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Schorr Flashback: Nixon On Pursuing Journalists On Taxes

Jul 23, 2010

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Reported by

Frank James

As we fondly remember our NPR colleague Dan Schorr, the legendary journalist who died at age 93 Friday, an aspect of his biography that continues to assert itself as one of the most fascinating parts of an interesting life was his targeting as an "enemy" by President Richard Nixon.

The University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs pointed us to a recorded conversation between Nixon and his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman in which they discussed having the IRS persecute Schorr and the late Washington Post columnist and Mary McGrory, two journalists the White House perceived as adversaries.

A recording excerpt:

President Nixon: [Unclear.] On the other hand, when you come down to [unclear] when you come down to stuff that is . . . these fellows . . . in fact, the media . . . you take a fellow like this Dan Schorr, he's—I notice—he is always creating something, isn't he?

Haldeman: Oh . . . He incidentally is on—you don't, shouldn't get involved in this, but he's on our tax list, too.

President Nixon: Good.

Haldeman: They're—

President Nixon: Good.

Haldeman: They're going after a couple of media people. They're going after Dan Schorr and Mary McGrory.

President Nixon: Good.

Haldeman: And—"

President Nixon: Like what? Have they been making any money on the outside?

Haldeman: They think they might have some, yeah, on them. [tape whip] just want to harass them. Just give them a little trouble.

President Nixon: Exactly. Pound these people.

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