Suppose we had had television at the beginning of World War II. Would the Nazis have appeared different to us?
"Tommy, this is Joan. I'm standing in front of Hitler's bunker in Berlin hoping to get a few words from him on why his army walked into the Sudetenland."
"Joanie, can we count on Hitler for the evening news?"
"Not so far. All the Germans are offering us is Joseph Goebbels, but everyone here says that the guy is lacking in credibility."
"Joanie, I don't want Goebbels. He bombed out on the 'Today' show last week, and he doesn't answer questions -- he makes speeches."
"Albert Speer is in makeup if you want him."
"I want Hitler. Adolf Hitler with a big 'A.' The guy was on Ted Koppel last night. He owes us."
"Tommy, I heard that Hitler is willing to do it, but members of his kitchen cabinet have promised him to CBS. They said they would give us Hermann Goering, wearing all his medals. I didn't say no because Goering hasn't been on television in a week. Tommy, while I was standing here, Heinrich Himmler of the notorious SS went by and indicated that he might do a one-on-one with Hugh Downs on '20/20.' Are we interested?"
"I want Hitler, not Himmler, Joanie. Adolf was on Connie Chung last week telling his side of the war. Why can't we get him for five minutes?"
"Hitler doesn't do five minutes. He's asked for two full hours to explain why he plans to goose-step into Austria."
"We're giving him the opportunity of his life. What other mad, bloodthirsty dictator has a chance to make his case on Sam Donaldson to the American people?"
"It's a good point, but Hitler is mad at U.S. television ever since Dan Rather stuck a microphone up his nose and called him a psychopathic screwball."
"Dan Rather doesn't work for us. We're almost at war, and we're going to have egg on our faces if we are the only network not to have interviewed the Fuehrer. Don't you see, Joanie? No one knows what evil is until they see the little Austrian rat on television. Tell Hitler we'll let him tell his side of the story about why he intends to go into Poland -- with no editing on our part."
"I'll try, Tommy, but won't we catch hell with the American public for that?"
"Probably, but we'll also get the ratings."
"Tommy, if we can get Hitler, don't you think that we're obliged to have Roosevelt on as well?"
"I know the Nazis and they won't go for it. As a matter of fact, Roosevelt is asking for equal time on German TV to balance the air time Hitler got in the States."
"That will make good television. By the way, Tommy, there's a guy in the German SS named Adolf Eichmann who wants to go on 'Good Morning America' and say that he is only following orders."
"Everyone in the SS claims to have an alibi. There is only one person to speak for Germany, and that's the big H himself. You tell him that if he doesn't go on tonight at 7 o'clock, he'll never be invited on with Tom Brokaw again."
"I'll try, but it's hard for an American to get through to Hitler's inner sanctum ever since Jesse Jackson came over and started passing himself off as a journalist."
Tommy said, "You can do it, Joanie."
Joanie responded, "While I've got you on the line, the Italian Ministry of Propaganda is offering an interview with Benito Mussolini. They're talking about him becoming 'Person of the Week.' "
"Refer him to Geraldo Rivera. He specializes in windbags on the right. Tell Hitler if he goes on our show, we'll pay his way over on Pan Am, put him up for three days at the Waldorf-Astoria and get him two tickets to the Max Schmeling-Joe Louis fight."