Sacco and Vanzetti Guilty, NPR Finally Notices
But now National Public Radio has noticed a major historical find: a document that shows that leftist author and “muckraker” Upton Sinclair knew that anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were guilty, but failed to ever say that because he feared for his standing among leftist intellectuals.
Sinclair biographer Tony Arthur admits that this was an ethical lapse, but says that Sinclair believed that the “larger truth” — the notion that American was a repressive society — justified letting people believe that they were unjustly convicted.
Arthur admits that Sinclair had a similar “ethical lapse” in the late 1930s and early 1940s, when he was slow to criticize Stalin.
All of which should serve as a warning about people who believe they are on the right side of history, and therefore can lie about smaller truths in the service of a “larger truth.”