Readers Note: This in an update of a post I first published shortly after D-Day, 2005.
The D-Day anniversary reminded us of how much we owe all the men and women who made our victory in WW II possible.
It also led me to consider how today's news organizations might have reported on the invasion.
What follows is satire, but all historical references are accurate.
Now here’s ABC’s Good Morning America – June 8, 1944
Charles Gibson: “We begin this morning with the war news, including reports of a serious split in the ranks of Allied military leaders.
When we first reported the D-Day invasion, we believed American and British military leaders had agreed on the invasion plan. Now we hear that was not the case.
First to Linda Douglas at the War Department.
Linda, any truth to what we're hearing?"
Douglas: “There certainly is, Charles. My source, who must remain anonymous, says Eisenhower’s air chief, Leigh-Mallory, strongly opposed the plan to drop paratroops into Normandy, fearing they couldn’t achieve their objectives and would suffer massive casualties.
Eisenhower, who's not an airman and has no experience commanding paratroops, went against Leigh-Mallory’s advice and ordered the drop anyway.
While we're being told the paratroops achieved their objectives, even Ike’s headquarters is admitting a lot of lives were lost.
Gibson: “Linda, any word yet who will replace Eisenhower?”
Gibson “Well, do we at least know when he'll be replaced?”
Douglas: “I’m afraid that might not be soon, Charles. Ike’s boss, General Marshall, is solidly behind him.”
Gibson: “That’s really not too surprising, since Eisenhower is a Marshall protégé. Well, thank you, Linda.
That evening on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams ---
Williams: Next, we go to our chief White House correspondent, David Gregory.
David, I'm a little puzzled as to why President Roosevelt has said nothing about this major split in Allied leadership? He spoke to the nation on D-Day but made no mention of it.”
Gregory: “That’s right, Brian. And he’s still said nothing.
And I’ve got to tell you that from where I’m standing here on the White House lawn that looks like a really huge blunder.”
Williams: “Why is that, David?”
Gregory: “Because it makes you wonder if Roosevelt really knows what’s going on in Normandy.”
Williams: “Indeed, David. NBC will continue to follow this story.
For an example of actual D-Day news reporting, here's part of a report Ernie Pyle, later killed by enemy fire in the Pacific, wrote on Omaha Beach on June 7, 1944:
In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.Pyle titled his report "And Yet We Got On." You can read it here.
You can still see the foxholes they dug at the very edge of the water, in the sand and the small, jumbled rocks that form part of the beach.
Medical corpsmen attended the wounded as best they could. Men were killed as they stepped out of landing craft. An officer whom I knew got a bullet through the head just as the door of his landing craft was let down. Some men were drowned.
Our men were pinned down for a while, but finally they stood up and want through, and so we took that beach and accomplished our landing. We did it with every advantage on the enemy's side and every disadvantage on ours.