A fervor builds

The fear of so-called "fifth columnists," perceived enemy agents operating within the United States, media began to rationalize the idea of internment, leading to the removal of "enemy aliens".

The order to go

After the Department of Justice ordered the removal enemy aliens and before Executive Order 9066 was signed, media outlets were in full agreement with the removal of persons of Japanese descent.

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Media representations of Japanese and Japanese Americans in Southern California in the days leading up to and following the attack on Pearl Harbor were on both sides of the issue.

While some outlets were breeding suspicion almost immediately after the attack, there is evidence that the internment sentiment took time to build.

A call for calm

Not all media outlets were calling persons of Japanese descent enemies immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Particularly, two newspapers in the San Diego area - the San Diego Union and the Escondido Daily Times-Advocate - did not rush to judgment on persons of Japanese descent at the outbreak of the war.

In fact, a little more than a week before the attack,
on Nov. 29, Rear Admiral Charles A. Blakely made a plea for "understanding in on behalf of American resident of Japanese ancestry" in an article published in the Union. 1

Blakely goes on to say "the second generation Japanese or Nisei citizen has a definite place in our social structure and we, as Americans, will be derelict in our duty to America if we fail to acknowledge this position and fail to assist these people in their ambition to be true Americans." 2

Blakely's sentiment is echoed in an editorial in the Daily Times-Advocate published a day after Pearl Harbor on
Dec. 8: 3

A subsequent editorial in the Daily Times-Advocate on
Dec. 17 reinforced the idea that the Japanese and Japanese American population in Southern California was of no threat to the security of the country: 4

There were reports citing how Nisei could provide assistance to the U.S. cause, as evident in this Dec. 13 article printed in the Union. 5

Even still, while some in the military and media were not calling for immediate removal, some already were on the bandwagon.

The Los Angeles Times reported in an editorial on Dec. 8 that California was on the frontline of possible enemy meanderings. It called on citizens to keep an eye out for Japanese "spies, saboteurs and fifth columnists" working within the coast. 6

With a larger readership and a more influential political base, it is easy to see how the Times' voice would resonant louder than the Union and the Daily Times-Advocate.