(The following article about Times-Mirror-Newsday’s hidden history was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. In May 2008 the Tribune Company announced the sale of its Newsday subsidiary to the Cablevision media conglomerate. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)
Times-Mirror-Newsday has not been reluctant to function as an organizing tool of the Long Island power structure, historically. According to Keeler’s Newsday book, in its May 31, 1978 issue, “Newsday concluded that Long Island needed a formal power structure to make choices for the island’s future” and so Times-Mirror-Newsday’s then-Suffolk County Editor, Robert Greene, “pulled together a group that became known as the Long Island Action Committee.” According to the same book, “It was Greene who called up Long Island leaders, Greene who chose the influential Republican, William Casey, as its initial chairman, Greene who sold Casey to others, and Greene who hovered over the committee’s early meetings.”
A few years later, the initial chairman of Times-Mirror-Newsday’s “Long Island Action Committee,” the now-deceased William Casey, was named by then-President Ronald Reagan to be his CIA director. As Reagan’s CIA director, Casey helped organize the U.S.-backed Contra War against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and supplied CIA satellite-gathered military intelligence to Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military machine during the Iraqi-Iran war of the 1980s.
The day before Casey was to testify before a U.S. Senate Committee in December 1986 on his role in arranging for the sale of arms to Iran to raise funds for the Nicaraguan Contras, in violation of a congressional law, he was hospitalized. In May 1987, the day before a congressional hearing witness testified that Casey was involved in the “Contragate” scandal, the 74-year-old former Fordham University Trustee and Long Island Trust Company, LILCO and Capital Cities Communications director died.
In 1970, the deceased CIA Director Casey, himself, had attempted to purchase Newsday prior to the finalizing of Harry Guggenheim’s sale of the newspaper to the Times-Mirror Company. Casey was both one of the original investors and a director of the Capital Cities Communications media conglomerate and he visited Bill Moyers around this time and told Moyers that Capital Cities Communications could offer Guggenheim $20 million or $30 million more than Times-Mirror for Newsday. Although Guggenheim went ahead with the sale of Newsday to Los Angeles’ Times-Mirror, when Casey was CIA Director in the 1980s his Capital Cities Communications Company was able to gobble up an even more influential mass media institution than Newsday—a television broadcasting conglomerate named ABC [before the Disney media conglomerate subsequently purchased Capital Cities Communications/ABC during the 1990s].
Prior to managing Reagan’s successful 1980 campaign for the presidency, Times-Mirror-Newsday’s friend Casey had worked in former U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ law firm of Rogers & Well. Among the law firm clients whom Casey had billed for his services during the five years before he moved into his CIA director’s office were the following: Saudi American Lines, international Crude Oil Refining Company, the Government of Indonesia and the Republic of Korea. As Reagan’s CIA director until he died, Casey continued to share ownership of over $3 million worth of stock in companies like Dome Petroleum, Kerr-McGee, Standard Oil of Indiana, Mobil-Superior Oil, DuPont, and Exxon, according to the book Reagan’s Ruling Class by Ronald Brownstein and Nina Easton.
Next: Times-Mirror-Newsday’s Shoreham/LILCO Nuclear Power Connection Historically
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