Academic journal article Journalism History

Off the Fat of the Land: The Denver Post's Story of the Japanese American Internment during World War II

Academic journal article Journalism History

Off the Fat of the Land: The Denver Post's Story of the Japanese American Internment during World War II

Article excerpt

Takahara, Kumiko. Off The Fat of the Land: The Denver Post's Story of the Japanese American Internment During World War II. Powell, Wyo.: Western History Publications, 2003. 198 pp. $16.95.

Kumiko Takahara's Off the fat of the Land is a well written indictment of the editorial and news policies of the Den ver Post regarding the internment, the settlement, and the loyalty of the Japanese Americans during World War II. It also is a snapshot of the role the media plays in the formation of public policy and public opinion.

Unlike many of books dealing with the decision to intern Japanese Americans living on the West Coast less than three months after the attack at Pearl Harbor, Takahara's focus is a narrow one as die author concentrates on the Denver Post's approach to the internment, particularly in Colorado, and its probable effect on public opinion. The author notes the undisciplined West Coast media, and, of course, the DenverPosi, consistently fomented anti-Japanese sentiment that ultimately led to one of the most embarrassing episodes in American history, one for which the media can take no kudos.

Through stones, editorials, photographs, and cartoons, Takahara shows the reader that perhaps no newspaper, not even strong antiJapanese American stalwarts such as the San Oiego Union (which Takahara docs not mention by name), matched the Post in verbal vulgarity and racial slurs. His orderly and methodical approach illustrates for the reader how the Post's propaganda campaign against the Japanese American replicated its anti-Germanic propaganda in World War I. The author also provides the "why" behind the Posfs editorial approach-its objection to the Japanese Americans settling in Colorado-and its commitment to sensationalism for profit. …

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