Saturday, December 29, 2007

City Planning Commission's Amanda Burden, PBS's Charlie Rose & Columbia Expansion

Because family members of New York City Planning Commission Chairperson Amanda Burden used to sit on the board of trustees of Columbia University, it’s not surprising that Amanda Burden recently pushed the New York City Planning Commission to rubber-stamp Columbia University’s latest campus expansion and land-grabbing real estate development scheme in West Harlem, north of West 125th Street. And since Charlie Rose was apparently involved in an on-and-off personal relationship with Amanda Burden, it’s also not surprising that critics of the Burden family, the New York City Planning Commission and Columbia University’s undemocratic attempt to impose its expansion plan on West Harlem neighborhood residents haven’t been given much airtime on Charlie Rose’s boring PBS evening television talk-show.

A former wife of Duke University School of Law graduate Charlie Rose apparently played a key role in helping the former Bankers Trust corporate manager to move from the unglamorous, intellectually dull world of banking into the more glamorous, intellectually dull world of commercial TV broadcasting in 1972. As Current Biography revealed in its January 1995 issue:

“Through his [then] wife, who was doing research for the CBS television show 60 Minutes, Rose became friendly with people employed in broadcasting…After his [then] wife was hired by the BBC (in the United States), he handled some assignments for the British Broadcasting Service on a freelance basis. In 1972, while continuing to work at Bankers Trust, he landed a job as a weekend reporter on WPIX-TV…In 1974, [LBJ’s former press secretary Bill] Moyers telephoned Rose, after Rose’s wife spoke to Moyers about him at a social gathering…Within weeks he began working as the managing editor of the PBS series Bill Moyers’ International Report…"

Channel 13/ WNET-TV’s decision to allow Rose to monopolize its late night TV talk-show time-slot in September 1991 was apparently unilaterally made by former Westinghouse Group W Television Inc. President Bill Baker—after Rose, “acting on a friend’s suggestion,” approached Baker “with a proposal for a new interview show,” according to the January 1995 issue of Current Biography.

(Downtown 2/15/95)

Charlie Rose has been hosting his PBS-syndicated late evening TV talk-show that originated from the “non-commercial” studios of Channel 13/WNET in Midtown Manhattan since the early 1990s. Yet before 1991, Rose was more into commercial TV than public television. Between 1984 and the early 1990s, for instance, Rose worked for the commercially-oriented CBS News organization in Washington, D.C. as the host-interviewer of its CBS News Night Watch program. During the 1970s, Rose also worked in the world of U.S. Establishment commercial TV at Channel 11-WPIX-TV in Manhattan and for NBC News.

(Downtown 8/18/93)

Historically, Charlie Rose’s late-night PBS talk show was subsidized by a foundation whose surplus wealth was derived from its New York City real estate industry investments. In 1994, the Astor Foundation gave a $150,000 grant to Channel 13/WNET “toward production costs for `The Charlie Rose Show'”; and in 1995 an additional $75,000 grant was dished out by the Astor Foundation to Channel 13/WNET to sponsor Charlie Rose’s TV show. An article that appeared in Downtown’s Feb. 17, 1993 issue, “Newsweek Magazine’s CIA Connection,” made the following reference to Vincent Astor and the Astor Foundation:

“Vincent Astor became…Newsweek’s chairman of the board and its principal stockholder between 1937 and his death in 1959…Astor inherited a fortune…which included $63 million worth of real estate, such as the Waldorf-Astoria, the Hotel Astor, the St. Regis, Astor Place and office and apartment buildings in Manhattan. During the 1920s, Astor sold about half of the family’s real estate holdings in New York City for $40 million…By the time he died the estate which he left the Vincent Astor Foundation had an estimated value of $123 million…Astor also built oil drilling barges for off-shore oil ventures in the Southwest, was a director of American Express, Western Union, Chase National Bank and railroad companies…and was the largest shareholder and a director of the United States Line shipping company.”

In the pre-CIA era of U.S. history, Astor also apparently acted as a spy for Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. As The Astors 1973-1992 by Derek Wilson recalled:

“Roosevelt…set up his own secret intelligence unit headed by Washington journalist John Carter…He dispatched…fact-finding missions…commanded by Vincent Astor. The…cruises of [Astor’s yacht] Nourmahal provided a perfect cover for espionage.”

(Downtown 2/5/97)

In the 21st-century, a corporation that has been the target of a “Stop Killer Coke” global boycott because of its anti-labor policies and environmentally destructive policies, Coca-Cola, has apparently also been involved in helping to fund Charlie Rose’s mainstream media work.

Next: Did LBJ Know JFK Was To Be Eliminated In 1963?