July 18, 1996
Michael H. Jordan
Chairman, Westinghouse Electric Corporation
11 Stanwix Street
Dear Mr. Jordan: I have some questions for Morley Safer, and I route them to him through you, as I have discovered over the years that he is not very communicative when addressed directly — perhaps if the request to respond to these questions came from you, he might be more forthcoming. Specifically, I wonder if you would be so good as to ask Mr. Safer the questions organized under the following eight points, all of them in connection with his October 23, 1994 statement that "The Church and Government of Ukraine have tried to ease people's fears, suggesting that ... Ukrainians, despite the allegations, are not genetically anti-Semitic.":
(1) Through what source did Mr. Safer become aware of the allegation that Ukrainians were genetically anti-Semitic? And what were the qualifications of this source in the field of human genetics, particularly in the field of the genetic inheritance of cognitive predispositions?
(2) Before broadcasting this allegation, did Mr. Safer verify its plausibility with any responsible geneticist?
(3) What does Mr. Safer mean by "the church of Ukraine"? This reference is as puzzling as would be a reference to "the church of the United States."
(4) Could Mr. Safer divulge the name of the church representative who issued this denial of a genetic predisposition to anti-Semitism on the part of Ukrainians, and indicate as well the time and the place of the denial?
(5) Could Mr. Safer similarly identify the Government of Ukraine representative who issued this same denial of a genetic predisposition to anti-Semitism on the part of Ukrainians — who was it, when, where?
(6) Is Mr. Safer aware of a genetic predisposition to anti-Semitism on the part of any other group — or is this in his estimation a uniquely Ukrainian phenomenon?
(7) Has Mr. Safer considered the possibility that his own antipathy toward Ukrainians is genetically based? If not, then how would he account for it? And if not, would Mr. Safer be willing to issue a public statement to the effect that his anti-Ukrainianism is not genetic in origin?
(8) Could Mr. Safer comment on the possibility that the refusal of CBS personnel to discuss "The Ugly Face of Freedom" might similarly be genetically-based? If CBS personnel reject the notion that their corporate decisions are genetically influenced, then could Mr. Safer persuade them to issue a joint statement to this effect, and in particular denying that they are genetically anti-Ukrainian?
These few and simple questions, it seems to me, serve the useful purpose of establishing what category Mr. Safer's statement falls into: that of a responsible journalist who picks his words carefully and later stands by them, or that of a bigot who gets up in front of the camera and begins to ramble off the top of his head — and later selects muteness as the optimal defense for his irresponsibility.
cc: Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft, Morley Safer, Lesley Stahl, Mike Wallace