Fred Malek: Nixon's Jew-counter goes on the record but omits the worst part.

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April 1 2011 7:11 PM

Malek Talks!

Fred Malek makes his most detailed public statement about counting Jews for Richard Nixon, but he omits the most shameful part.

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But here's what Malek left out. Four of the people on Malek's Jew list got demoted, with Malek's active involvement. This is what Malek denied to the Post's Woodward and Pincus in 1988 (when Woodward and Pincus identified two of the four but were unable to prove the Malek link). "In no way did I take part in moving anyone out of the BLS," Malek told Woodward and Pincus. "If I had even been peripherally involved or asked to alter someone's employment status I would have found it offensive and morally unacceptable, and I would have refused." Please note this comparatively rare instance in which a Washington hack tells a lie in the subjunctive tense. Malek was more than peripherally involved. And he most certainly did not refuse.

The proof is a memo that was withheld from Woodward and Pincus but was made public many years later. The memo, from Malek to Haldeman, notes the imminent demotions of Harold Goldstein, Peter Henle, Leon Greenberg, and Ben Burdetsky. I have no idea how many of these four were actually Jewish, but all four names appeared on Malek's Jew list. (Malek's memo did not mention the 13 by name but a  different memo  to Malek from White House aide Dan Kingsley did. Shiskin, oddly, didn't make Malek's list of 13, even though he was BLS director at the time.)

When you add all these details to Malek's story, it acquires a very different meaning. Far from subverting Richard Nixon's anti-Semitism, Malek enabled it. The fact that Malek later helped install the Jewish Shiskin as commissioner of BLS is not particularly relevant because by then Nixon had presumably moved on to other bizarre and/or hateful obsessions. (I've checked the unedited tape of Naftali's Malek interview, and Malek doesn't mention the demotions there either.)

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Horatio Alger, incidentally, was a pedophile. He became a hugely successful writer only after abruptly leaving his post as a Unitarian minister in Brewster, Mass., where he stood accused of "unnatural familiarity with boys." There was quite a bit of sordid evidence behind the charge and Alger never denied it. They should really find someone else to name that award after. How about Sammy Glick?

Nixon Jew-Counting Archive:
June 5, 2010: "Malek's Fake Penitence"
May 21, 2010: "What's the Matter With Virginia? Part 2"
Sept. 26, 2007: "Nixon's Jew Count: The Whole Story!"
Feb. 6, 2006: "Malek's List, Part 7"
Nov. 7, 2005: "Malek's List, Part 6"
July 22, 2005: "Malek's List, Cont'd"
July 8, 2005: "Jews for Malek"
June 30, 2005: "Malek's Free Ride, Cont'd"
May 26, 2005: "Colin Powell, Frontman"
Nov. 8, 2001: "Fred Malek's Field of Dreams"

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