Pat Buchanan’s sister, his campaign chief, denied a television report Thursday that suggested her raucous brothers picked on Jews in their youth.
“They did not discriminate,” Bay Buchanan said evenly. “They beat up everybody.”
She accused ABC News of smearing her family and fellow Catholics.
She told a news conference that ABC committed a “hate crime” against her brother. She also struck out at CBS, saying the network “found some racist Nazi out there” - an irregular guest on Howard Stern’s shock radio program - who backs Buchanan, and portrayed him as typical of his supporters.
“They do not want to see Pat Buchanan president,” she said of some elements of the media, while praising coverage of his Republican campaign generally.
CBS News defended its report as “clear and fair.”
In a statement, ABC News President Roone Arledge said: “The allegations made by Bay Buchanan may be the result of the heat of the campaign or some political ploy. In either case, there is no truth in them.”
Ted Koppel, whose “Nightline” program last Friday explored Buchanan’s Washington upbringing in a conservative Catholic family, apologized on a subsequent show for saying the candidate’s father had been a listener of Father Coughlin, the isolationist - and, to many critics, bigoted - radio priest of the 1930s and 1940s. The Buchanans denied that report.
Koppel said he had based that on published reports and “we should have checked it out for ourselves.”
Campaigning in South Carolina, Pat Buchanan said: “That was an attack upon my family, upon my father and upon my faith. We don’t want to get distracted by getting into arguments. We had to respond. That’s going to be our last word on that.”
Bay Buchanan also accused “Nightline” of suggesting anti-Jewish slurs were tolerated in the Buchanan home and at the Washington Catholic schools they attended.
According to a script, anti-Semitism at Gonzaga school in the 1950s was described by someone who went there two years behind Buchanan as “an almost reflexive variety” to the degree it existed at all.
In a statement, Koppel called Bay Buchanan’s charges “repugnant, unfair and absolutely untrue.”
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