Popular Christian evangelist Billy Graham told President Richard M. Nixon in 1972 that Jews have a "stranglehold" on the U.S. media and urged him to put a stop to it if he were reelected later that year.
The conversation, taped without Graham's knowledge, was made public Feb. 28 by the National Archives. The exchange between the Baptist preacher and Nixon took place in February of 1972 after a prayer breakfast presided over by Graham. On the tape, Nixon is heard praising Graham for his remarks during the event.
"There were a lot of people in tears when you finished this morning, and it's very moving," observed the president. "That's the best I've heard you at one of those prayer breakfast things."
Graham and Nixon then talked about the president's reelection effort. When Graham mentioned he had a meeting coming up with the editors of Time, Nixon aide H.R. Haldeman, who was also in the room, interjected, "You meet with all their editors, you better take your Jewish beanie."
Graham, laughing, asked, "Is that right? I don't know any of them now."
Nixon then launched into an anti-Semitic tirade, saying, "Newsweek is totally -- it's all run by Jews and dominated by them in their editorial pages. The New York Times, The Washington Post, totally Jewish, too."
Graham replied, "The stranglehold has got to be broken, or the country's going to go down the drain."
Nixon is heard asking, "You believe that?"
"Yes, sir," Graham said, to which Nixon replied, "Oh boy, so do I. I can't ever say that, but I believe it."
Responded Graham, "No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something."
Later in the conversation, Graham spoke of knowing Jews working in the media and said they "swarm around me and are friendly to me," but added, "They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country, and I have no power and no way to handle them."
At one point, Graham, concurring with Nixon's assertion that a "powerful bloc" of Jews runs the media, added, "That's right -- and they're the ones putting out the pornographic stuff."
After Graham left, Nixon told Haldeman, "You know, it was good we got this point about the Jews across." After Haldeman concurred, Nixon added, "Well, it's also, the Jews are irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards."
Although he was 53 at the time the conversation took place, Graham today says he does not recall the meeting. On March 1, he issued a written apology, saying, "Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval …