1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Request Professional Opinions on How Gov's Family Tie was "missed"?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by host, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. host

    host Member

    I came across this by starting with an inquiry on the members of the Jupiter Island, FL community, their relationships, and descendants. Without looking for it, I found that the son, Sam F. Pryor Jr., of the man who purchased the Island, circa 1930, was cited in several books as the "Willkie for president, 1940" eastern campaign manager, who introduced William Rhodes Davis, to Wendell Willkie.

    My curiousity about who this William Davis's descendants might be, led me to find the information I've posted in this Wiki update:

    My question for professional journalists is...how do you think this background info of the twice elected governor of the country's most populous state, go completely unreported by the press? Considering that Gray Davis's third campaign, the 2003 recall vote, included an opponent who admitted to a father and grandfather who were Nazi party members, could the story of who Davis's grandfather was, have escaped both the entire press and blogger community, and the well known, republican party opposition research operation, just by happenstance, even with Davis's own, presumed, ongoing, conscious effort to keep the information under wraps?

    Is it just me, or is it also difficult for you to fathom that this was left for me to discover, details about the family background of a politician with 30 years in California executive office, politics? Also, what are the odds of two major party 2003 recall candidates having grandfathers documented as strong supporters of Nazi Germany?
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Interesting. Have you gone to the source (i.e. contacted Gray Davis' office for comment)?

    If you're willing to put in the work searching the archives and genealogy, and you feel comfortable drawing these conclusions and publishing them because you happen to have a platform for it, what's stopping you from making an attempt to contact him? Give him a chance to confirm, deny, refute or explain.

    That's the right thing to do. Stand by your work.
  3. host

    host Member

    I'm just a curious layperson and left wing oriented, political cynic, with time on his hands and a penchant for pushing the internet search features that Google has to offer. By documenting the new information I found about Gray Davis's family background on his Wikipedia bio, I assumed that "the process" of illiciting reaction from Gov. Davis himself, would come from whoever is so thoroughly building/maintaining his Wiki biography.

    I sent an email to the nephew of WJ Cash, requesting his input into what I had uncovered, since he is a California attorney and has posted this info about William Rhodes Davis on his WJ Cash Foundation, website:
    (Click Link in first search result)
    ....but so far, and it has been a few days of waiting, he has not replied.

    I also didn't think it was necessary to contact Gray Davis for confirmation, because I was satisfied that the supporting information for who his grandfather was, is, IMO, bullet proof:

  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I read your "diaries." You don't need to post all the sources here, thanks. It's all available on your posts there.

    Here's my question: Why are you asking us -- and asking your readers -- why Gray Davis hasn't been asked about this? If you're so sure it's "bulletproof" true ... and I certainly haven't done enough research to say it is or it's not ... then what's stopping you from asking him how he feels about it? You have as much access to him as I do. Doesn't matter whether you're a professional journalist or a "left-wing oriented layperson." If you're going to make the accusations, then it's your responsibility to at least attempt to ask the questions, too.

    And yes, it's absolutely "necessary" to ask him about it, because you haven't proven anything ... other than the fact that you know how to use Google search. Especially if your main concern is why it was never discussed when he was politically active. Otherwise, what's your point in posting the information? Why did you post it without making any attempt to find other sources? If this were journalism, an editor would tell you to "get some harder information next time." [/bradlee]

    Sorry, you don't get to hide behind an Internet search of contemporary articles as "bullet proof" confirmation that the man's grandfather was a Nazi sympathizer. That's some heavy stuff. So, ask the question and give the man a chance to answer. Talk to people. Talk to sources, especially first-hand sources. Learn the context for the articles you found, which is going to take a lot longer than just a few looks through the NYT and Time archives. That takes some serious chops for history and investigation and, yes, journalistic practices. None of which you've "proven" ... yet.

    Otherwise, it's bullshit cowardice to make an accusation like that based on contemporary articles without any context and then shirk behind the excuse, "I'm just a curious layperson." Very, very cowardly.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I can understand why Arnold didn't bring it up, but you would have thought some oppo guru would have thrown it on the fire at some point in Davis' career. You'd think Davis himself might have made the admission himself. Haven't found out the "disclosure" of July 20th.
    The way Bush's grandpappy gets thrown around by the left, it is a bit of a surprise.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Call me cynical, but I'm not quite ready to be convinced that host's 12 sources he found on an Internet search constitutes iron-clad "proof" that Davis' grandfather was any more of a Nazi sympathizer than, say, Lindbergh.

    I've used more sources on a single page of a term paper -- and it didn't even get me an A. :D

    Pretty weak case he's presented, IMO. And this is before we get into the ethics of making an accusation like that on such flimsy "proof," and without the stones to confront the accused's family members or interview anyone who even knew the guy.
  7. host

    host Member

    buckweaver, I added more info to my last post, I don't know if you read it. I'm not assuming it would influence any change in your last reply. I reacted to what I had discovered by assuming that Gray Davis has worked to keep it hidden...worked at it for a long time. It has also, if my assumption is correct, left him potentially vulnerable to blackmail, even if it is an obligation to pay in the form of some sort of political quid pro quo.

    I agree that, even if I'm correct, it doesn't let me off the hook. My core excuse is that I am not a journalist, and it's not, influenced by your persuasive argument, a very good excuse. My other assumptions are that the political press corp covering Gov. Davis closely, must have a hand in keeping this from the public, or be suprisingly incurious. I think I know why the political opposition has also gone along with keeping quiet. William R. Davis was accused of making payments to the 1940 Willkie campaing, at the direction of Hermann Goring, with funds controlled by the German embassy in DC, sourced from the estates of deceased German nationals residing in the US.

    I think that political friends and foes of Gov. Davis were in agreement that it was not in their interests to look at or talk about this family tie. I'm hoping that the Sacramento press corps was not a willing participant in withholding or in looking the other way. It is all the more curious that Maria Schriver, a longtime TV journalist, would not know about this, independently, but it seems likely that her husband was instructed to, and agreed to, sit there and take it, as far as enduring the impact of reporting about Nazi matters, solely directed at him.

    Not anticipating your reaction, or having a full sense of my obligation to "do this right"...and fairly, buckweaver, I brought this here, to this forum, because I genuinely want your, and other forum members take on it, and I'm getting it.

    On edit, just read your last post....what do you see that could possibly break the familial link between Gray and William Rhodes Davis? Could Davis's mother be a different Doris Meyer, married to a different Joseph Graham Davis, who had a different Currie Boyd Davis as his brother and best man at his wedding? Could it be a different William Rhodes Davis, deceased on or about Aug. 1, 1941?

    Besides the fact that WR Davis built and operated the largest oil refinery in Germany, presumably with Hitler's permission, and managed to evade the British naval embargo of crude oil shipments to Germany
    to maintain a steady supply of refined products flowing from Hamburg, he was the subject of this 1999 book,
    "Mystery Man: William Rhodes Davis, Nazi Agent of Influence." by DALE HARRINGTON

    ....and was verified in independent interrogations of three former Nazi top officials in Nurmeberg in 1946 by asst. US Atty General O. John Rogge, to have been working for the Nazi regime to help Willkie beat FDR in the 1940 presidential race. A recent book by Thomas E. Mahl claimed the opposite,
    ....claimed that Willkie was Britain's candidate, and, with no supporting information, claimed that Sam Pryor Jr. was a British Intel agent. Mahl did not mention WR Davis in his book.

    Dark Horse: A Biography of Wendell Willkie - Page 171
    by Steve Neal - Biography & Autobiography - 1984 - 371 pages
    After the election, it was learned that William Rhodes Davis, ... Willkie told
    Marquis Childs that he had never heard of Davis until Pryor told him about

    Link to view Marquis Childs' 1946 newspaper column, supporting Nuremberg interrogation information:

    Ironically, Charles Lindbergh accepted a gift of five acres on Maui from Sam F. Pryor Jr., and the two are buried in a cemetery there, "yards apart". You seem to be of a strong opinion that Lindbergh was not a strong supporter of Nazi Germany, for far too long, and I am not so convinced of that.
  8. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Sorry host, but you've "proved" nothing.

    The internet is where research begins, not where it ends.

    Here are some pictures I found on the internet of Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh being awarded the Cross of the Order of the German Eagle. Does that make them "Nazi agents?"



    Many American businesses continued to flourish - either directly or by proxy, through their international divisions and partnerships - in Germany through the entirety of the Second World War. Profiteering in time of war was, and remains, commonplace.

    That WR Davis died five months before war was officially declared on Germany weakens your weak case further still.
  9. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I have no problem with host asking a bunch of journalists if they have ever asked Gray Davis about this, and if not, having him ask why not.

    Whether this stuff is necessarily proof, or not, questions, at least, would seem to be in order. Or, they might have been, anyway, back when Davis actually was the governor.
  10. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Why are the actions of relatives two generations removed, done while the individual was an infant, an issue at all? None of us are our fathers, none of us are our grandfathers. They did what they felt was right or profitable, and we have to do the same in today's world. Who cares? It affects nothing of Gray Davis as a governor or person.

    And: If host isn't a journalist, it's not his responsibility to confront the Davis family or spokespeople.

    "Gray Davis' office."

    "Hello, may I speak with Gray Davis?"

    "Who is calling?"

    "Just some random geek with no media affiliation. But I'd like to ask him some questions."

    "About what?"

    "The rumors that he had an ancestor who was a Nazi."

    "I . . .see. Well sir, we are not in the habit of allowing random people not connected with any media or charitable organization speak to Mr. Davis. You can try to make an appointment. Bye now."

  11. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    "President Bush, was your grandfather a Nazi collaborator? Did he lie about his service in World War I? I found this on Wikipedia....."

    Alternating between intelligence and artillery, Bush came under fire in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In what became a controversy, Bush wrote home about receiving medals for heroic exploits, and his letters were later published in Columbus newspapers. However, Bush retracted statements made in his letters a few weeks later when it was revealed that he, in fact, had not received such medals. The retraction was made in a cable in which Bush stated that his earlier letter had been written "in a spirit of fun" and was not intended for publication.


    Business links with Fritz Thyssen

    Harriman Bank was the main Wall Street partner for several German companies and the varied U.S. financial interests of Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen had been an early financial backer of the Nazi party, but by 1939 was bitterly denouncing Hitler and had fled Germany. He was later jailed by the Nazis for his opposition to the Nazi regime. Business transactions with Germany were not illegal until Hitler declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941, but, six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Trading With the Enemy Act after it had been made public that U.S. companies were doing business with the declared enemy of the United States. On October 20, 1942, the U.S. government ordered the seizure of German banking operations in New York City. Roosevelt's Alien Property Custodian, Leo T. Crowley, signed Vesting Order Number 248 seizing property under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The order cited only the Union Banking Corporation (UBC), of which Bush was a director and held only one share. Fox News has reports on recently declassified material about this issue, according to a document signed by Homer Jones, chief of the division of investigation and research of the Office of Alien Property Custodian, a World War II-era agency.By 1941 Thyssen no longer had control over his business empire, which was in the hands of the Nazi government.

  12. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    It's pretty much just you.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page