Acting on a lead developed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Fredric U. Dicker, a reporter for the Albany Times-Union, last week broke two stories about Richard B. Cotten, of upstate Corinth, a self-avowed “defender of the white race” who each month produces and mails at least 2000 copies of “Conservative Viewpoint,” an anti-Semitic and anti-Black “newsletter.”
Although the publication bears a Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. return address, it is postmarked in Glens Falls, a city near Corinth and about 60 miles north of Albany. The JTA has established that at least one of Cotten’s pieces of literature was printed in Albany.
Before moving to Corinth last Fall, Cotten lived for two years in North Creek, another small community north of Glens Falls. When Dr. Jacques Grunblatt, the town’s only permanent Jewish resident, realized that Cotten’s “Conservative Viewpoint” was racist and anti-Semitic, the physician contacted the FBI, the Albany Jewish Community Council, and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
Jerome Bakst, ADL research director, told the JTA that Cotten’s name has been known at ADL since 1963. “He first attracted attention via his anti-Semitic broadcasts on a number of radio stations, mainly in the Far West,” Bakst said. “He supplemented these broadcasts by offering transcripts under the imprimatur of Cotten’s ‘Reprint Service’ and then later ‘Richard Cotten’s Conservative Viewpoint,’ which is the banner he flies to this day.”
ROLE AND BACKGROUND OF COTTEN
Bakst explained that Cotten’s themes are those common to other anti-Semites: Jews in league with Communists, Jews controlling major broadcast networks, the Holocaust as a hoax. “On his radio program, he recommended that his listeners read publications by various notorious anti-Jewish propagandists of long-standing, such as Gerald L.K. Smith, now deceased,” Bakst said. “Cotten later became associated with the Washington-based Liberty Lobby, which was organized and controlled by Willis Carto and Curtiss Dall, both anti-Semites.
“He has had relationships over the years with a number of extremists and anti-Semites,” Bakst continued, “but has had fallings out with some of them, such as Carto. Today he speaks in glowing terms of David Duke of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Metairie, Louisiana, and has also urged support for the anti-Jewish and anti-Black National States Rights Party led by Edward Fields and J. B. Stoner, both anti-Semitic agitators and propagandists for the last three decades. Fields is the editor of the National States Rights Party’s extremist periodical, ‘The Thunderbolt.'”
In a 1977 issue of “Conservative Viewpoint,” Bakst said, Cotten wrote the following: “In my opinion, any organization, to be worthy of your support, should state without equivocation that the Jew and our society are incompatible and that the Jew has proven completely unwilling to accept Western values.”
FORCED OUT OF TOWN
According to the Times-Union article, several residents of North Creek spearheaded a campaign to force Cotten out of town. “In North Creek everyone, literally, knows everyone else,” the article said. “And word of something amiss, of any sort of problem which might bear on the community’s well-being, becomes quickly known.”
The article stated that Naomi Gardner, co-publisher of the North Creek News Enterprise, realized that Cotten’s message was racism and bigotry and refused to allow him to use her newspaper’s typesetting equipment. Other members in the community of 800 became involved and decided that completely ignoring Cotten would be the best way of expressing their indignation.
Last Fall, Cotten moved to Corinth in Saratoga County, and he is continuing to publish his “Conservative Viewpoint” and his “White Solidarity Movement” newsletter from there. Last week the city council of Saratoga Springs passed a resolution stating that Cotten is not welcome in their city. The resolution stated:
“Teachers of hate may have the legal right to spread their evil but all good citizens have the moral obligation and the duty to speak up on behalf of democracy. The Saratoga Springs City Council hereby goes on record saying that Richard B. Cotten, an admitted racist and anti-Jewish propagandist, is not welcome in our city or our country. People who love America know that the disease of racial bigotry and religious bigotry has no place here.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.