By: E&P Staff
The Guardian, the national British daily headquartered in Manchester, launched a 20-day series on the “greatest interviews of the 20th century” with the transcript of the televised encounter between David Frost and Richard Nixon — with an introduction by fallen newspaper magnate Conrad Black.
Each day, the Guardian will insert a booklet on a “greatest” interview, with transcripts and context.
In the Nixon booklet, for instance, Conrad Black — who himself was convicted in July of a U.S. federal charge he obstructed justice in the investigation of fraud at Hollinger International and other newspaper holding companies he controlled — argues that one obstruction charge against Nixon “doesn’t hold water. ” That charge was that Nixon obstructed justice in the famous “smoking gun” tape by suggesting the CIA tell the FBI that the Watergate break-in was a national security matter. On the other hand, Black says it is likely that Nixon knew he was doing something improper when he authorized large cash payments to the Watergate burglars.
“The facts are that Nixon was certainly not a uniquely sleazy president,” Black wrote. “His ethics were not at the Eisenhower-Truman level, but they were not inferior to those of Kennedy, LBJ, or even FDR, much less some of the scoundrels of the 19th century, such as Van Buren or Jackson. And Nixon was a very capable president. He extracted the country from Vietnam, opened relations with China and the Arab powers, ended conscription, and virtually stopped inflation. He was re-elected in 1972 by the greatest plurality in the country’s history: 18m votes and 49 states.”
Black is the author of a recently published biography of Nixon, “The Invincible Quest: The Life of Richard Milhous Nixon.”
According to the Guardian’s Web site, these are the next 13 “greatest interviews” to be published:
No 2: Diana, Princess of Wales by Martin Bashir
No 3: John Lennon by Jann S Wenner
No 4: Marlon Brando by Truman Capote
No 5: Dennis Potter by Melvyn Bragg
No 6: Francis Bacon by David Sylvester
No 7: Marilyn Monroe by Richard Meryman
No 8: Sex Pistols by Bill Grundy
No 9: Malcolm X by Alex Haley
No 10: Adolf Hitler by GS Viereck
No 11: F Scott Fitzgerald by Michel Mok
No 12: Margaret Thatcher by Terry Coleman
No 13: Fidel Castro by Herbert Matthews
No 14: Mae West by Charlotte Chandler