Making the News, Not Just Reporting It

C.L. Sulzberger. Long Row of Candles: Memoirs and Diaries [1934-1954]. New York: McMillan Co., 1969. (a book of the month club selection)

C.L. Sulzberger (1912-1993) was chief foreign correspondent of the New York Times (1944-1954) and author of its foreign affairs column (1954-1978). He and his family owned the New York Times. He was the nephew of Arthur Hays Sulzberger and cousin of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, both of them former publishers of the New York Times.

In Tel Aviv on July 24, 1948, Sulzberger, traveling as the representative of the powerful New York Times, met with South African Jews in the Stern Gang who outlined their plan to kill Count Bernadotte and other UN officials, in the same way they had ”murdered” Lord Moyne. Sulzberger approved of the plan but introduced the Stern Gang killers to his brother-in-law who was a member of Count Bernadotte’s staff so they would not kill him by mistake. Sulzberger resolved to tell Ben-Gurion of this encounter if it was convenient (it never was), but concealed it from others, such as Count Bernadotte. [pp. 402-403]

Sulzberger never got around to telling Count Bernadotte or anyone else about the planned assassination. Surely it would have gone forward even if Sulzberger had objected, but the endorsement of the New York Times sealed the fate of the UN peace negotiator. The owners of the New York Times have always believed, and often said, that the purpose of their newspaper was to make the news, not merely report it. Sometimes, for the New York Times and its owners to achieve their objectives people have to die or nations have to be destroyed.

Within months, Sulzberger appends to his entry of 9/17/1948: ”(P.S. Flash–Bernadotte was assassinated today: Stern Gang.) [p. 408]