Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Hidden History of The Tribune Company's Times-Mirror-Newsday--Part 1

(The following article about the Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday division was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown)

“Of all the Guggenheim investments the most profitable has been the Times-Mirror Corp. which bought Harry’s Newsday for $75 million in 1970. Since that sale the value of the Times-Mirror stock that various Guggenheim individuals and institutions received has increased ten-fold and could possibly exceed $1 billion by the mid-1990s.” (John Davis in The Guggenheims 1848-1988: An American Epic)

“It is my opinion that the nation’s newspaper press is doing basically, a most comprehensive job of self-censorship in the nation’s best interest.” (Times-Mirror-Newsday Director Otis Chandler in 1961)

Laurance Rockefeller’s senior associate since 1973, Clayton Frye Jr., was one of the directors of Los Angeles’s Times-Mirror-Newsday mass media conglomerate in 1991. Frye sat on the Audit Committee and Finance Committee of the Times-Mirror-Newsday corporate board. Times-Mirror-Newsday Director Frye also was a director in 1991 of Rockefeller & Company, Inc., whose office was then located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan.

Downtown asked in 1991 the then-communications director of Rockefeller Financial Services, George Taylor, whether any connection then existed between Rockefeller & Company and the newspaper Newsday.

“First of all, there is absolutely no connection between Rockefeller & Company and Newsday,” Taylor answered.

Downtown also asked Taylor in 1991 why then-Rockefeller & Company Director Frye sat on the board of Newsday’s then-parent company, Times-Mirror.

“As to Mr. Frye’s membership on the Times-Mirror board, it’s a personal association of his own. The board of directors is a diversified group of people,” Taylor replied.

Asked by Downtown to describe what kind of business Rockefeller & Company Inc. engages in, Taylor said that “Rockefeller & Company is a registered investment company.” He could not say whether Rockefeller & Company invested in Times-Mirror in 1991 because “any of its holdings are confidential.”

When Downtown then asked whether Times-Mirror Director Frye was Laurance Rockefeller’s representative on the Times-Mirror corporate board, Taylor replied:

“Mr. Frye is a senior associate of Mr. Laurance Rockefeller. But Mr. Frye’s connection to Times-Mirror is purely on his own. As a matter of fact, he spent more than 15 years on the board of another company that later became part of Times-Mirror, which is why he’s now on the Times-Mirror board.”

According to Taylor, “Rockefeller Financial Services is the personal office of the Rockefeller family” and Rockefeller & Company operates under the Rockefeller Financial Services umbrella.

[The now-defunct] New York Newsday’s then-managing editor, James Toedtman was a former editor of the Baltimore News-American who worked for Newsday in the 1960s and for the Boston Herald-American in the early 1980s. According to Toedtman, with regard to Rockefeller family special influence on Newsday in 1991, there was “absolutely none. We don’t do special coverage of the Rockefeller family” activity in New York.

But the Rockefeller family and its associates still exercised much power over New York daily and U.S. political life in the early 1990s. Yet the Times-Mirror-Newsday newspapers rarely informed their readers about how Rockefeller power makes their influence felt in defense of Rockefeller family corporate interests or oil company investments in either New York, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait during the early 1990s.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: The Hidden History Of The Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday—Part 2

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