Blogger Jonathan Schwarz (A Tiny Revolution, 6/24/09) has noted that when “CBS ran a story about the latest batch of Nixon tapes made public… they included a section of a February 21, 1973 conversation with Billy Graham that showed Nixon at his psycho best,” addressing anti-Semitism thus: “This has happened to the Jews, happened in Spain, it happened in Germany, it’s happening, and now it’s gonna happen in America if these people don’t start behaving. It may be they have a death wish.”
But the real problem comes in CBS‘s quote of the Graham response: “Well, they’ve always been through the Bible at least, God’s timepiece. He has judged them from generation to generation and yet used them and they’ve kept their identity.” Schwarz asks us,
What do you think about Graham’s response there? True, he didn’t stand up to Nixon’s rambling insanity, but at least he deflected it. He comes out looking pretty good!
Too bad this is how the conversation actually went (mp3):
Graham: Well, you know I told you one time that the Bible talks about two kinds of Jews. One is called the Synagogue of Satan. They’re the ones putting out the pornographic literature. They’re the ones putting out these obscene films.
[three minutes of talking]
Nixon: It may be they have a death wish, that’s been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries.
Graham: Well, they’ve always been through the Bible at least, God’s timepiece. He has judged them from generation to generation and yet used them and they’ve kept their identity.
Schwarz closes with a further “P.S.”: “CBS is also wrong that Nixon was talking about anti-Semitism being generated by the shooting down of the Libyan plane. Nixon was actually responded to Graham being angry about a rabbi criticizing a new attempt at widespread evangelism.” But this is all part of a great tradition in the U.S. press: Corporate media have diligently worked to clean up the good reverend’s image for just about as long as he’s been around.