NET Journal; H. L. Hunt: The Richest and the Rightest
The following program is from NET, the National Educational Television Network. In Dallas, Texas, where millionaires are not at all unusual, this man carrying part of his lunch to work in a paper bag is something special. For among those who have amassed great wealth from petroleum, he has amassed by far the most. More than the merchants, more than the Colons, more than the Richardson's, even more than the Gettys. He has no chauffeur, he has no private airplanes. He takes no vacations on the Riviera, he makes no significant grants to charity.
But Haroldson Lafayette Hunt is the biggest of them all, the richest man in America. The richest and one of the most controversial. For he is a strong advocate of right-wing causes and is considered by some to be a serious threat to American institutions. No one except perhaps the Internal Revenue Service knows how many millionaires there are in Texas, but there are enough to make the possession of large fortunes little cause for comment in this part of the country.
It is oil that created those fortunes and built modern Texas cities like Dallas. But everyone here is rich, to be sure, but the existence of the largest known petroleum reserves in the world, under the soil of the Southwest, plus favorable tax laws for those who find the oil and bring it to market, has meant wealth for some unequal anywhere except in the kingdoms of the Middle East. In offices that fill the top 13 floors of the first national bank building in Dallas, rich L. Hunt presides over a staff of between two and three thousand persons who help him run his oil empire. So vast are his holdings with operations in many states, as well as foreign countries, that no six men could possibly attend to every detail. Hunt confines himself to what he regards as the big decisions involving only very large
sums of money. But in these offices, there are many such decisions. And even among those who make the small ones, no one acts without considering whether he is doing what Mr. Hunt would want. Although the organization was founded on petroleum and still is deeply concerned with finding, transporting, refining, and selling petroleum products, it has now involved in a great many other types of enterprises. These are some of the interlocking corporations, partnerships, joint ventures and trusts, said to be wholly owned or controlled by H.L. Hunt and members of his immediate family. These firms deal in such varied activities as food products, summer resorts, cattle,
bowling alleys, apartment houses, pipelines, wheel estate, electronics, professional baseball and football, sheep, shopping centers, construction, patent medicines, and many more. But behind it all, and under it all, trickles, or rather, gushes, oil, many thousands of barrels of oil every day. Estimates are the value of this empire, all owned by this one man and his family. There are no stockholders, no board of directors to account to. Estimates range two and a half to three billion dollars, figures difficult for ordinary mortals to comprehend. Estimates of the income from it must also be guessed at, since Mr. Hunt is not making any announcements. These estimates range up to a million dollars a week. Roughly, that's $150,000 each day, about $6,000 every hour.
If Mr. Hunt sleeps eight hours, he is $50,000 richer by the time he gets up in the morning. Some of the money flows in from as far away as the small, oil-rich, red-sea kingdom of Kuwait. The cablegram that you received from Kuwait? Yes. From the new strongman in Kuwait. That's the prime minister. I see. Sheikh Jabar al-Ahmad al-Saba. I intended to call you and talk to you about the cablegram. I'll read it to you now. It's H-L-H-L-H-E-K-E-W whatever that means, and Dallas. Most thankful for your profound condolences on the passing away of his highness, the late Sheikh Abdullah al-Saba al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Saba, Jabar al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad
al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Ahmad al-Saba. Al-Saba, acting Prime Minister, State of Kuwait, now do I know Jabar? Yes. He was the finance minister when you were in Kuwait. Oh yes. He had quite a major and an oil deal. That means that he's bound to be the new crown prince. Well, I have him placed all right, but then, as I read in the paper, who was it that they said would be the new ruler in the paper? Yes, this is the same print. Yes, Sheikh Jabr, Alamud al-Saba will be the next ruler. The present ruler is Sheikh Saba, Al Salam al-Saba, he's 51 years old, and he is the brother of the late ruler.
Yeah, he was not in the town of Kuwait all the time, but when I was there or not. So, he wasn't there all the time? Yes. How many members of the royal family are there? How many men in the royal family? Well, the principal princes are about 25, I believe. With a pecking order of the rulers of Kuwait firmly in hand, Hunt turns his attention easily and quickly to a problem closer to home. The continuous cooker needs to be, a decision needs to be greased on it, Mr. Hunt, for the home of the plant. It requires $126,000 investment and the estimated payout will be two years on it. Are you recommending it? Recommending it from two standpoints, the quality of our products will be increased, and it will reduce labor and give a more efficient and better pack and increase production. The payout will be two years on the $126,000. And that will increase the pack up there, will it? It will increase it by 20% during the pack period seasons.
Well, that's very good and we will okay it. There is a requisition for it, is there? There is a May of Fee in the Alters fort. Have you told Mr. Hall that he could go ahead and make arrangements to have it installed? All right. The HLH Food Company, which now will be getting a new pressure cooker, is believed to be unique among all the Hunt Enterprises, and that it is the only one that does not make scads of money. In fact, it is thought to be a money loser, although there is no way for the public to know, since like all the Hunt firms, it is closely held. These affairs are tied in with other Hunt companies, and it's not required to publish its balance sheets. HLH Foods is also the medium through which Mr. Hunt engages in the activity, which along with his money-making schemes, dominates his life. The dissemination of right-wing educational materials, as he calls them.
Although Hunt spends millions each year in spreading his religious, super patriotic messages, as he anything that smacks to him of socialism, the effort costs him very little if anything, for the expense is largely absorbed in the Food Company's advertising budget. In effect, his propagandizing becomes a tax-exempt business expense. A representative of the Hunt Own Advertising Agency explains the unusual advertising arrangement. Deep advertising has, as its major client and the one to whom we devote the largest part of our effort, HLH Products, which is one of the major sponsors of the Lifeline Radio Program, which is on 409 stations from the west coast to the east and from Canada to Mexico. HLH Products also includes in its advertising program a large number of major newspapers throughout the United States.
The newspaper ads are a two-column by three-inch ad, which are rather unique in that every other day a product ad runs and every other day a patriotic ad runs. This right-wing patriotism really sell chickenbacks and mashed potatoes. HLH Foods Marketing Manager gives the philosophy behind this strange approach. Our advertising reflects the character of our founder, Mr. HL Hunt. A great many nicer concerns based their advertising on sex appeal or the hard sell, shall we say, but ours is based upon American patriotism. And we hope that this patriotic approach to advertising will provide an added inducement for the housewife to select our excellent products. The Lifeline programs narrated by Melvin Munn from the Washington Lifeline Headquarters
are made available in printed form. These transcripts, called Munnscripts, reflect the tone of the Lifeline broadcasts. Not everyone agrees that Lifeline and the HLH Foods newspaper campaign are just a couple of more quite legitimate forms of advertising promotion. This is Dr. Franklin Lattel, president of Wesleyan College, a national chairman of the Institute of American Democracy. An organization devoted to counter-attacking extremism, both of the right and left. With him is executive director, Mr. Charles Baker. The thing which is so disturbing about Lifeline and similar organizational efforts to undermine the public confidence in our leadership is that not that they have perverse opinions, we all have perverse opinions from time to time, but that they impume the integrity of anyone who has any other opinion.
Therefore, they are destructive of the full free and informed dialogue, which is the lifeblood of the open society. Here we have in Mr. Hunts' program and some others, corporately sourced being used to promote a point of view, which is hardly in the mainstream of the American political dialogue. It's beyond conservatism, which obviously is a legitimate viewpoint, a point of view which implies that people who accept welfare, for example, are involved in some sort of communist plot and that social progress, like Medicare, Mr. Hunts, has been against Medicare. This is a dangerous thing and we are selling the country down the road to socialism and is everyone who follows the right or right dialectic nose, liberalism, socialism, communism, they quite the whole thing, so that it's really an attempt to turn back the clock on progress to think of America in terms of yesterday, when we didn't have or at least were not aware
of some of the problems that now we see the cope with. In addition to the Lifeline radio programs and the newspaper ads, Mr. Hunts' messages also go out in the form of pamphlets, films, his own newspaper columns, and four books he's written. The messages carry strong warnings of imminent disaster at the hands of the communists, aided by treachery within our own ranks, especially among those in charge in Washington. Few, not given to the same views, would call his messages persuasive. Henry receives the proofs of his latest book, Hunt for Truth. Mr. Hunts, you're right here at the Gallup race of your new book, they're just arrived. That is real good news. Now there were two copies and I have one set of sign for Gallup proof reading and this is a set for you to carry home to look over.
Hunt for Truth by Jill Hunt. And do you have some of these necessary readers, the Gallup proof reader? Yes, sir, we've arranged for some competent help in that respect. Did you notice this print appear the prices of the other two books, Baby and Spike Friedman? Why not speak? We put that in small time. Yes, that is very good. Well, that is fine and then you get these in there. Mr. Hunt writes as he talks, he's frequently discursive, ambiguous, evasive. The questions are posed by reporter James Fleming. Mr. Hunt, you've spent most of your life being unavailable to the press and not speaking out in public for your views and now you've suddenly made yourself available. Why have you chosen at this particular time to make yourself available to these questions? Well, in a effective way of answering that, I reached the point that I was afraid not to speak.
Up to then I was afraid to speak because I thought that I couldn't do a very good job and still I don't think I'd do a very good job, but it reached the point that I was afraid not to speak. Our lifeline is a sponsored program and you have local sponsors, various banks, but you yourself, through HLH Foods, a sponsor, a great many, as many as 50 or 60 percent, isn't it? Not 100 percent, but it is very good advertising because in most of the markets, why it is the most widely listened to, of any spoken program on the air. Now, isn't that a sort of subsidy for you? You take the advertising money of a food company you have, which I understand loses money. It's a new venture and you put the advertising money on the radio program that puts forward your political ideas and an effect, isn't the general public paying for that. No, I don't think so.
It is a good advertising media. The best that I know of, if anyone wants to be advertised on radio, and so I don't think that there's anything crooked about it. Well, I didn't say that. I didn't say that. I know you didn't say that. That is the way I answered it. Right, you are. Mr. Hunt, it's often been said that you have what is called a conspiratorial view of history. In other words, you see reds under every couch and cover, and whether or not really there. Do you think you're overalarmed about the way things are going to come? Now, however alarmed I am, I don't think I'm alarmed enough because after all it's said and done. Lenin had 17 in London in 1903, and with the help of Germany, why the number increased to 4,000 to overthrow the French government in Russia on November 7th, 1917.
Now there were 40,000 Bolsheviks that took charge and dominated 160 million very backward people. And that was the extent of the communist nomination 48 years ago. Now as of this time, I think everyone says that there are more than a billion that are under... Certainly in the United States, the Communist Party today is a weak read indeed. I don't think that J. Edgar Hoover would agree with your conclusion. Although it is patterned on George Washington's home and is indeed called Mount Vernon, the hut home is said to be another Mr. Hunt's bargain acquisitions, costing him only about $60,000 during the Depression.
Despite its grandeur, the richest man in America has simple tastes, really? No lavish entertainment? No yachts or racehorses? No art treasures? No gold plated Cadillacs? He has it appears only three abiding interests, making money, combating communism in his own way, and enjoying his large family. Here are Sunday musicals with the stepdaughters, the children of the second Mrs. Hunt, formerly Mrs. Ruth H. Wright. How much do perpotat?
At the her home, even some of the old songs have taken on political significance. These days, true days, freedom's gone and rule days. We keep our love for our own country. We will always try to keep it free. Ladies and gentlemen in this hour, please be alert and prove your power. You can keep a miracle off the skis. We can help them a couple of kids. Buying his first marriage to the late Lita Bunker Hunt, HL Hunt has six grown children, four sons and two daughters. The only one of these still living at Mount Vernon is HL Hunt Jr. called Hassey, who some years ago suffered a breakdown. Hassey was an extraordinary oil man. I know it's more about the oil business than anyone that's ever been in the oil business.
But the time he was 24 years old, he had just nearly 10,000 barrels daily production. And that much production at that time was about as much as some good size minor oil corporations had. All of the family are money makers. That includes the daughters. And for instance, the eldest daughter, Margaret. She and her husband have seven falls up the Colorado Springs. They built the Garden of the Gods Club up there, which world travelers have told me is the finest establishment of its kind in the world. They have the kissing camel, golf course, overlooking the Garden of the Gods. Oh, ten of them. I think our money makers, although some of them are pretty young. But they're very much to be proud of.
None of the ten used to back up. And as far as I know none of them of the ten drink alcoholic beverages. All of them that are old enough to be in business, are in business, and very good business people. A lot of people may think because Lamar favors football and bass and baseball as a sport. That perhaps he don't have the ability that the money makers have. But he's a money maker too. And as far as I can tell he's one of the very smartest one of them. And certainly in the most difficult business. First of all, take our table over, be here and everywhere at your. These mercies bless and get away.
Make these tin fellowship with thee, Amen. I'm not a director in there. Meals at the hunt home, although they are served by three mains, are not what you might expect in a multi-billion dollar household. In fact, the food, like almost everything else in hunt's personal life, is quite simple. At the dinner this evening is Ray Hunt and his wife. Ray is the son of Mrs. Hunt and is associated with his stepfather in the oral business. Has he attended this dinner also, although late? One regular feature of the Hunt family dinners is listening to the Lifeline program. A radio is kept at the end of the table next to Mr. Hunt's chair. When the program goes on, conversation subsides. Every word is absorbed, including the commercials. Today, the commercials ecstile the virtues of a Hunt stomach remedy called gastro-magic.
A six-terri-on-channel-port, an E.S. television, for Dallas forward. While American college students and their adult sponsors save marches from the world, Miles Etong, praise him, they showed the world his hand. David Miller is the recuse university student taking part in the New York demonstrations in mid-October. Allegedly, it became the first American to burn his breast card after Congress made the act of federal offense. In London, a gang of banned the bomb agitators carried signs reading, we want Johnson crucified, even as their desired victim. President Vincent B. Johnson was yet in the hospital recovering from surgery. All across the country, or is that Americans were beating their hollow breasts over this country's defensive liberty in part of the Atlanta. In Los Angeles, they handed LVJ, how many did you kill today? In Chicago, students carried banners reading,
reduced the joy in the body war, and stopped the dirty war. Either these misguided pacifists had not heard a red-channel NPL statement of September 4, a statement of 30,000 words from Miles Etong's blueprint for annihilation of the United States, or they knew of it and endorsed it. Either way, there was the action of traitors to their own, hard-won freedom. Part 2, after this word from our sponsor. Do you really want quick reading and a gestion of records that kill an HLH-Gastro of Magic Temple for instance, really? Yes. And seeming pretty into every HLH-Gastro of Magic Temple, sip a direction immediately in presto, dip the gestion at Hartburg, finish like magic in just seconds. Keep several of HLH-Gastro of Magic Temple candy at work and at home for five safe, lasting relief from indigestion or offers. Now. Mint flavored HLH-Gastro of Magic Temple can take chlorophyll juice for a pressure taken into the field. Dr. Hunt is critical of much that goes on today.
It is difficult to tell what he is for. If an individual is going to be persuaded by your ideas, I submit that he has quite a job cut out for him to find out what they are. How would you give us a little campaign speech right now and be specific about what you really stand for, what you really want most of the country to be like? Lastly, that the land should be drawn between those who love liberty and are for freedom and those who are in favor of communism. The land should be drawn somewhere in between them. You believe that such things as the postal system might very well be privately owned? I would think that anyone who understands that our postal system in the United States would readily concede that a private organization and an organization for profit
would handle the distribution of our mail much more efficiently than the government. How about Medicare? Social Security. Well, I have been unfavorable to socialize medicine and very unfavorable to socialize medicine. Now, social security. Well, certainly, Senator Harry flood bird. He really recited that it was a fraud and it was bankrupt and it hasn't been conducted at all as it was planned. How do you feel about the civil rights legislation and the voting bill? Now, highly constructive Negroes that I know, such as the Reverend Jackson, the pastor of the biggest church in Chicago, and Fuller, who is a national leader,
publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier. Now, he was interviewed on U.S. Newton World Report, I guess, in August 63. And I think these are still his beliefs. He says that there are opportunities for his race faster than his people or qualifying themselves to occupy the positions. And he may be as good a judge as you or I. Now, I think that better government would result from the rule of the majority than it would from the rule of a few select minorities that don't represent the majority. And that is what we have today, certainly admittedly,
by anyone and everyone, why we have minorities that are supplying the thinking and also dominating the United States government. Now, are you saying that the votes that President Johnson got were somehow minority that he was put over by a minority with that tremendous victory? Do you have questions since he's been elected but what he has been dominated by the Negro contingent? And, of course, I shouldn't be interviewing you. And Labor, and just three or four important minorities, the electorate elects the president. Indirecly, they elect the president. But they do not elect his presidential advisers and we have the same school of presidential advisers as started by Alger Hiss, Herod extra white.
Are you saying that right now, quite sinister people are advising President Johnson and the White House? Well, you want to have me saying that certain people are sinister. And I am saying, and I've said it quite plainly, that we have the same school and have had the same school of presidential advisers since the early days of FDR's administration. You run a pretty large network of communications that carry forward your own political ideas. Starting way back with such programs as Facts Forum and Answers for Americans, I believe, was another. Why did you turn to radio and television with your great wealth to put across these ideas? What made you do that? Well, that was a means of communication. Now, public opinion is a powerful factor. And public opinion could save our nation if our nation is in danger.
But the communication media rather is owned and controlled 85% by the opposition. We'll say to the construct of philosophy. Are you saying that these people are sinister in some way? That's a pretty big group of people to condemn out of hand. And why are they not constructive? I think in terms that the land should be drawn between people that love liberty and are for the freedom system and the society which has made America great. And the newspapers, radio, TV stations, networks are largely in the hands of, we'll say, the enemy of that system. Now, Mr. Hunt, in that period of time, around the mid-50s, you were pretty energetically into mass communications yourself with Facts Forum and with programs such as Answers for Americans and so on.
Both on radio and television. Were you interested in making McCarthy President in the United States? No, not at all. And I never did subscribe, financial it or anything that McCarthy did. Any of his ratings for office and as far as being on Facts Forum, he was on Facts Forum, one television program that I recall. It's told that one time during the Eisenhower campaign, they called you to New York and they need a $300,000 for a television show and you saw the show and said, that's a great show, I'll give $5,000. How about that? I think the $5,000 would be quite likely for a contribution for me to a political campaign. I used to make financial contributions to the most constructive of the members of either party, Democrat or Republican.
I supported George Smathers in his race against Pepper and Holland when he needed money and also Will Smith who defeated Dr. Frank Graham in North Carolina. But I'm not a bonanza for any of the candidates who are running for office. I think this, the political action is desirable and commendable. The educational program in public affairs is much more important in political action, you only benefit when you win. They want that you're supporting and contributing to. And nearly anyone elected to public office in the United States will turn in as good an administration as they're thinking back home will permit them to do.
So that is where education is so much more important than political action. And you say often that your idea of the last really first-rate president was Calvin Coolidge. You still hold of that? No, I don't say that. I say that he turned in the last successful administration and then when I asked why, but I say that, there was no subversive buildup during Calvin Coolidge's seven years in office. The national debt, although in the neighborhood of $30 billion, he reduced during his seven years, 70% or 19% I forget the exact figure now. And of course, he was following the example of Thomas Jefferson. And I still think Thomas Jefferson was a great man. And that would be he who governs the least, governs best.
I don't think that we need the mandates. I don't think that the safety of the country has tied up in the policies of any one man. Mr. Haunt, you're the richest man in America. And I think there's pretty good evidence to show that. You are confident that your sons are going to carry on successfully, sustain this vast wealth that you've developed. Now that expresses a pretty strong confidence in the way the country is going. You haven't your income and your well-being increased a year after a year under all these new deal, fair deal administrations that you seem to take such a dim view of. Haven't you done pretty well and all that? Well, they're not responsible for whatever success I've had in my life because I've been opposing them and I'm opposing them very actively. Since 1933, I imagine that whatever I'm worth, if I would have spent the time that I've spent, opposing those things and the loss of liberty,
well then I could have been worth twice or three times or four times as much as I am worth whatever that is. He was not born of such affluence, except for a small inheritance of about $5,000, he won his vast fortune on his own. Born on a farm in Illinois, the son of a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, he drifted through the west as a young man, a hobo who worked briefly as a minor, lumberjack, ranch hand, dishwasher in a restaurant, railroad section hand and other jobs. But his most important source of income in those early years was gambling, a pursuit he followed avidly and apparently with great skill until very recent years. Just before World War I, he moved south to Mississippi and began speculating in cotton farmland. He did fairly well for a while, but was wiped out when he misjudged the timing of the post-war slump in cotton prices.
About this time, oil was discovered near El Dorado, Arkansas, and hunt moved there and launched into a new career, buying and selling oil leases and then drilling wells on his own. He put down a great many wells, and although all of them proved dry, he did very well by selling a partial interest in them to other persons, more than covering his costs. With the proceeds, he was able to buy out a man named Dad Joyner, who had brought in the Daisy Bradford, the first well in the East Texas oil fields, and one that proved to be the most productive single well in US oil history. Since 1929, this East Texas field has produced over three and a half billion barrels of oil, much of it flowing from hunt-owned wells. With that acquisition, hunt was on his way toward becoming one of the two or three riches, perhaps the one richest man in the world. Mr. Hunt was asked to what he attributes his success at acquiring the goods of the world.
I expect that I am a born minimaker, and then I have said often that minimakers don't deserve any credit. They're just born that way. It's not something that they have acquired. They're just born that way. You can't define that talent and pass it along, you feel. Well, there are other fortunes to see that have been made, and Henry Ford made one, and I don't know that he ever had any oil stock or any oil business. And there's many ways of making money. In fact, the real estate field for the past few years, why it has been more lucrative than the oil business. I think that our opportunities, the statements there has always been, and there are opportunities that have never been, such as in new fields, the chemical field, and various other fields that nothing has much been done about. With this vast wealth, I take it, you don't much believe in philanthropy, the Rockefellers and the Guggenheims, and even Mr. J. Paul Gettys in our Patreon. I gather you don't believe in handling your money in just that way.
I think I'm more interested in the accumulation of properties than I am of their liquidation and distribution. Does religion mean a great deal to you? Well, I think it's highly important. I am all for Christianity. And you believe in heaven and hell and salvation and what a man does in this world is going to determine his future? Yes, I think. I think that man upstairs is keeping score. Do you often think Christ might ask rather a larger duty from you in terms of helping your fellow man with your worldly goods? Do you feel that? Well, I think that in furnishing and gainful or employment, I think that that is one of the greatest things that anyone can do that can do it for the population of the country. I think that's very important. Give people a chance to make a living for themselves.
Mrs. Hunt is more active in formal religious activities than is her husband. Here, gathering at the hunt home of a Monday, are several scores of Dallas Housewives who assemble each week for Bible study. The get-together is not entirely a church service, however. It's also a pleasant social occasion with prayers and religious songs and discussions taking the place of the bridge from Arjong that would be played in other parts of the country. Speak to our hearts, dear Lord, and help us to grow in faith and in wisdom. In return for thy many gifts to us, we as a fellow to self accept the gift of our hearts. It's a precious name, we pray. Oh, you. What a wonderful way to begin a week. There is so many things within each day, for this great love I could never reveal.
There is so many things within each day, for this great love I could never reveal. God loves me so much in spite of my sin. Great, so amazing. It's a precious name, we pray. Oh, you. What a wonderful way to begin a week. Great, so amazing. What a wonderful way to begin a week.
This as a whole are very religious people. They have more churches per capita than any other state, and attendance to these churches is regular. From our points and all of our signatures, the great phrase in God we trust, which has been our emblem for so many years, is to be removed. Our capital is debased and debauched. Our crime is riding high in the streets of all the cities of the United States. And our churches are weak and apostate and formal, and so we become pagan. The hand is riding on the wall. Destruction, judgment is inevitable. Now, there are only two things that may possibly save us. All the other nations stand in the gospel around the earth, for we have the money to do it. All the other nations are bankrupt.
After the session, the ladies like to gather pecans in the hunt lawn. With many square miles of pecan groves, Mr. Hunt produces a large amount of the pecan requirements for the entire country. This is quite a sensitive area, Mr. Hunt, with you. Now, you've said how much you admire Al Smith and so on, but you know very well that many accusations are made against you. And one, of course, is that you do have taken anti-Catholic positions, and people recall that your pastor, Dr. Criswell, at the First Baptist Church, made a sermon before the 1960 Democratic Convention. And in it, he said, the election of a Catholic as president would mean the end of religious liberty in America. And that all led up to John Kennedy's coming down to Dallas and making the speech of the pastors and so on, as you remember. He answered that part of that sermon and so on. But you have that sermon printed and very widely distributed. Your expense. Could you regret doing that?
Well, there was a young man that was working for me that had some money to spend. And it was a matter that I was supporting Lyndon Johnson for the presidential nomination. And so he made their arrangements to have this sermon that you speak printed without showing who delivered it or something like that. So he was at fault. But it was your company that paid for the printing and paid for the distribution. No, it wasn't that way. He had the money. He had the money to spend for the benefit of Lyndon Johnson candidacy for the presidency in 1960. Well, then you don't believe that the election of a Catholic as president meant the end of religious liberty in America. I wouldn't agree with Reverend Chriswell's statement in that sermon back in 1960.
I don't want to speak critical of Dr. Chriswell. He's a highly constructive person. And naturally, I was a great admirer of Al Smith and also different from what a lot of people think. But I was a great admirer of Jack Kennedy. You are particularly sensitive about the reputation of your home city of Dallas, Texas, since the unhappy events of November in 1963, the merger of President Kennedy. And you have been concerned about the association of your name with other so-called members of the far right persuasion in reference to that event. Now, what is your opinion of the Warren Commission and its report on that tragic event? Well, a very unfavorable thing about the Warren Commission is that it was set up three days after the daily worker with a front page editorial called for it to be set up.
So that is a very unfavorable start for it. It was said to be bipartisan, but the members of it were five Republicans and two Democrats. And I don't think that it did a very good job. The Warren Commission spent a great deal of time investigating the political atmosphere of Dallas, proceeding and during President Kennedy's fightful visit. Here again is Mr. Charles Baker, Executive Director of the Institute of American Democracy. Well, this is the advertisement that greeted President Kennedy when he arrived in Mr. Hunts' hometown of Dallas. Welcome, Mr. Kennedy. And it has the right wing drivel, implying that the President Kennedy was somehow soft on communism, that many of his activities were accommodated. So signed by the American Fact Finding Committee, a typical device, it's a one-day committee, with a post office box, it was signed by a man by the name of Bernard Weisman, who does exist, he disappeared.
This ad was investigated by the Warren Commission because it contributed to the atmosphere which existed in Dallas, which had to be a play part in President Kennedy's assassination. One of the persons paying for the publication of this ad was a member of Mr. Hunts' family, not Mr. Hun himself, but a member of his family. An example of how it helped contribute to the atmosphere in which we have unsavory developments in place of healthy debate and healthy disagreement. The same member of the family also owns a portion of Robert Welch incorporated, which publishes American opinion, the John Birch Society magazine, which again illustrates that how these groups are all get interlinked. So that one hand tends to wash the other and what may look like the blatherings of a harmless old man here winds up with something, helping something considerably less appetizing over here.
I think that Mr. Hunts, if he didn't have so much money, would be a rather eccentric old gentleman that most of us would be glad to have for grandfather. His opinions are really relatively harmless, although period pieces when you come to his views and politics. The thing which makes him so dangerous really is the kinds of persons that he supports, the kinds of organizations who are much more extreme, much more dangerous than his own opinions would ever be. Mr. Hunts believes that everyone to the left of Calvin Coolidge is some kind of a scoundrel even if he's a president of the United States. And this eccentric opinion again is made dangerous for the fact that he banked roles groups that not only peddler's opinion, but attack the reputations and the integrity of anyone who believes that FDR was not a national disaster. Or at least white, the Eisenhower was a man of integrity and of service to the country.
It's a nice margin, of course, between personal opinion, which has a proper role, even if someone believes the moon is made of green cheese. And the bankrolling was unlimited resources, actually, even if they're not all used, of an attack on the integrity of people who don't hold this opinion. Are you at all irritated when your name is associated with that of General Edwin Walker as a fellow citizen of Dallas? No, I'm not saying that at all because he certainly is entitled to express himself and he has his philosophy on. How do you feel about the head of the John Burke Society, Robert Welch? Are you in accordance with his views? I am quite generally in favor of anyone that is fighting communism and as they have weaknesses, as they do things that I don't approve of, well then I still don't want to be critical of them. Do you think you have an unfair advantage over the average man in using your enormous wealth to communicate your ideas directly to people?
Isn't that a little unfair to the average man who can't get that biggest soapbox as you have? Well, I think that so long as I am spending money and spending effort in the cause of liberty, I think that I should be commended. I don't want you to brag on me, but I think I should be commended. HL Hunt, the richest man in America, and one of the biggest propagandists on the far right. To say HL Hunt as a business genius is an understatement, his ability to acquire and retain vast wealth is legendary among money who felt the touch of financial success and then let it slip through their fingers. In the business world, his sense of manipulation is uncanny. He has rarely been a loser.
What then motivates him, in his seventies, to wage the battle of the far right? Perhaps it's super patriotism. A simplistic view of the American way of life. Perhaps it's love of his wealth, the fear that the communists or socialists or even the liberals are plotting to take it away from him. Perhaps it's a combination of both. There is no way to determine the extent of HL Hunt's contribution to the far right organizations, but it does support the causes and the views of the far right. How effectively there is some question. There is no question that he prefers to go it alone, to run his own campaign. HL Hunt, the richest and the rightest. HL Hunt, the richest and the rightest.
This has been NET Journal. A weekly look at the events, issues and people of the world today. This is NET, the National Educational Television Network.
- NET Journal
- Episode Number
- Episode Number
- Producing Organization
- KUHT-TV (Television station : Houston, Tex.)
- Contributing Organization
- Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
- University of Houston (Houston, Texas)
- AAPB ID
- NOLA Code
- Episode Description
- Haroldson LaFayette Hunt is the American success, a grandfatherly Horatio Alger with a Dallas drawl. He was born in Illinois, son of a Confederate war veteran. Later he drifted west, worked at odd jobs, began speculating in cotton farmland, went broke, then arrived in the Southwest in time for the oil boom. There, after several failures, a single well in the East Texas oil fields became the basis of his success. Now, almost forty years later, he is perhaps Americas richest man. His business interests extend from food products to football, and from property to propaganda. It is in the latter area that he has earned his second reputation as the rightest man in America. He has backed a number of self-announced right-wing political causes, and he uses the media to make known his views (on liberty, freedom, piety, Americanism, and the constant threat of Communism). Such programs as Facts Forum, Life Line, and Answers for Americans all bear the HL Hunt sponsored trademark from sponsors message to political analysis. The views of HL Hunt? He has seldom voiced them publicly despite his fervor and his interest in the mass media. However, in a rare interview with James Fleming for KUHT, Houston, HL Hunt expresses himself candidly on his wealth, his politics, and his view of history in the following manner: About the John Birch Society he says, I am quite generally in favor of anyone that is fighting Communism and as they have weaknesses, as they do things that I dont approve of, why then I still dont want to be critical of them. About President Johnson he says, since he has been elected he has been dominated by the Negro contingent and labor and just three or four important minorities. About the mass media he says, the line should be drawn between people that love liberty and are for the freedom system and the society which has made America great and the newspapers, radio, TV stations, networks are largely in the hands of, well say, the enemy of that system. About the Warren Commission he says, it was set up three days after the Daily Worker called for it to be set up. So that is a very unfavorable start for it. About the presidency he says, he (Calvin Coolidge) turned in the last successful administration and then when asked why I say that, there was no subversive build-up during (his) seven years in office. Also appearing on the program are Dr. Franklin Littell, president of Iowa Wesleyan College and chairman of the Institute of American Democracy, and Charles Baker, executive director of IAD an organization devoted to opposing extremism of the right and left, according to the program. Mr. Baker discusses a derogatory advertisement placed in a Dallas newspaper on the day of President Kennedys visit. One of the persons paying for the publication of this ad was a member of Mr. Hunts family (This ad) helped contribute to the atmosphere in which we have unsavory developments instead of healthy debate and healthy disagreement. The same member of the family also owns a portion of Robert Welch, Incorporated, which published American Opinion, the John Birch Society magazine. Says Dr. Littell: Mr. Hunt, if he didnt have so much money, would be a rather eccentric old gentleman. The thing that makes him so dangerous really is the kind of persons he supports, the kinds of organizations who are much more extreme, much more dangerous than his opinions would ever be. NET Journal H. L. Hunt - The Richest and Rightest was produced for National Educational Television by KUHT, Houston. It runs approximately an hour and was originally recorded on videotape. It aired as NET Journal episode 149 on August 21, 1967 and as NET Journal episode 190 on June 3, 1968 (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
- Broadcast Date
- Broadcast Date
- Asset type
- Talk Show
- Media type
- Moving Image
Director: Bauer, James L.
Interviewee: Hunt, H. L.
Interviewee: Baker, Charles
Interviewee: Littell, Franklin
Producer: Weston, William
Producing Organization: KUHT-TV (Television station : Houston, Tex.)
Reporter: Fleming, James
Writer: Lodge, Arthur
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2441102-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2441102-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2441102-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2441102-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2441102-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
University of Houston
Identifier: ID 1997-006, AV Shelving (University of Houston)
Format: 16mm film
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- Chicago: “NET Journal; H. L. Hunt: The Richest and the Rightest,” 1968-06-03, Library of Congress, University of Houston, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-j96057dt9d.
- MLA: “NET Journal; H. L. Hunt: The Richest and the Rightest.” 1968-06-03. Library of Congress, University of Houston, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-j96057dt9d>.
- APA: NET Journal; H. L. Hunt: The Richest and the Rightest. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, University of Houston, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-j96057dt9d