Washington — Thirty years ago, the Rev. Billy Graham said a Jewish "stranglehold" of the media was ruining the country and must be broken, according to a newly released tape of a 1972 conversation between the famous evangelist and President Nixon.
The conversation was among 500 hours of Nixon tapes released by the National Archives. Most were recorded between January and June 1972.
In the conversation, Graham expressed disdain for what he saw as Jewish domination of the media.
"This stranglehold has got to be broken or this country's going down the drain," Graham said, agreeing with Nixon's own comments earlier in the conversation.
"You believe that?" Nixon says in response.
"Yes, sir," says Graham.
"Oh boy. So do I," Nixon agrees, then says: "I can't ever say that, but I believe it."
"No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something," Graham says, reassuring the president.
Graham, 83, has been in frail health for years. His Texas public relations firm said Friday that it had no immediate comment.
The friendship between Graham and the president began during the Eisenhower administration, when Nixon was vice president.
At a later point in the conversation, when Nixon raises the subject of Jewish influence in Hollywood and the media, Graham says, "A lot of Jews are great friends of mine."
"They swarm around me and are friendly to me. Because they know that I am friendly to Israel and so forth. But they don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country, and I have no power and no way to handle them," Graham says.
Nixon says: "You must not let them know."