[2014. The offending list has since disappeared, incidentally.]
Sometimes you see something on the web that really bothers you. There was a time when you’d leave a comment, but comments sections are now sewers of hate and confusion and paranoia and worthless for anything but outrage and craziness. So instead you find out who’s in charge and send them an email, and more often than not the guy in charge reads it. So after seeing something I thought was totally wrong and unfair in an idiotic bit of clickbait on Answers.com, I emailed David Karandish, the CEO of Answers.com, and said this:
I know in the grand scheme of things it means nothing, but the answers.com piece 9 Notorious Traitors in History lists Iva Toguri D’Aquino aka Tokyo Rose in its sixth spot, between the fairly loathsome creatures Ezra Pound and Vidkun Quisling. Alas, it is a well known if tragic tale that D’Aquino was not only not a traitor but her treason trial was a travesty and she received a full presidential pardon in 1976. Even a cursory reading of her Wikipedia entry would have shown this, this paragraph in particular:
On January 15, 2006, the World War II Veterans Committee (sponsors of the Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C. and the National World War II Memorial, the newest monument on the National Mall, citing “her indomitable spirit, love of country, and the example of courage she has given her fellow Americans”, awarded Toguri its annual Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award. According to one biographer, Toguri found it the most memorable day of her life.
As I said, in the grand scheme it means nothing, and I understand the pressures of coming up with content and clickbait and just how ephemeral this all is anyway, but still a couple ten thousand people who read your site’s essay will learn, again, that Tokyo Rose was a traitor. There was a time when history a few generations old was the realm of scholars, but no more. Now it’s in the hands of interns and amateurs and smartasses.