Malek's list, part 6.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Nov. 7 2005 6:19 PM

Malek's List, Part 6

Maybe I just imagined that Fred Malek counted Jews in Richard Nixon's Bureau of Labor Statistics …

Sometime in the dead of night, the District of Columbia City Council passed an ordinance making it illegal ever to mention in print that Fred Malek, lead investor in the Washington Baseball Club—the group most likely to end up owning the Nationals—was once Richard Nixon's Jew-counter. That's the only explanation I can think of for why Malek's Jew-counting has gone unmentioned in the Washington Post since June 30, when Sally Jenkins brought it up in her sports column.

A final decision by Major League Baseball (which owns the team) could easily occur in the next couple of weeks, according to a lengthy Nov. 2 profile of Malek and his Washington Baseball Club by the Washington Post's Tom Heath. Heath notes in his article that Malek has a liability, but in Heath's mind that liability is not that Malek, as White House personnel chief under Richard Nixon, carried out Nixon's deranged order that he, Malek, count the number of Jews at the Bureau of Labor Statistics—an action that appears to have led at least in part to the demotion of two BLS employees whom Malek had identified as Jews. At least I assume Heath thinks Malek's Jew-counting past isn't a liability, because Heath doesn't mention it. Instead, Heath notes suspicions that Malek's group has been

sowing doubt about the reliability of Indianapolis media mogul Jeff Smulyan, a past owner of the Seattle Mariners, and Washington entrepreneur Jon Ledecky, whose partnership with billionaire George Soros drew criticism from leading Republicans on Capitol Hill.

The Washington Baseball Club denies that it is conducting any such smear campaign. But Malek does not deny that he compiled a list of Jews—or rather, people he suspected of being Jews, based on their surnames—back when he was young and ambitious and willing to do whatever it took, no matter how distasteful, to get ahead. (He vas only vollowing orders!) Malek's Jew-counting is not a matter of suspicion; it's an established fact. Yet Heath doesn't think that's a liability.

Or perhaps there's another explanation for the Jew-counting episode's exclusion from Heath's piece. Maybe the Post fears that if it angers Malek by mentioning his ethnic arithmetic from long ago, then its reporters might lose access to the Nationals if, as expected, the Washington Baseball Club acquires the team. But I don't really see how that could happen. The Post is, for all practical purposes, a monopoly newspaper; its only citywide competitors, the Washington Times and the new Washington Examiner, have only a fraction of the Post's circulation. Is Fred Malek really going to deny his own team coverage in the city's dominant daily? Not if he wants anybody to show up to the games.

The story of Malek's Jew-counting was originally broken by the Post's own Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in 1976 (in their book The Final Days), and the Post's Woodward and Walter Pincus added important details to the story in 1988, after Bush père made a very unwise attempt to rehabilitate Malek. During the past decade, however, the topic of Malek's Jew-counting has gone entirely unmentioned in the Post's news stories, and if it weren't for Jenkins' column and a separate column by Post metro columnist Marc Fisher in January 2002, Malek's Jew-counting would have gone entirely unmentioned in the entire newspaper. It's almost as if the Post were ashamed of its own scoop. I'm starting to feel like Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight. Is the Jew-counting episode merely a figment of my imagination? I've got a terrific headache. Perhaps a little rest might help …

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.