or if Wilson's press secretary Joseph Tumulty's advice to the president to have war censorship overseen by a committee of prominent journalists had been followed. ...
In any case there are no innocents here, not ... Creel ... Lippmann, and certainly not the "idealistic" Wilson.  ... Wilson enthusiastically supported Creel's efforts, and refused to intervene when his Postmaster and Attorney General suppressed the democratic ideals that the Great War, in theory, committed to spreading throughout the world. ...
In an article in The New Republic, he [Lippmann] wrote, "One of the great calamities of our part in the war was the character of American propaganda in Europe." He continued with a pointed reference to Creel: It was as if an imp had devised it to thwart every purpose Mr. Wilson was supposed to entertain. The general tone of it was one of unmitigated brag accompanied by unmitigated gullibility...The outfit which was abroad 'selling the war' to Europe (the phrase is not my own) gave shell-shocked Europe to understand that a rich bumpkin had come to town with his pockets bulging and no desire except to please [56]. 
Lippmann's Public Opinion would revisit many of the ideas developed in 1919-1920, but that book's original contribution would be its examination of news reception and the formation of public opinion.
[39]. Stephen L. Vaughn, Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980.
[40]. Wilson quoted by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., "Walter Lippmann: The Intellectual v. Politics." In Marquis Childs and James Reston, editors, Walter Lippmann and His Times. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1959, p. 199. Wilson's opinion of Lippmann was, however, subject to change depending upon his audience. [41]. Lippmann attributed his interest in public opinion to his wartime experience. Reminiscences of Walter Lippmann 1999. Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University...
[42]. Lippmann, Essays in the Public Diplomacy, p. 21 ...
[44]. Creel, Rebel at Large.
[45]. Francine Curro Cary, The Influence of War on Walter Lippmann, 1914-1944. Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1967. Lippmann's plan, one of many war plans that he submitted to House, is outlined in a brief Letter to Edward M. House, April 12, 1917, published in Public Philosopher: Selected Letters of Walter Lippmann edited by John Morton Blum. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1985, pp. 65-66. ...
[48]. Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century, p. 125
[49]. Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century. ...
[50]. Lippmann, Letter to Edward M. House, April 12, 1917, in Public Philosopher, p. 66. Lippmann does, however, make it clear that he and a Wolcott Pitkin, later a member of House's staff, would be available to help the project up and running.
[51]. Thompson reports that Lippmann was at a dinner with a group of writers that included Creel on April 5, 1917, one week before Creel's announcement was announced. Creel, always a self-promoter, may have indicated that he was going to be appointed.
[52]. Lippmann asked Creel in 1915 for what Lippmann took to be a slander of another progressive journalist Paul Kellogg, who Creel claimed was a pawn of the Rockefellers. Unsigned, 'Paul Kellogg Muckraked,' New Republic, February 20, 1915, p. 61 ...
[56] Lippmann quoted by Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century, p. 47, from Lippmann, "For a State Department," The New Republic, September 17, 1919
Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (New Brunswick, N.J. Transaction Publishers, 1999), p. 138, chapter 12, passim:
One morning in the middle of June 1918, an engaging fellow wearing the bars of a captain in military uniform came up to 155th Street and approached Lippmann with a most novel proposition.
Lippmann's visitor that morning, Captain Heber Blankenhorn, was a young journalist with some ideas about propaganda. A stint with Creel's information bureau had persuaded him that the army should have its own organization to get America's message across to the other side, rather than relying on the British and the French. His plan fell on receptive ears in the War Department, but was opposed by Creel, who was wildly jealous of rivals. Blankenhorn decided to put together a a small team capable of doing propaganda work, and then go straight to Secretary of War Newton Baker for permission to set up an army intelligence unit independent of the Committee on Public Information.
By the time he walked into Lippmann's offfice, Blankenhorn was ready to sign up several recruits . ... To fill out his team, Blankenhorn needed someone who understood the politics of Germany and Austria-Hungary and could explain Wilson's diplomacy to the Europeans. Having heard about The Inquiry [see -- JB] and Lippmann's involvement in it, Blankenhorn decided to play a long shot and approach the young [The New Republic - JB ] editorialist [Lippmann - JB] directly. ...
[A]fter a few minutes of polite preliminaries in Lippmann's office, Blankerhorn made his bid, How would Lippmann like to be appointed American representative to the Inter-Allied Propaganda Board in London for several months? ...
Lippmann was intrigued. He had long been fascinated by propaganda and public opinion. ... But to [Blankerhorn's] surprise, Lippmann ... said: "I think I might like to do that." [1]
That night he talked it over with Faye [his wife] and the next morning broached it to [Wilson's adviser] Colonel House. "I would want to do this work only in a way which the President and you would approve," he explained of Blankenhorn's plan to use the Inquiry in his propaganda work. There would be nothing crude about it; rather, it would be "getting away from propaganda in the sinister sense, and substituting it for a frank campaign of education addressed to the German and Austrian troops, explaining as simply as persuasively as possible the unselfish character of the war, the generosity of our aims, and the great hope of mankind which we are trying to realize." [2]
House was delighted by the idea ... it would remove the sting from Creel's crude propaganda efforts. He gave his enthusiastic approval . ...
While Blankenhorn went to Washington to get War Department approval, Lippmann outlined to Baker the advantages of the scheme offered. ... "The moral of our part in the war is a startling and perplexing novelty" in European affairs and a source of great strength, he noted in an appeal to Baker's idealism. The Americans should not be mere "mechanical transmitters of propaganda" written by the Allies. Propaganda should have a "distinctly American flavor" and use the President's speeches as a text. "We should avoid all the tricky and sinister aspects of what is usually called propaganda, and should aim to create the impression that there is something new and infinitely hopeful in the affairs of mankind." [4]
Baker gave his approval, but warned that 'this education over the lines must be absolutely honest.' With good reason Baker wanted to keep the leaflet program out of Creel's hands, for a tsar of American propaganda, the zealous Creel wanted to limit the army to distributing materials prepared by the CPI. Any independent American propaganda unit would have displeased him -- and particularly one including Lippmann. Creel had not forgiven Lippmann for having taken him to task earlier in the New Republic over civil liberties issue in Colorado, where Creel had worked as a journalist. At that time Lippmann, in an unsigned editorial, had questioned Creel's honesty and called him a "reckless and incompetent persons who ... has shown himself incapable of judging evidence and determined to make a noise no matter what cannon of truthfulness he violates." Creel replied in kind, and the affairs still rankled. [5] ...
Within four days of Blankenhorn's first visit to the Inquiry, the War Department approved  his plan. A week later Lippmann received his commission as captain in the United States Army . ... Lippmann now wore two hats: one as propagandist, the other as House's personal representative to the Allied intelligence services ... . Word went out to the American ambassadors in London, Paris and Rome to cooperate with the young emissary. ... No sooner did they lay down their packs than Lippmann and Blankenhorn set off for London to attend the inter-Allied conference on propaganda.
There they received a rude shock. James Keeley, a former Chicago publisher who directed the CPI office in Europe, told them that while they were crossing the Atlantic the initial lines agreement on lines of responsibility had been changed. Now, instead of the army's MIB being in charge of both preparation across enemy lines, it would be confined merely to distributing propaganda material at the front. Creel's CPI would handle everything else. This would undercut the army unit's operation. Quickly adapting to the ways of bureaucracy, Lippmann and Blankenhorn decided that since they had not been officially notified of the change, they would ignore it. ...
Lippmann was disturbed by Kelley's news about the arrangement between the MIB and Creel's unit. From London he wrote House of the "somewhat confused" relations between the government units, and of the "need to create a real center of political information" in Europe to coordinate American propaganda.  People in the Foreign Office and propagandists on Northcliffe's staff had told him that the CPI's work in Europe was "very bad." Turnover was constant and Creel's people knew nothing about British journalism or European politics. "Their reputation among the English is very low," Lippmann reported of the CPI. Creel's man Keeley complained of having no support from Washington, and even admitted his own inability to handle the job. "He feels completely lost when he has to sit down and discuss the complicated problems of Central Europe with the very expert staff that Lord Northcliffe has collected around him." Lippmann urged House to set up a propaganda unite independent of Creel and work appoint as director High Gibson, a foreign service officer ... [9]
Lippmann's comments on Creel's propaganda unit ... soon reached the White House. Wilson was not pleased. The President had a personal interest in the propaganda program and shared his friend Creel's concern that the army was taking over the PI's activities in Europe. He was also irritated at Lippmann for the New Republic's criticism of his administration's suppression of dissent. Thus, when House passed on Lippmann's letter, Wilson viewed it as a personal criticism. "I am very much puzzled as to who sent Lippmann to inquire into matters of propaganda," he replied testily to House. "I have found his judgment most unsound, and therefore entirely unserviceable in matters of that sort because he, in common with the men of The New Republic, has ideas about the war and its purposes which are highly unorthodox from my own point of view." He also was suspicious of those Lippmann quoted with such approval ... . Colonel House, in an effort to mollify Wilson, explained that Lippmann had been sent over by the War Department to deal with propaganda . ...
At the very moment that House was trying to appease Wilson, Lippmann was ... in Paris meeting with diplomat Hugh Gibson and Arthur Frazier, number two man at the American embassy and House's contact there. They shared Lippmann's contempt for Creel ad encouraged him to complain to House over State Department lines. In a blistering critique of the Creel operation, Lippmann cabled House that the CPI failed to understand that propaganda was a means, not just of winning the war but of laying the groundwork for a just peace. "'In every European country propaganda against the enemy is treated as an instrument of diplomacy and the men who direct it are high in the council of government." Why did the American war effort have to suffer such incompetence?"
If Lippmann's complaint was well taken, his timing could hardly have been worse. Wilson had barely cooled down after Lippmann's letter from London when his new cable from Paris crossed his desk. Creel demanded that Lippmann be recalled immediately. Wilson agreed to muzzle Blankenhorn's unit and put all propaganda under the CPI. "I have a high opinion of Lippmann, but I am very jealous in the matter of propaganda," he told [Secretary of State] Lansing," ... [and] want to keep the matter of publicity in my own hands.' [JB note -- no footnote to this citation].
House warned Lippmann that his complaints were causing "friction" and that he should avoid "talking or cabling anything of a critical character." Stung by the colonel's rebuke, Lippmann explained lamely that he was merely trying to unsnarl "one of those unfortunate affairs where men are trying to take each other's jobs away, You know, of course, that I am a thousand times more interested in the Inquiry than in propaganda, and that I only went into it because I was told I was needed." [14]
Lines of authority continued to be blurred for the remaining months of the war, but Creel kept the upper hand. Lippmann did not openly challenge him again but when it was all over summed up his feelings in a bitter article for the NR. "One of the genuine calamities of our part in the war was the character of American propaganda in Europe," he wrote. "It was run as if an imp had devised it to thwart every purpose Mr. Wilson was supposed to entertain. The general tone of it was one of unmitigated brag accompanied by unmitigated gullibility .... The outfit which was abroad 'selling the war in Europe' (the phrase not my own) gave shell-shocked Europe to understand that a rich bumpkin had come to town with its pockets bulging and no desire except to please." [15]
By the end of August the dispute between Creel and the MIB had been resolved, and the little band of propagandists had moved into their headquarters at Chaumont: half a room in a casern built doing the Napoleonic wars. ... To give the office the proper tone, and to hide the cracks in the plaster, they pasted propaganda leaflets, maps and charts on the four-foot-thick walls. ...
As ranking literary member of the team, Lippmann's job was to write the propaganda leaflets to be dropped behind the enemy lines. ...'God how he hated the army!' Blankenhorn recalled. [16] ...
During September and October 1918 Lippmann's minuscule subunit in Paris produced more than five million copies of eighteen different leaflets. ...
Lippmann's own contact with the troops was exceedingly limited. Not only until late September 1918, after the battle of the Argonne, was the propaganda unit moved up toward the front. ...
Lippmann stayed on at the front, interrogating prisoners. ...
From ... discouraging weeks [Lippmann at the Versailles negotiations after the war] came, four years later, Lippmann's great work on public opinion and his inquiry into the effect of propaganda on democracy itself. ...
[1]. Heber Blanhenhorn-Wl 6/14/18.
[2]. WL-EMH 6/16/18. ...
[4]. WL-NDB 6/20/18.
[5]. 'Paul Kellogg Muckraked,' NR 2/20/15; George Creel-WL 3/23/15; WL-Creel 3/25/15; Creel-WL 3/27/25; WL-Creel 3/29/15. ...
[9]. WL-EMH 8/9, 8/15/18.
[14]. Wilson-Robert Lansing 9/5/18, Wilson Papers, LC; EMH-WL 9/5/18; WL -EMH 10/2/18.
[15]. "For a Department of State," NR 9/17/19.
[16]. Blankenhorn, 'Reminiscences,' 110.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Update - The Committee on Public Information's 150,000: Details from a WWI Propaganda War"

This entry -- a footnote to an article on Creel and Lippmann during World War I-- is a work in progress; updated 5/22/2016; suggestions welcome -- please email john.h30@gmail.com

[Update 101/18/2014] "It [the Committee on Public Information] has only 250 paid employees."

--FromThe Activities of the Committee on Public Information (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1918), on the number of "paid employees "



“It [the Committee on Public Information] has only 215 paid employees, but it directs and coordinates the partio[sic]tic work of 5,000 volunteer writers and artists and 20,000 public speakers."

Image from

--George Creel, Chairman of the Committee on Public Information, the first U.S. propaganda (arguably, public diplomacy) agency (1917-1919), speech before City Editors’ Association in Columbus, Ohio, January 19, 1918, Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Box 5, George Creel Papers, folder “Speeches and Writings File: Speeches, Transcripts, 1917-1922, 1932-1933”

The above sounds, to most, like a very insignificant quotation, but in the history of U.S. propaganda/public diplomacy it is not without importance

Background: Woodrow Wilson -- after he asked Congress, on April 2, 1917 to declare war against Germany -- created on April 4, by Executive Order 2594a Committee on Public Information
to be composed of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, and a civilian who shall be charged with the executive direction of the Committee.
As Civilian Chairman of this of this Committee, I appoint Mr. George Creel. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of the Navy each to detail an officer or officers to the work of the Committee.
The Committee of Public Information’s (CPI) main tasks, through various media and programs were, in the words of the Complete Report of the Chairman of the Committee on Public Information (1917), “to make the fight for loyalty and unity at home, and for the friendship and understanding of the neutral nations of the world" (see also [1] [2]).
250/215 vs. 150,000

According to Creel, in his How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information that Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe (1920), p. 4, “One hundred and fifty thousand men and women were devoting highly specialized abilities to the work of the Committee, as faithful and devoted in their service as though they wore the khaki.” That figure is repeated in his Rebel at Large: Recollections of Fifty Crowded Years (1947), p.162, where he states that “150,000 trained men were delivering the government’s message to the people.”  

For years Creel’s figure -- 150,000 CPIers -- has been circulated, in print and on the internet (see below), when citing how many people were involved in the CPI (I deliberately use the neutral word “involved.”)

To the best of my knowledge, no secondary source (except The Activities of the Committee on Public Information mentioned above) mentions that the CPI only had 250/215 paid employees. Instead, sources as a rule cite the 150,000 figure (see below), not providing specific information on many CPIers were actually getting paid for their services, thereby perhaps unwittingly giving the impression that the CPI was larger in terms of “real” employees than it actually was. By way of contrast, today the State Department hires nearly 70,000 employees, including 45,000 locally employed Foreign Service staff at overseas posts.

Please note that the above opening quotations by the CPI publication and Creel 's speech emphasize that employees are not necessarily paid (the reference is "paid employees"), although the dictionary definition of the term "employee" suggests that by its very nature employees are paid.  So for Creel, even if they weren't paid, persons contributing their time and labor to the CPI were "employees."

Some information on CPI salaries is provided by the classic work on the Committee on Information, James R. Mock and Cedric Larson, Words that Won the War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939), p. 66: "Compensation for members of the Executive Division, as for most members of the CPI organization bore some relation to the need of the individual, and frequently division heads cheerfully accepted less than was given to a number of their subordinates. Salaries for the executives were Creel $8,000, Sisson, $6,000, O'Higgins $6,000, and Byoir $5,200."  On p. 90 Mock ad Larson note that in the Division of News its director, "Mr. [Leigh] Reilly was paid $5,200 per year, and his ranking assistants, receiving $3,900, were Marlen E. Pew, subsequently editor of Editor and Publisher, and Arthur W. Crawford, Washington correspondent for the Chicago Herald." P. 93: The editor of the CPI’s Official Bulletin, Edward Sudler Rochester, “was paid $5,200 a year.  The associate editor, who received $2,340, was John D. Neel, former city editor of the Washington Post." P. 160 "Dozens of scholars from all over the country gave indispensable help [to the CPI] , but they were not on the payroll and either worked entirely on their own campuses or came to Washington for brief consultation periods. Few of them received more than the $25 or $50 which was supposed to cover travelling expenses. Dean Ford's salary [as Director of Division of Civic and Educational Cooperation] was $5,200, [his chief assistant] Professor Harding' s $2,600."

Note, however, the cautious words of Sue Curry Jansen in her recently published article, "'The World's Greatest Adventure in Advertising': Walter Lippmann's Critique of Censorship and Propaganda" (p. 303, The Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies (2013) edited by Jonathan Auerbach and Russ Castronovo):
Republican loyalists accused Creel of corruption, patronage, and press censorship, which he denied. To defend himself, as well as the thousands of writers, artists, and ordinary citizens who voluntarily participated in CPI's efforts, Creel quickly produced a book, How We Advertised America (1920), which described in great detail the CPI's work, albeit in hyperbolic terms ...
Most members of the CPI contributed their efforts on a voluntary basis while continuing their regular careers ... [JB - it could be argued, however, that social/political pressure to join in the CPI's activities did not in all cases make the CPIers' efforts totally voluntary.]
Regarding CPI staff working overseas, Mock and Larson note (p. 242)
These three phases of the Foreign Section's work Wire less-Cable Service, Foreign Press Bureau, and Foreign Film Division presupposed Committee representatives in the various countries to handle local distribution of the material. Such agents were appointed, and they are a famous group.
Personnel changes were bewildering, and the fact that some people were appointed from Washington, some retained by field workers, makes it impossible to list the entire staff of the Foreign Section. Even payroll records, which solve many similar problems for the domestic division, are of only partial help here, as several important workers are not listed at all

As suggested in the above, Creel, an enthusiastic self-promoter, had a tendency toward exaggeration. Wilson himself told Creel regarding his use of language that,  “I’m afraid, dear boy, that I was born without your passion for adjectives.” (George Creel letter to George Bates Creel, March 21, 1931, George Creel Papers, Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Box 1)

Some Sources citing the 150,000 figure

(1) Peter Buitenhuis, The Great War of Words: British, American and Canadian Propaganda and Fiction, 1914-1933 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1987): 70: "At its peak, the Creel Committee employed  [my emphasis] 150,000 men and women." Citing Buitenhuis in my list of sources consulted, I repeat the misleading word “employed” (which suggest getting paid for a job) regarding the 150,000 when stating in myThe Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the United States,” Public Diplomacy Alumni Association, n.d. :“In April 1917, shortly after declaring war on Germany, the Wilson administration established the Committee on Public Information (CPI), which at its peak employed 150,000 people.”In another, more accurate article, “Smart power in, public diplomacy out?” in my Notes and Essays (March 2, 2009) I referred to the “Committee on Public Information (1917–1919), which was served by more than 150 000 people”; but I should have avoided the word “more.”

(2) Kelly LaBrecque, Persuasion by design: World War I, the Committee on Public Information, and the effectiveness of good poster design (M.A. thesis, 2008, p. 16). LaBrecque is careful to use the phrase, re the CPIS’s 150,000, that they were “involved in its workings.” 

(3) Christopher Eric Howard, Propaganda Against Propaganda: Deconstructing the Dominant Narrative of the Committee on Public Information (M.A.thesis, 2014)): “The CPI also enlisted thousands of faceless volunteers, perhaps as many as 150,000, into the fight for what Wilson himself referred to as 'the verdict of mankind.' [Footnote 4] Half of this  number, nearly 75,000 men, volunteered their services as 'Four-Minute Men' who gave  four-minute long speeches at movie theaters and in other public settings that encouraged their  fellow citizens to support the war effort, among other ways, by purchasing liberty bonds, conserving food, donating blood, and registering for the draft. Countless other volunteers served as translators, social workers, artists, writers, and clerical staff."[footnote 4) George Creel, Rebel at Large: Recollections of Fifty Crowded Years (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1947) 158. Written nearly thirty years after the war, Creel’s autobiography contains five somewhat brief  chapters of his experiences as CPI Chairman. His How We Advertised America (1920) provides a much fuller account of the CPI." See also.

(4) Ross Eaman, The A to Z of Journalism (2009)119:  “The CPI’s staff grew to 150,000.

(5) On the Home Front To be an American [blog] The chairman, George Creel, oversaw the actions of up to 150,000 workers nationally.” Contains below image, with caption: "The Committee on Public Information produced American propaganda posters that commonly portrayed Germans as bloodthirsty animals in an effort to spur enlistment or other goals. Subsequently, German Americans suffered as the public associated them with the enemy."
75,000 vs. 20,000

In his How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information that Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe (1920): 5, Creel writes that
The Four Minute Men [part of CPI], an organization that will live in history by reason of its originality and effectiveness, commanded the volunteer services of 75,000 speakers, operating in 5,200 communities, and making a total of 755,190 speeches, every one having the carry of shrapnel. With the aid of a volunteer staff of several hundred translators, the Committee kept in direct touch with the foreign-language press, supplying selected articles designed to combat ignorance and disaffection.
Image from

This 75,000 figure, also frequently cited in the literature (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) certainly does not match the "20,000 public speakers" figure cited above in the Creel speech at Ashville. 

Comment on the above quotation by Professor Jonathan D. Auerbach who generously responded to my email attaching this "Notes and Essays" piece -- and who has completed a book, now in production (John Hopkins University Press, due to appear in 2015): Weapons of Democracy: Propaganda, Progressivism, and American Public Opinion,
I think the discrepancy in numbers for 4MM [Four Minute Men - JB] 
is simply a matter of dating, since the program grew rapidly near the end of the war to attain its full 75K, which is the number by November 1918. [JB note: According to James R. Mock and Cedric Larson, Words that Won the War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939), p. 70, there were  [precise date not specified] "More [my italics -- JB] than 75,000 volunteer speakers [who] gave their four-minute talks in movie houses, theaters, and other public places from Maine to Samoa"; however, on p. 113  and p. 119 their volume, they do not place "more than" before the 75,000 figure, stating on p. 119 that 75,000 was "the final total."] In July 1918 (before the fourth Liberty Loan campaign) it might only have had 20K, but that number does seem a bit low. Best resource I found for the 4MM was not Creel, but the various issues of the 4MM Newsletter, a fascinating document published for the speakers themselves, not the public at large. Plus at the N Archives there are the individual cards on file for each visit to a theater by a 4MM speaker.
Creel is a blowhard, but I don't think it's especially fruitful to spend time exposing each and every one of his exaggerations--and when it comes to statistics, I do think he was very accurate, the good bureaucrat that he was.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Russian Duma Deputy Wants California and Alaska Back: Note for a Lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"

Window on Eurasia: Russian Duma Deputy Wants California and Alaska Back

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 26 – Mikhail Degtyarev, a LDPR Duma deputy, has asked the Russian foreign ministry to clarify the status of land that had belonged to Russia in what is now the US state of California because he believes that Washington did not pay for it as required by a nineteenth century bilateral agreement.

            As a result, Degtaryev is quoted by “Izvestiya” today as saying, “Russia as before has the basis to consider the territory of Fort Ross its own” and to seek either compensation via international courts or the return of that land to Russian control.  In that event, he says, Moscow should install Russian missiles there (izvestia.ru/news/577183).

            The LDPR deputy said that after Moscow examined the details of the 1841 sale of Fort Ross to the United States, it would need to focus on the issue of Russia’s subsequent sale of Alaska to the US in order to find out whether the Americans lived up to that bargain as well. If not, then he said, Russia should seek compensation or the return of its property.

            Degtaryev is a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party and like him has a reputation for outrageous statements which nonetheless sometimes capture the mood of Russians. In the past, the deputy has threatened Japan for its questioning of Russian sovereignty over the Kuriles, called for declaring the ruble an international reserve currency, and suggested putting pictures of Russian heroes in Russian passports (mk.ru/politics/2014/09/26/ldpr-trebuet-vernut-rossii-chast-kalifornii-i-razmestit-tam-sistemu-iskander.html).

Nonetheless, Degtaryev has received some support: Maksim Suraykin, the head of the marginal Communists of Russia party, says that Moscow must investigate the details of these long-ago sales because there is no “statute of limitations” in such cases. And the Russian Foreign Ministry has promised that it will get back to the deputy within 30 days.

            But most reaction to Degtaryev’s latest outburst has been dismissive of him and it if not of the Russian environment that allows such things to surface with increasing frequency.  In reporting the “Izvestiya” story, Anatoly Baranov, the editor of ForumMSK.org, said that it was easy to see why the LDPR deputy could think he is in the right.

            After all, he notes, the center of San Francisco is even now called “Russian Hill” and thus it is clear that “California is an inalienable part of ‘the Russian world’” given how Moscow now defines it. “True, there is the US Third Fleet, but what kind of an obstacle is that to our strategists?” (forum-msk.org/material/news/10516527.html).

            But there is a bigger problem, Baranov says. “It is difficult to explain to world public opinion that the LDPR in Russia is viewed not very seriously … For the rest of the world, it is a solid parliamentary party, the leader of which the great Pu has called the greatest Russian politician along with Zyuganov.”

            Consequently, the ForumMSK.org editor says, “headlines in the world media like ‘The State Duma begins the process of the annexation of California’ or ‘”Polite people’ are preparing to attack the US’ will be completely justified.”

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The Best States for Raising Black Children Have One Disturbing Thing in Common: Note for a Lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United."


The Best States for Raising Black Children Have One Disturbing Thing in Common

No black children. How very convenient.
In April, the Annie E. Casey Foundation published a study measuring the best and worst U.S. states for raising black kids. The researchers took 12 statistical metrics, from "babies born at normal birth weight" to "young adults ages 19 to 26 who are in school or working," and made an index showing the educational, financial and career prospects for the typical black child in that state.

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

The results aren't pretty: All 46 states for which data was available earned exceptionally low scores on a scale of zero to 1,000:

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

Meanwhile, the four states that scored highest — Hawai'i, New Hampshire, Utah and Alaska — all have black populations of less than 4%, suggesting their success has less to do with their black-friendly social policies than just an overwhelming lack of blackness.
Background: It's relatively easy to create a positive environment for black kids where there aren't any actual black kids. But it's important to note this isn't necessarily a causal relationship.
For example, the state with the lowest index score overall, Wisconsin (238), has a population that's only 6.5% black, while the fifth and sixth "best" states, Massachusetts (482) and Maryland (474), are 8.1% and 30.1% black, respectively.

Source: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

But while having no black people in your state doesn't automatically guarantee a better outlook for black children, it certainly doesn't hurt either.
Why? It's hard to say definitively. History shows that regions with concentrated black populations, especially in the agricultural South and industrial Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, have often shown a tendency to violently police black mobility and behavior.

Source: Tom Gannam/AP

Case in point: The Casey Foundation links nationwide failures to nurture black children to specific social factors and policies, from disproportionate exposure to "high levels of poverty and violence" and barred access to home ownership to underfunded schools and disparate interaction with the criminal justice system.
To varying degrees, these are all defining markers of life in the bottom-ranked states. These top four states are all linked by a relative absence of this type of racist legacy.
One other thing to note: Having a high score on this index should not suggest it's a good idea to raise a black child in that state. Comparatively, all 50 are pretty horrible when compared to the opportunities afforded white children.
For contrast, just look at the index measures for white children in the U.S.:

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

The lowest-scoring state for white kids, Wyoming (with an index score of 521), still ranks higher than all but two of the 46 states ranked for black kids. And if you think that's stark, here are the rankings for Asian American children:

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

Plus there's this: Population size often correlates with index rank for other groups as well. Three of the top four states for black children — Hawai'i, Alaska and New Hampshire — also rank in the top four for Latino children, of which each boasts below-average numbers.
Meanwhile, Hawai'i and Alaska plummet into the bottom ten when ranked for Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American children, respectively. Both states boast disproportionately high numbers of these groups.
Takeaway: If you want to raise a child of color, it's best to avoid the states where large populations of your people have been around long enough to be subjected to repressive policies, systematic discrimination and racist violence sanctioned at least in part by the U.S. government.
It's a tough pill to swallow. But who said raising kids was easy, anyway?