Header Graphic




MARCH 12, 2001



Jane Fonda's recent announcement that she was writing her autobiography for publication next year offered yet another opportunity for her apologists to minimize Fonda's July 1972 pilgrimage to North Vietnam.


That opportunity was seized by Fox News' Roger Friedman. On the Fox News website, Friedman wrote that in Fonda's forthcoming autobiography we should "[e]xpect to see a discussion of her Vietnam experience." Friedman's characterization of Fonda's propagandizing for America's Communist enemies during a shooting war as a mere "experience," rather than as the reprehensible act it was, set the stage for his last paragraph: "This reporter knows that every time Fonda's name has appeared here, we have been inundated with 'Hanoi Jane emails. Instead of pushing that button at the bottom of this page, think for a minute about the incredible body of work Fonda created as an actress . . . the good she's done to help people around the world, and whether you ever said or did anything in your youth which you regret now."


Translation: Despite what Fonda did in North Vietnam she was a successful actress (a classic non sequitur), she's helped unnamed people in unnamed ways in unnamed places (surely not American POWs at the Hanoi Hilton), she was a mere "youth" (35 years old) when she went to North Vietnam, and, presumably, she regrets what she did there (see my essay of February 9, 2001, above, concerning Fonda's alleged contrition).


It's not surprising that with an apology like this, lots of people "push[ed] that button at the bottom of this page." Apparently so many that three days later Friedman was back with more apology. He made several statements that need refuting.


1. Again minimizing Fonda's conduct in North Vietnam, Friedman wrote that her "posing for photos on tanks, etc." was "in error." Whatever this mild chastisement is supposed to mean, Fonda sitting gleefully in the shooter's chair of a AAA gun used to down American planes, taking a bead on an imaginary aircraft while surrounded by smiling North Vietnam soldiers, was no mere "error." It was a conscious, deliberate act intended to provide - and did - worldwide propaganda images for her North Vi etnamese hosts. So, too, were the pictures she allowed to be taken with American POWs, which Friedman characterizes as "regrettable." Indeed they were, having been circulated around the world.

2. Friedman quotes one "Cora Weiss - a fringe anti-war activist who organized trips to Hanoi in those days - [who] said in a previously published interview: 'We asked Jane if she wanted to meet American POW pilots and she declined.'" Yet Friedman also writes that "Fonda did go to Hanoi [and] participated in a staged press conference with American POWs. . . ." Perhaps whether Fonda met with POWs depended on who was asking, since there is no question that she met with seven of them. "Aid And Comfort" discusses this meeting.


3. As to Fonda's broadcasts, Friedman suggests that there was only one. Although in one place he refers to "[h]er main speech," elsewhere Friedman refers to "her famous radio broadcast" (singular) and "her famous speech" (singular), which he purports to reproduce. The fact is that there were at least six live broadcasts, from which tapes were made. All of them are in my book, verbatim.


4. According to Friedman, who somehow has an insight into what the North Vietnamese thought in July 1972, "it's not like the North Vietnamese took [Fonda] seriously." Not much! They only organized her trip; helped her evade U.S. passport rules; arranged for her broadcasts, tours, meetings and press conferences; laid on a platoon of international journalists to follow her around; and did everything t hey could to exploit her presence and activities. And, as I make very clear in "Aid And Comfort," they took her seriously enough to play the tapes of her broadcasts relentlessly in the POW compounds.


5. "Does she regret [her trip to Hanoi]?," Friedman asks himself. Of course, he answers, citing Fonda's 1988 appearance with Barbara Walters and the actress' alleged 2000 apology in Oprah's magazine. As I explained in my February 9, 2001, essay, above, Fonda is not sorry, and she never was.


6. Friedman concludes his apology for Fonda's conduct in Hanoi by asserting that the United States Congress House Committee on Internal Security "did not find Fonda to be in any way committing treason." My book devotes an entire Chapter to the Internal Security Committee's inquiry into Fonda's trip to North Vietnam, and this is not the place to address that subject. Suffice it to say, for the moment, that it was not the Committee's task to find or not find that Fonda committed treason. That was a legal question for the United States Department of Justice. How that question was answered - and, more importantly, why - is revealed in "Aid And Comfort."


Friedman used his two articles, supposedly about the announcement of Fonda's autobiography, as an opportunity gratuitously to step up to the plate and offer baseless apologies for Fonda's North Vietnam conduct which, as I show unarguably in "Aid And Comfort," could have visited upon her serious legal consequences.


You can help get the word out about Fonda apologist Friedman - and all the others like him - by telling everyone you know about HANOIJANE.NET.