Simanaitis Says

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DESPITE PRESIDENTIAL carping to the contrary, I trust the Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg, and even a “failing” newspaper like The New York Times, or “Jeff Bezos’s” The Washington Post.

Reading AP at the beginning of a news report gives credence to its content, just as BS might well preface commentary from the likes of Breitbart, Enquirer, INFOWARS and, at the other end of the political spectrum, Occupy Democrats, Natural News, and patribotics.

Yes, my little one. This is why teachers work so hard teaching us how to read with discernment.

A recent episode on SiriusXM Satellite “Radio Classics” shared early tales of the Associated Press. This in turn encouraged some Internet sleuthing on my part. Here are tidbits, several gleaned from SiriusXM’s “Behind the Mike,” “The Associated Press,” dating from June 29, 1941. As a fascinating time capsule from 1941, this program concludes with an actual NBC/AP news report.

The AP story here at SimanaitisSays calls for two parts, today and tomorrow.

The Associated Press is an American multinational nonprofit news agency headquartered in New York City. It was formed in May 1846 by five daily newspapers in New York City. One reason was self-preservation: Four years before, Samuel Morse had sent “What Hath God Wrought” telegraphically, and subsequently fledgeling telegraph companies were thinking of setting up monopolistic news sources of their own.

Saved by the flag. Indeed, in 1848 telegraphy led to a snafu of the original NYAP (New York Associated Press). At the time, the telegraph line from Philadelphia ended in Jersey City, New Jersey; crossing the Hudson was to come only later.

This gap was a problem for New York City newspapers because the Whig National Convention was taking place in Philadelphia, its candidates including Major General Zachary Taylor, Senator Henry Clay, General Winfield Scott, and Supreme Court Justice John McLean.

To effect communication between Jersey City and Manhattan, the AP ginned up a flag code: White flag for Taylor, red for Clay, two whites for Scott, and two reds for McLean.

Zachary Taylor, 1784–1850, American military hero, 12th President of the United States, the first elected president having held no previous political office.

The AP guy on Manhattan watched the opposite shore. A single white flag from Jersey City! Taylor had won the nomination!

Uh, no. The white flag was actually a stock broker’s in New Jersey signaling a price quote to his colleague across the river.

Fortunately, though, Taylor was nominated the next day.

Integrity of the NYAP was preserved, after a fashion. Tomorrow, we’ll see the AP deal with the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho; a premature ending to World War I; and three kisses from Sarah Bernhardt.

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. Michael Rubin
    November 18, 2017

    Thanks Dennis. I consider Associated Press my alma mater after a decade with AP. Best training ever.

  2. jlalbrecht64
    November 19, 2017

    I can’t give a “like” for the AP. Historically, maybe. However, the AP called the 2016 Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton THE DAY BEFORE six primaries, including California, had taken place and more than a month before any superdelegates would vote. That was an act of journalistic malpractice of the highest order. Shameful. Unprecedented.

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