On Wednesday, the Associated Press (AP) released a detailed report on its cooperation with the Third Reich during World War II, which involved publishing photographs provided to it by Nazi officials and providing American photographs in return. Michael Rosenwald explains:
The report includes documents recently declassified at the request of AP’s management. . . . As part of the arrangement [with the Nazis], AP shared pictures of U.S. war operations and Allied advances, which were reviewed by Hitler and published in Nazi publications. . . .
John Daniszewski, AP’s vice-president for standards and editor-at-large, said that the organization’s journalists “were doing their best to get out information that the world needed.” He defended the photos—they are still available for purchase on an AP website—by noting that blatantly staged propaganda was excluded and that AP’s captions made the Nazi origins clear. But a review of photos published in American newspapers shows that wasn’t always the case. . . .
Photos were traded in Lisbon, [the capital of neutral Portugal], via diplomatic pouch with the help of another AP correspondent. A route through Sweden later emerged. At least 10,000 photos went back and forth.
AP officials notified the U.S. censorship office of the deal on July 13, 1942. The office was run by Byron Price, a former AP executive editor, recruited personally by President Roosevelt, according to the AP report. The report does not detail the Americans’ rationale for approving the deal, except to indicate that there might be “information value” to the backdoor relationship.