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The Goebbels Award For Outstanding Use of Media for Propaganda Disguised As Fact -- Honolulu Star-Bulletin Wednesday April 23 2008, page 2 (The newspaper falsely stated that President Grover Cleveland signed a proclamation in 1894 that set April 30th as a day of prayer and remembrance for Queen Liliuokalani and the overthrown monarchy of Hawaii; and the newspaper refused to publish a correction despite being given proof of falsehood).


The Goebbels is a newly established award especially for mainstream news media in Hawaii. Some big celebrities have a single name, like Madonna. Media awards often have a single name, like the Oscar, the Emmy, the Grammy, and the Pulitzer.

In this case the award is named in (dis)honor of Joseph Goebbels, who was propaganda minister for Adolph Hitler. He was known for using the media to tell small lies repeatedly until people came to believe them; and for telling big lies that were so outrageous, with such authoritativeness, that nobody dared to challenge them. The lies told by Goebbels, presented as facts, usually concerned governmental policy and often were directed in favor or disfavor of selected racial groups. Thus his name is especially appropriate for use in Hawaii.

The icon for the Goebbels is, appropriately, a pile of steaming crap.

In Hawaii, mainstream media often publish Hawaiian sovereignty propaganda. If they publish propaganda clearly labeled as an editorial, they certainly have a right to do that. But publishing propaganda disguised as a news report violates commonly accepted standards of journalistic ethics.

Sometimes newspapers make mistakes. If a newspaper publishes an allegedly factual statement that is false, it is expected to publish a correction as soon as possible after being informed of the error. But in Hawaii some mainstream media publish a falsehood as fact, and then refuse to correct the error even after being provided with indisputable evidence that it is false. Perhaps the editors were aware all along that it was a lie.


On Wednesday April 23, 2008 the Honolulu Star-Bulletin published on page 2 of its front "news" section a collection of three photos with captions, which occupied a space 9 inches wide and 10 inches tall, compact and vertically centered, occupying perhaps 3/4 of the entire page. The largest photo shows a man dressed in black with a red kihei, in front of the chapel at Mauna Ala (Royal Mausoleum), arms upraised in prayer. That photo has a caption of three sentences: "Manu Mook lifted his hands skyward at the beginning of the Chapel Service at Mauna Ala for a prayer event for the upcoming Hawaiian Restoration Day on April 30. President Grover Cleveland signed a proclamation in 1894 that set April 30th as a day of prayer and remembrance for Queen Liliuokalani and the overthrown monarchy of Hawaii. The event at Mauna Ala was organized by the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center."

Here's the Star-Bulletin feature:

The longest of the three sentences, in the middle, is totally and indisputably false (see below for evidence). The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has known for two years that it is false. A strongly-worded letter of protest, providing proof of error and demanding a correction, was sent that same evening by e-mail to 9 Star-Bulletin mailboxes including editors Frank Bridgewater and Mary Poole, to the photographer, and to "corrections." No correction was published, although other corrections of other errors made on later days have been published. There was not even a reply from any of the 9 recipients to acknowledge the protest.

It's bad enough when a mainstream newspaper publishes a lie as fact. It's far worse when that newspaper has known about the fasehood for two years, is reminded again about the falsehood and is provided with indisputable proof, and then the newspaper nevertheless refuses to publish any correction. The arrogance of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, together with its willingness to serve as an accomplice to historical malpractice and to the evils of ethnic nationalism, make it deserving of being the recipient of the first Goebbels Award For Outstanding Use of Media for Propaganda Disguised As Fact.

Here's a summary of what happened from 2006 to now. Webpages providing the evidence are at the end.

In April 2006 Reverend Kaleo Patterson knowingly used a fake Grover Cleveland proclamation from 1894, cited it as fact, and used it as basis for a media blitz calling for a national day of prayer for restoration of Native Hawaiians and repentance for overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. He and his fellow secessionists made a trip to New Jersey to visit and place lei at the birthplace and tomb of Grover Cleveland, accompanied by media hoopla. He went through with the propaganda circus despite having been notified beforehand that the alleged proclamation was sarcasm and not real. A "news article" reporting the fake proclamation as fact was distributed by Associated Press and published by dozens of newspapers including the Star-Bulletin. A lengthy webpage was published documenting the lie, and also a commentary in Hawaii Reporter online newspaper. In 2007 Patterson pushed a resolution through both chambers of the Legislature declaring April 30 as Hawaiian Restoration Day for that year and forevermore -- the Legislature, eager to please Hawaiian activists, passed the resolution despite testimony showing the alleged Presidential Proclamation was a fake and despite testimony showing that Patterson knew it was a fake (only three Legislators, all Republicans, had enough courage to vote against the resolution). Patterson then repeated his mainland propaganda circus in 2007, and is planning to repeat it again in 2008, as the Star-Bulletin page 2 photo collection shows.


The simple truth is that President Grover Cleveland never issued the proclamation described in the Star-Bulletin "news report." A fake proclamation was published by a New York newspaper hostile to President Cleveland, as a form of sarcasm directed against him. A flyer produced in March 2008 clearly shows the fake proclamation cited by Star-Bulletin, on the same page of the February 27, 1894 New York Sun as another sarcastic editorial in which Cleveland issued a "special message" calling for the U.S. Senate to be abolished and its powers given to the President. The reason for all this sarcasm is that these editorials were published the day after the Morgan Report was made public -- the 808-page report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs which investigated the revolution that overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy, and which ripped to shreds the report previously issued by Cleveland's hatchet-man Blount. Grover Cleveland had done everything he could to destabilize the provisional Government and to restore the ex-queen; and he had sent a strongly-worded message to Congress blaming the revolution on the U.S. But the Morgan Report, filled with testimony under oath and cross-examination, proved that the U.S. was not responsible for the revolution and that the 162 U.S. peacekeepers did not conspire with the revolutionaries beforehand and did not give them any assistance during the revolution.

The webpage explains that for many years Hawaiian sovereignty zealots have cited the fake Grover Cleveland proclamation as being a real one. The state Legislature last year passed a resolution establishing April 30 as Hawaiian Restoration Day, despite the fact that they were informed about this hoax. Rev. Kaleo Patterson has persisted in his propaganda circus during 2007 and 2008 despite being informed in 2006 that this is a hoax.

If Hawaiian sovereignty zealots want to proclaim a national day of prayer for Hawaiian restoration (by which they actually mean secession) they certainly have the right to do so. If they want to use the date of April 30, based on incorrect reporting of a sarcastic fake proclamation that actually had Cleveland setting the date for prayer and mourning as April 1 (April Fools Day), they are welcome to pursue their foolishness. But if the Star-Bulletin wants to be treated as a serious newspaper and not merely a propaganda rag, then it must do a better job of fact-checking, and must correct the terrible lie reported as fact on 3/4 of page 2 of Wednesday April 23, 2008.

A lengthy exposee of this historical fraud was published in Hawaii Reporter of April 29, 2006; and the webpage mentioned above includes a record of e-mail correspondence in which Kaleo Patterson was informed of the hoax. So there's really no excuse for the perpetrators of the hoax, or the news media, to claim ignorance of its falsity.


The Star-Bulletin feature of April 23, 2008, which earned the Goebbels award:

Webpage first posted in April 2006 and improved in light of subsequent events: "Twisting History -- Reverend Kaleo Patterson knowingly uses fake Grover Cleveland proclamation from 1894, cites it as fact, and uses it as basis for a media blitz calling for a national day of prayer for restoration of Native Hawaiians and repentance for overthrow of monarchy. Patterson pushes resolution through Hawaii legislature citing joke proclamation as real." Webpage includes e-mail exchange in which Patterson is informed the Cleveland proclamation is fake and nevertheless chooses to embark on the 2006 propaganda circus.

Article exposing the hoax, published in Hawaii Reporter of April 23, 2006:

Multicolor flyer ridiculing the hoax and providing phoographic proof that it is a hoax, made available in March 2008 and sent to all members of the Hawaii Legislature and to selected news media in Hawaii and on the mainland:

"The Rest of the Rest of the Story" describing the process whereby President Grover Cleveland changed his mind and stopped trying to undo the revolution of 1893, following the discrediting of the Blount Report by the Morgan Report, published at the end of February 1894.

The Morgan Report (U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1894)


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(c) Copyright 2008 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved