Monday, April 16, 2007

Xymphora/The Forward: A handful of extreme billionaires control the media

Good morning, class:
The question for today is:
Is Canadian blogger Xymphora correct when he writes that a "handful of extreme Zionist Jewish Billionaires control much of the American media, and use such control to influence American politics?"
Take out your notebooks, and in 150 words or more explain why you think he's right or wrong.
-- Ronald

Xymphora wrote:
Lobbyology 101: Media Control
Thursday, April 12, 2007
It is apparently the height of anti-Semitism to point out that a handful of extreme Zionist Jewish Billionaires control much of the American media, and use such control to influence American politics. Sam Zell is probably about to own the Tribune Company, which owns 23 television stations and many newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, From an article in the Forward on Zell (emphasis throughout in red):

“The Chicago Tribune, the company’s flagship publication, has had a famously antagonistic relationship with the Jewish community in Chicago – historically because of its right-wing, isolationist stance during World War II, and more recently because of its critical coverage of Israel. Newspaper watchers say that Zell and the Tribune will be an interesting mix.”


“Even before the Tribune went with Zell’s bid to take the company private, it was clear that the white, Anglo-Saxon culture of the Tribune would be challenged by a Jewish businessman. The major bidder besides Zell was Los Angeles Jewish businessman Eli Broad and his business partner, Ronald Burkle, (who has widely but wrongly been described as Jewish). The deal for the Tribune is not closed, and Broad and Burkle still could be able to best Zell’s offer of $34 a share.

Another Jewish businessman, Hollywood supermogul David Geffen, is said to be in talks now with Zell to buy control of the Los Angeles Times. The Times is the largest single property owned by the Tribune and has a contentious history with the Los Angeles Jewish community, strikingly similar to the Tribune’s in Chicago.”

and (on the hilarious ‘debate’ on whether Zell’s ultra-Zionist politics will end up influencing the newspapers):

“Given that Zell appears to be close to closing the deal for the Tribune, much media scrutiny has shifted toward how his background might shape the papers. One question that is asked frequently is whether Zell will follow the model of Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, who has pressed his political views on his media properties, or whether he will concentrate only on the business side.

In an interview with the Tribune last week, Zell suggested that he would not be involved editorially. ‘Do I look naive enough to think I have any influence about what people write?’ Zell asked in his blunt fashion.

Still, Zell has made it clear that he does have an interest in the things his new media properties cover. In the interview last week, he said that his favorite newspaper columnists are Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks, all of whom are Jewish and two of whom write frequently and sympathetically about Israel.

Zell himself is a major donor to causes in the Middle East. His donations include a $3.1 million donation to the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center in Israel and separate donations to the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress, a right-wing Israeli think tank. In the United States, he has given major gifts to such Jewish causes as the American Jewish Committee and a Chicago Jewish day school named after his father. All this is on top of his political donations, which have gone mostly to Republican candidates.”


“Ken Reich, a former Los Angeles Times reporter who operates a blog about the paper, said he assumes that Zell will shape the policy of his papers to some degree.

‘If he cares about the State of Israel, he won’t want his newspaper to be out there chipping away at Israeli interests,’ said Reich, who reported mostly on politics during his 39 years at the Times.

Reich said that at the Times, shifting the editorial policy would require only that Zell be consulted in the hiring of the new editorial page editor – a position that was recently vacated.

‘It would not take very much tweaking by him to sharply alter the Times editorial policy on the Middle East,’ Reich said. ‘I tend to expect this to happen.’”


“Zell’s arrival at the Tribune has been met with some disappointment in Los Angeles. That has included newspaper staffers who have expressed anxiety over the financial deal structured by Zell whereby he uses employee pensions to finance most of the deal, putting in only $315 million himself and pushing much of the risk onto the employees.” (Xymphora's emphasis in red)

Seth writes:
In a message dated 4/16/2007 3:23:45 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks, all of whom are Jewish and two of whom write frequently and sympathetically about Israel

Krauthammer is one of the key neo-con ideologues. He is a far-right fanatic--you cannot get any worse than this wheelchair bound psychiatrist (Dr Sttrangelove type) --except--maybe--neo-con Mussulini admiirer and Ollie North partner during contra affair Michael Ledeen. I think Kauthammer still claims Iraq was
involved in 9--11, and strongly advocates bombing Iran. Friedman--a centrist Zionist--is far-left compared to Krauthammer. He originsally supported Iraq war, but later had second thoughts
Anyone whose favorite columnists include CK is not going to take a laiisez fauire position: It won't b e long befpre Chicago Tribune reads like the NY Post. There will be some purges at the Tribune.

Carl wrote:
Dear Ronald
It's an empirical question that can be researched --- once you have definitions of 'handful', 'extreme', 'Zionist', 'Jewish', and 'much'. "Billionaires' seems unambiguous enough although one can be quite influential with somewhat less.
Also, ownership is only part of the problem. Advertisers have influence, official sources are the providers of the basic commodity of the news media: news stories, and, last -- but by no means least: accusations of antisemitism are a handy way of dealing with independent journalists.
Sorry, I don't think I've used enough words.

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