It's not news. He was young and naive. This is in some respects true. There is no "hard" news here, but how often do we find news reports about a prominent person's past? George W. Bush for one would find this curious. How many stories -- hundreds? -- were filed about his wild partying days at roughly the same age?
It's not news. These clearly were not his views during his public years. Again, a defensible position. Yet when former Senator Trent Lott said in 2002 that when, as a young man at approximately the same time (1948) he'd supported the segregation agenda of Strom Thurmond, a position he'd come clearly to repudiate, there followed an avalanche of negative press and he was forced to resign in disgrace.
It's speculative. Admiration does not necessarily an endorsement make. I'll buy that one, too. Clearly when this young man evinced his admiration for the "superiority" of the Nordic races, he had no idea that Hitler would make this a justification to slaughter six million Jews. We could state just as emphatically that to declare Hitler would be "one of the most significant figures that ever lived" is, in fact, accurate. He was "the stuff of legends" -- and so was Nero.
But what if this man's name was Ronald Reagan? None of this would apply. Youthful ignorance would be no excuse. A man of his historic importance? Admiring the "superiority" of Nazism? You betchum we're going to cover it!
Taken further, they would argue, Who are we to declare these views had no impact on his thinking? After all, in some circles, his name is synonymous with radical right, even fascistic, leanings.
Most importantly, the news media would tell us, It is precisely because it is speculative that it should be reported. At best, it's a simple curiosity, at worst, a bombshell of Nagasaki proportions. Don't the American people deserve to be told, and shouldn't they be allowed to judge for themselves?
If this young man's name was Ronald Reagan, it is undeniable that this new book would be a top-shelf media story everywhere. But his name wasn't Reagan.
It was John F. Kennedy.
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