Correction: use this Amazon link to order Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. Use “Search” to read 3 past posts on this blog about Amelia Earhart.
Jim Bohannon’s broadcast with Mike Campbell about Amelia Earhart last Friday night (March 8) was more of an ambush than an interview.
It was supposedly a discussion of Campbell’s new book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. The tome, heavily researched and documented, locates Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in Japanese captivity on the island of Saipan in 1937 and Earhart there perhaps even as late as 1944.
Bohannon could have had a dynamite discussion if he had asked Campbell a couple of key questions and let Campbell make the case for the presence of Earhart, her navigator and her airplane on Saipan. If Bohannon wanted to stir the show up, make it controversial, if he had a problem with Campbell’s research or conclusions, he could have challenged them once listeners understood the basic point Campbell was making.
Instead Bohannon admitted he had not even read the book and he did not seem interested in knowing what it contained. He wasted most of the hour acting more like a pugilist spoiling for a slugfest than a responsible fact-gatherer. From the beginning, he tried to keep Campbell off-balance–dancing around, pummeling him with “why?” questions before any “who, what, where, when, and how” had been established to ask “why?” about and then continuing to talk over Campbell’s attempts at answers.
In the second half, however, things got better. Campbell got in some solid punches–starting with the fact that three US flag officers, Adm. Nimitz and Marine Generals Graves Erskine and Alexander A. Vandegrift, told Fred Goerner [author, The Search for Amelia Earhart] that AE had been captured by the Japanese and died on Saipan.
“This shocked [Bohannon] somewhat,” Campbell wrote me afterwards, “and set a better tone for the second half hour. He couldn’t imagine how to undermine these three American heroes’ statements, and it gave me a good start in the second half hour.”
Campbell was also able to get across the fact that it was common knowledge on Saipan that Earhart’s navigator Fred Noonan was beheaded there and he named a Saipan resident who described secretly watching as Amelia Earhart was shot by the Japanese.
Asked about “artifacts,” Campbell said, “The Electra is under the Saipan airport. It was destroyed by the American military. It was plowed under by the American military.”
Bohannon: We found her plane?
Campbell: Yes, sir, we did–in 1944.
B: Obviously that’s not widely known or officially confirmed.
C: No, of course it’s not officially confirmed.
B: How do you know– In other words we found an Electra and the supposition is that it was hers, is that right?
C: Thomas Devine [Author, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident] says that we saw–we found NR16020. And many other GIs–two dozen of them–either saw the plane or knew of the plane’s presence on Saipan. They contacted Devine in the early 90s after publication of his book in 1987. Many knew of her plane on Saipan.
B: Very interesting, to say the least. We’ll speak off-air.
That was the end of the interview. Off-air, Campbell wrote me, Jim Bohannon taped a five-minute interview with him for Bohannon’s morning show.
Describing the interview on his blog http://earharttruth.wordpress.com/, Campbell wrote, “Once we got more into the evidence of the case in the second half hour, I noticed [Bohannon] grudgingly showed a bit more respect for me. Bill Prymak, the greatest living Earhart researcher, 85 and nearing a birthday in late March, told me today he was proud of me for the way I recovered in the second half of the program and stood up to Bohannon. That meant a lot to me.”
The interview runs from 40-120 minutes on the timeline at JimBohannonShow.com (for March 8).
But the details brought out in the interview are hardly a fraction of all the material contained in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last–like the statement by a man who claimed he was a messenger who found himself in the Oval Office in the summer of 1944. He overheard Vice President Henry Wallace inform President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Amelia Earhart’s plane had been found. This man told a Marine veteran of Saipan, in a phone conversation in 1994, that FDR then replied, “Destroy the plane.”