Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Columbia University's Washington Post Company/`Newsweek' Link & `Newsweek' Magazine's Historical CIA Connection--Part 7

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger ( ) currently sits between RAND Corporation Board of Trustees Chairman Ronald Olson and Coca-Cola Company board member Barry Diller on the Washington Post Company media conglomerate’s board of directors. Following is the final part of an article about the Washington Post Company and Newsweek magazine’s hidden history which first appeared in the February 17, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper, Downtown:

Newsweek Magazine’s Historical CIA Connection—Part 7

During the first 12 years that the Meyer-Graham Dynasty’s Washington Post Company owned Newsweek, “no women were hired at Newsweek as writers,” according to Up From The Footnote: A History of Women Journalists by Marion Marzolf. The same book also noted that in March 1970, 46 of Newsweek’s women researchers and reporters “charged that magazine with a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

As late as the 1990s, Newsweek still didn’t appear that eager to promote many women to its top positions. Newsweek’s editor-in-chief, its president, its editor and its managing editor were all still men, as were most of its senior editors and contributing editors, its director of photography, its director of administration, its operations director and its picture editor.

Coincidentally, after the Women’s Action Committee [WAC] printed a one-page parody of Newsweek’s “Conventional Wisdom” section, one of Newsweek’s corporate lawyers “sent a threatening letter to Mary Dorman, the lawyer for the Women’s Action Coalition,” according to Jim Windolf of the New York Observer.

The Washington Post was also not too quick to end job discrimination in its editorial offices. Although well over 50 percent of Washington, D.C.’s residents were African-American in the early 1970s, only 37 of the Washington Post’s 396 newsroom employees were African-American in 1972. In response to this institutional racism, seven of its African-American employees filed a discrimination complaint against the Washington Post with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] and “The EEOC’s local office issued a finding of discrimination on the basis of race,” according to The `Washington Post’: The First 100 Years. In 1986, the Washington Post was also accused of publishing a racist article in its Sunday magazine and “hundreds of demonstrators…massed in front of the Post, dumped copies of the magazine and demanded an end to its publication,” according to The Press by Ellis Cose.

The Washington Post was also accused of institutional sexism. In 1974, for instance, the newspaper was “charged in an EEOC finding with discrimination against women particularly in promotion opportunities,” and, as late as 1976, only 20 percent of all of its newsroom employees were women, according to The`Washington Post’: The First 100 Years. As late as July 14, 1988, the Wall Street Journal reported that the “Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild has accused The Washington Post of discriminating against employees on the basis of race, sex, age and national origin.”

Although the Washington Post Company hired replacement workers when it busted one of its Washington Post newspaper unions during a 1975-76 strike, during the early 1990s it was quite generous when it came to paying out salaries to its top management. Washington Post Company Director Richard Simmons, for instance, took home an annual salary of about $506,000 in the early 1990s. A Washington Post Company Division president named Howard Wall was paid an annual salary of about $423,000 in the early 1990s, while a baby-boom generation executive vice-president of the Washington Post Company named Alan Spoon was being paid an annual salary of $405,000 by the early 1990s.

Members of the Meyer-Graham Dynasty were also not shy during the early 1990s about paying themselves hefty salaries from their family business, in addition to receiving dividends from their company stock. The now-deceased former Chairman of the Board, Katharine Meyer-Graham, for instance, paid herself an annual salary of $554,986 in the early 1990s. And her son—current Washington Post Company Chairman of the Board and Columbia University Pulitzer Prize Board Member Donald Graham—was paid an annual salary exceeding $324,996 for being the media conglomerate’s president and chief executive office during the early 1990s.

Although Newsweek often claims to be against censorship, a strange thing happened, ironically, after the first edition of Katharine The Great by Deborah Davis was published in 1979. Six weeks after its release by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, that company’s president, William Jovanovich, “withdrew the book from bookstores and ordered all remaining copies shredded” so that 20,000 copies of the book were converted into waste paper. Volume 129 of Contemporary Authors noted that it was widely believed at the time “that the withdrawal of Davis’s book was the result of pressure from the executives of the Washington Post, led by Graham herself.” A second edition of Katharine The Great was only allowed to be published in 1987 by a different publisher after author Davis sued Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1982 for breach of contract and an out-of-court settlement was reached. (end of article)

(Downtown 2/17/93)

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