Saturday, October 27, 2007

Time Warner/Time Inc.'s Historic Political Role

The late 1990 cheerleading role that Time magazine played in supporting the U.S. military build-up in Saudi Arabia [like its early 2003 cheerleading role in supporting the 21st-century U.S. military intervention in Iraq] is not inconsistent with Time Inc.’s historic role. In his The Powers That Be book, David Halberstam characterized the role that Time magazine played in generating support for the mid-1960s U.S. military build-up in Vietnam:

“Throughout the Vietnam War, Time did much of its heavy-duty advocacy through the Press section, attacking anyone critical of the war, praising anyone who liked it, and it was frequently and often brutally employed.”

Halberstam’s book also noted how the U.S. president who prolonged U.S. military intervention in Indochina after 1968—before being forced to resign over the “Watergate Affair” in 1974—was promoted by Time magazine in the 1950s:

“Certainly Time, during the crucial early years of Nixon’s career, took pain to portray him as the bright young fellow on the rise, filled with all the best of American virtues. `Fighting Quaker,’ Time typically titled an early cover story.”

Before Henry Luce died, there was some fear in Time Inc. management circles that the media corporation would have difficulty surviving without Luce’s autocratic leadership. For this reason, according to Halberstam’s book, news of Luce’s 1958 heart attack was suppressed by Time magazine “for fear that it would harm the Time Inc. stock.” But after Luce’s death in 1967, Time Inc. prospered and purchased Warner Communications in 1989 for $14 billion to form the Time Warner global media conglomerate.

(Downtown 10/24/90)

Next: Time Warner and 1990s Media Monopolization