Wizbang points out another hoax perpetrated by the Associated Press. AP reporter Roland Prinz has attacked Arnold Schwarzenegger’s convention speech as historically inaccurate. Prinz cited two alleged inaccuracies; the first was Arnold’s claim to have seen Soviet tanks in the streets of Austria when he was a boy.
Prinz quotes an Austrian historian:
“It’s a fact — as a child he could not have seen a Soviet tank in Styria,” the southeastern province where Schwarzenegger was born and raised, historian Stefan Karner told the Vienna newspaper Kurier.
Schwarzenegger, now a naturalized U.S. citizen, was born on July 30, 1947, when Styria and the neighboring province of Carinthia belonged to the British zone. The Soviets already had left Styria in July 1945, less than three months after the end of the war, Karner noted.
This criticism is absurd. Arnold didn’t say that he saw Soviet troops in Styria; on the contrary, he made it clear that he was talking about the Soviet zone:
When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector.
So what’s the point? There isn’t any. What Arnold said was precisely accurate.
Some versions of the AP article, like this one on CNN, at least include a quote from Arnold’s spokeswoman to the effect that Arnold never said the tanks were in his home town, and he referred to the Soviet sector. This is a bit odd, since anyone who read Arnold’s actual words would realize that the AP story isn’t a story, and it is hard to understand how a news organization like CNN can run an article like this one without spending two minutes to determine whether there is any story there or not.
Worse yet are the many news outlets that ran the AP story, but without the explanation from Schwarzenegger’s spokeswoman. See, for example, the Guardian’s version of the article. This Wisconsin television station headlines its story: “Schwarzenegger Ridiculed For Falsehoods In Speech.” But, amazingly enough, the station actually prints the relevant portions of Schwarzenegger’s speech immediately after the truncated AP story. Apparently no one read the speech, and compared it to what was said by the Austrian historian.
The second inaccuracy alleged by the AP is Arnold’s characterization of Austria as a “socialist” country. Prinz points out that: “Austria was governed by coalition governments, including the conservative People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party. Between 1945 and 1970, all the nation’s chancellors were conservatives — not Socialists.”
Of course, Arnold did not say that the chancellor of Austria was a member of the Socialist Party. As his audience clearly understood, he was talking about a government-dominated economy of the sort that prevailed over most if not all of western Europe in the post-war years. The fact that Austria’s Chancellors came from the “conservative” People’s Party does not invalidate Arnold’s point.
Here is how the U.S. State Department describes Austria’s economy during the relevant time:
Austria has a well-developed social market economy with a high standard of living in which the government has played an important role. The government nationalized many of the country’s largest firms in the early post-war period to protect them from Soviet takeover as war reparations. For many years, the government and its state-owned industries conglomerate played a very important role in the Austrian economy. However, starting in the early 1990s, the group broke apart, state-owned firms started to operate largely as private businesses, and the government wholly or partially privatized many of these firms.
Which is, of course, exacctly what Arnold was talking about. It is also worth noting that three years before Schwarzenegger left Austria, the “conservative” People’s Party, which had for some years governed in coalition with the Socialist Party, took a sharp swing to the left:
After much debate, in 1965 the [People’s] party adopted the Klagenfurt Manifesto, which referred to the