I have had a long time respect and admiration for Paul Harvey as a broadcaster and radio personality. I will always have fond memories of him. However, the news today regarding his tight and too-cozy relationship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover makes my stomach spin. There is no doubt that Hoover was one of the more despicable characters on the national stage for many decades. His fondness for deceit, slander and character-assassination is no longer a secret. It was known during his frightful reign at the FBI what a low-brow person he truly was. Therefore, how Paul Harvey got wrapped up with Hoover is a mystery. Paul Harvey was smart and capable and yet somehow was duped into taking sides with the likes of Hoover.
My stomach spins as Paul Harvey’s name is tainted.
And now, the rest of the story.
Previously confidential files show that Harvey, who died last February at 90, enjoyed a 20-year friendship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, often submitting advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval. Harvey wrote Hoover and his deputies regularly. Hoover, in turn, helped Harvey with research, suggested changes in scripts and showered the broadcaster with effusive praise.
But the real twist, suitable for one of Harvey’s signature “Rest of the Story” vignettes, is how they met — on opposite sides of an espionage investigation.
The news is contained in nearly 1,400 pages of FBI files, released to The Washington Post in response to a one-year-old Freedom of Information Act request. The trove supplies new details about how America’s No. 1 broadcaster came to befriend America’s No. 1 G-man.
The records underscore that the men shared deeply conservative convictions and a hatred of communism. And Harvey’s vast audience was of intense interest to the image-obsessed Hoover.
Harvey tried to be of service beyond the FBI as well, writing in 1956 to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who had made a name for himself by hunting down alleged Communists in the federal bureaucracy, with tips about “known Reds” at a Texas Air Force base. A senior FBI official added a handwritten notation to ensure that Harvey’s letter would not be distributed outside the bureau’s top brass: “No dissemination since identity of Harvey cannot be revealed.”