NEW YORK (May. 25)
Two major American Jewish organizations have responded sharply to allegations by former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew that American Jews control the most important segments of the media and exert undue influence on United States policy, especially in the Middle East. Agnew has been making these remarks in appearances on various television talk shows promoting his novel “The Canfield Decision.” Similar charges against American Jews are contained in the book.
In an interview published Sunday in the Washington Star, the former Vice President contended that half of those in the “ownership and management policy posts” in the “national impact media are Jewish. Agnew conceded to Washington Star staff writer William Delaney that his view about Jews in the media and his view that Israel “has now embarked on an imperialistic exercise occupying Arab lands” and “bringing about a police state in these areas” was not recently arrived at.
“When I was in office” it “wasn’t obviously to my advantage to say these things,” but “I still took this point of view.” Agnew told Delaney that he visited the Middle East because he felt the U.S. policy was so uneven that he went to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia but not to Israel.
REAL SITUATION OF JEWS IN MEDIA
Elmer L. Winter, president of the American Jewish Committee, charged today that Agnew’s anti-Semitic statements on television in recent weeks were “untrue, callous and pernicious” and “totally unworthy of a man who once held the second highest position in this country.”
Addressing himself to Agnew’s charge of Jewish influence in America’s media, Winter said, “Mr. Agnew should know that few American media are owned by Jews (only about 3.1 percent of the 1748 newspapers in the United States), that fewer than 20 of the approximately 800 members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors are Jewish, and that no Jew has ever served in a top capacity in either of the two major American news agencies–Associated Press and United Press International.”
Winter pointed out that “The former Vice President, who had to resign in disgrace and who has now emerged as a novelist, is today also a business representative of certain Arab interests in the United States. His statements should be examined most carefully by all concerned citizens.”
TV STATION CHIDED
Ivan M. Schaefer, president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Jewish Congress, released a statement yesterday that Agnew’s “mean spirited, false and despicable statements about Israel, Zionism and the American Jewish community…firmly place him within a tradition of anti-Semitism and hate-mongers that has been repudiated by the overwhelming majority of the American people.”
Schaefer’s statement was issued in response to an interview with Agnew by Maury Povich on WTTG-TV in Washington in which Agnew had “chosen to repeat vicious canards about Zionist influence at home and Israeli imperialism abroad.
Schaefer said the AJCongress was “distressed but not surprised” by Agnew’s canards. However, he chided WTTG-TV for repeating the interview which was broadcast last Wednesday and rebroadcast Friday. He questioned what public interest was served “by re-broadcasting an interview filled with such hostile, divisive and un-supportable statements by a disgraced former public official.”