How the Associated Press Became Part of the Nazi Propaganda Machine | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine

Journalism is all about access. To get the scoop, reporters must first get in. But some access comes with a price—and when totalitarian states hold the keys, ethical lines can be crossed. That’s what happened when one of the world’s most respected news organizations, The Associated Press, traded its editorial control for access to Nazi Germany during World War II, writes Philip Oltermann for the Guardian.

Oltermann reports on a German historian’s new revelations that the Associated Press entered into “a formal cooperation with the Hitler regime” during the Nazi era. Harriet Scharnberg, a German historian, writes in the German academic journal Studies in Contemporary History that in return for continued access to Nazi Germany, the AP agreed not to publish any material that would weaken the regime. She claims that the AP hired four Nazi photographers, including one named Franz Roth whose photographs were hand-selected by Hitler himself, and that the AP’s photo archives were used to make anti-Semitic propaganda.

The issue of journalistic access was tricky throughout the Nazi era and World War II. Germany had been welcoming to foreign correspondents before Hitler came into power, but in 1934, the Nazis began to expel journalists. They started with Dorothy Thompson, an influential journalist for the New York Post, in retribution for her critical writing about Hitler. By the outbreak of war, the AP was the only western news agency left in Germany.

How the Associated Press Became Part of the Nazi Propaganda Machine | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine