The problem with most reporters is that they have very little sense of history, beyond the week before last. In Paris, during the Nazi occupation, there were many “respectable people” who remained silent–or strongly defended the Nazis, and, by implication, the techniques they used to contain “ insurgents,” including waterboarding and other forms of torture.

Many of those French apologists were journalists. Their reputations declined rather sharply after Paris was liberated by the Allies.


Charles Kaiser is the author of The Gay Metropolis and 1968 in America. He has been media editor for Newsweek, a member of the metro staff of The New York Times, and a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he covered the press and book publishing. To learn more, visit