Monday, March 3, 2008

`Times-Mirror-Newsday' Chandler Dynasty's Hidden History--Part 3

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

Control of Harry Chandler’s Times-Mirror Company was next passed on to his son, Norman Chandler, who began to expand the company after World War II by purchasing a television station, KTTV-Los Angeles, and new properties in Oregon which included forest land and paper companies. In addition to heading his newspaper media company after World War II, Norman Chandler also sat on the corporate boards of Kaiser Steel, Safeway Stores, Santa Fe Railroad, Pan American Airways and Dresser Industries. George Bush I’s father [and George W. Bush II’s grandfather] Prescott Bush, also sat on the board of directors of Pan American Airways and Dresser Industries around the same time. In 1954, the wife of Times-Mirror publisher Chandler, Dorothy Chandler, was also appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of California for a number of years.

In 1960, Norman Chandler’s then-32-year-old son, Otis Chandler, took over as the Los Angeles Times-Mirror publisher. Like his father and grandfather before him, Times-Mirror publisher Otis Chandler also combined the exercise of mass media power with sitting on the corporate boards of non-media corporations. In 1964, he joined the corporate board of Western Airlines. In 1965, Otis Chandler became a director of Union Bank. And by 1970—the same year that Chandler’s Times-Mirror purchased Newsday from Harry Guggenheim—Otis Chandler had holdings in oil, real estate, agribusiness and publishing and was also a director of Pan American Airways, TRW and Geo-Tech Resources. He also received income from three trust funds.

Soon after Newsday was purchased by Chandler’s Times-Mirror, Otis Chandler attempted to influence editorial policy on war-peace issues. According to the book `Newsday': A Candid History of the Respectable Tabloid by Robert Keeler, a Times-Mirror-Newsday editorial staff member, “Chandler didn’t hesitate to comment on the tone of the paper’s editorials” and “Chandler strongly criticized” a 1971 editorial that supported “a bill to create a congressional inquiry into American war crimes in Vietnam.” Between 1970 and 1978, the minutes of all Times-Mirror-Newsday staff meetings were also sent to its Los Angeles corporate headquarters by its local publisher, William Attwood.

Downtown asked then-New York Newsday Managing Editor Toedtman in 1991 how much influence the Los Angeles office of Times-Mirror had over New York Newsday editorial policy during the early 1990s.

“Virtually none. None on a daily basis. The editorial content of the newspaper is determined locally to protect the integrity of the paper,” Toedtman answered.

When asked by Downtown whether the minutes of Newsday staff meetings were still sent to Los Angeles in the early 1990s , like in the 1970s, Toedtman replied: “No minutes of any meetings that I attend are either taken or mailed to Los Angeles. You’d have to ask the publisher” whether any minutes of staff meetings are currently sent out to the Los Angeles headquarters.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: Times-Mirror-Newsday’s Historic Corporate Connections

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