The Allies had gone to extreme measures to protect the location of the invasion including planting fake documents, fake troop placements, and fake announcements. Germany did all it could to try to find out just where the Allies would land. One tactic was to falsely claim the invasion had begun hoping to fool the Allies into revealing the real location.
So it was no surprise that the news organizations were shy to jump on any announcement of a pending invasion. News reports included flash announcements which were deemed immediate and important information received; the other were bulletins which were also important but not deemed as immediate. On June 3rd there had been a flash announcement that the invasion was under way but within minutes the announcement was withdrawn as the source, the Associated Press, killed the story as false. When the first announcements started coming in the early morning of June 6, there were cautions attached to the bulletins. NBC reportedly came on the air with announcements around 12:41 AM EST after waiting at least 3 minutes from the time the AP bulletin was received. The music of Harry James and his Orchestra was broadcasting over WOR (Mutual) from the Hotel Astor in New York. Kitty Kallen had just begun singing ironically "In Times Like These" when her song was interrupted right after 12:45 AM for a bulletin. Ned Calmer with CBS broadcast the bulletin around 12:48 AM. CBS waited until a second source, the Independent News Service, also released a bulletin.
Later repeats of the bulletins appeared over both networks. Irwin Darlington with CBS broadcast the bulletin while over at NBC this bulletin was heard. CBS reporter Darlington was very cautionary in his bulletin announcement reminding listeners of Winston Churchill's warnings of Allied feints and the expected invasion story from the Germans. He also carefully identifies where the information is coming from as well as the actual quotes. They also provide reports from the German DNB and German radio broadcasts.
NBC's bulletin was very formal and straight-forward with little warning that the information could be false. Later cautions came from the summary of news reports they broadcast later.
In a summary that helps one understand how the networks were skittish about broadcasting false information you can hear this explanation from CBS' Robert Trout. Note constant use of words like "claims," "supposed" and warning conditionals among his comments. NBC, on the other hand was more formal, but Richard Harkness also adds his cautions reminding listeners that the reports are from the Nazi propaganda machines and also reminding us when a report is part of a quote.Back to D-Day Home Page