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Max Lerner on:
The Kidnapping

Max Lerner Q: You mentioned the kidnapping. Tell me about that experience.

ML: The whole kidnapping episode was confusing for most of us. We felt the pathos of it for him and for his family. But the press was all astir, with story after story. And it was very hard, even for people like myself, who were part of the media culture, who were working in it. It was very hard for us to disentangle what actually happened.

Q: It was one of the first media events, wasn't it?

ML: It was as great media event. The tabloids reveled in it. But the respectable papers played it constantly. There were seven papers in New York, or something like that at that time. And you went from paper to paper, trying to see how they were playing up the story.

Q: What do you think it did to Lindbergh's feelings about America?

ML: It was a great trauma for him. I think the experience, in some ways, scared him of the public--not only of public exposure, but for him, the mysteries of public opinion. From that point on, I feel that he didn't really think he understood the mysteries of public opinion. And he felt adrift in that sea of public opinion.

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