The Press: Air-Marker Fraud

Last week TIME published a picture and story describing what the U.S. Army said was a plot by a rural fifth column to point out military objectives to enemy bombers by means of cunningly contrived ground markers. TIME erred. So did some 1,900 U.S. newspapers which accepted the story in good faith from Army press-relations officers. The story, though not a deliberate fake, revealed a fantastic miscarriage of information among Army airmen, brass hats and FBI. The facts:

The markers, which pointed suspiciously at airfields and factories along the eastern seaboard, were photographed early...