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5 Myths About Henry Ford


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He Didn't Read His Own Newspaper ...
Ford's supporters claim that Ford really had no idea how offensive his viewpoints and statements were to the people around him. (Courtesy of the Ford Motor Company)
Ford's supporters claim that Ford really had no idea how offensive his viewpoints and statements were to the people around him. (Courtesy of the Ford Motor Company)

... and he had no idea what it was saying.

Henry Ford maintained ties with Adolf Hitler, frequently said horrendously offensive things, and even published a newspaper called the "Dearborn Independent," that was full of anti-Jewish hate speech. For years, historians and Ford supporters claimed that Henry Ford was not involved in the day-to-day business of running the newspaper and rarely actually read it; therefore, he could not be held responsible for what it published. Furthermore, some of Ford's supporters went so far as to claim that Ford really had no idea how offensive his viewpoints and statements were to the people around him [source: Woeste]. This myth, based on a fabricated quote by unethical historians, persisted even after it was debunked. Ford was sued for libel, and researchers have found lawyers' records from the case, which show that Ford ordered the paper to stop writing and publishing inflammatory content in 1922, and to start back up in 1924. The case never went to trial because Ford staged a car accident to avoid having to go to court.

Henry Ford may have manipulated his way out of testifying, but there's no way he's off the hook for the anti-Semitic content in the "Dearborn Independent."


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