Saturday, March 8, 2008

`Times-Mirror-Newsday''s Shoreham/LILCO Nuclear Power Connection

(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 also acted as a public relations tool of the U.S. nuclear power industry and the deceased CIA Director Casey’s LILCO utility company in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. When LILCO first revealed its plans to build what many felt to be an unsafe nuclear power plant at Shoreham in 1965, the newspaper endorsed the idea. When then-Suffolk County Executive John Klein expressed opposition to building a Jamesport nuclear power plant on Long Island. Times-Mirror-Newsday attacked him editorially. Times-Mirror-Newsday developed a cozy relationship with LILCO in the 1970s, according to Keeler’s Newsday book:

“By 1979, Newsday had developed a reputation as a good friend of LILCO. Privately (local publisher) Bill Attwood regularly ate meals at the Westbury Manor during the 1970s with the chairman of LILCO John J. Tuohy…When Attwood’s son, Peter, was graduated from college and started to look for work in the computer field, Tuohy arranged an interview for him, and LILCO hired him. Later, when Newsday moved to Melville, LILCO bought the old Newsday Garden City plant, for future expansion of a substation. Publicly, the editorials kept up a steady drumbeat of support for the nuclear plant (at Shoreham).”

Even after the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in the late 1970s revealed the unsafe nature of U.S. nuclear power plants, Times-Mirror-Newsday still declared, editorially, according to Keeler’s Newsday book, that “despite all the shortcomings, continuing work on Shoreham still appears to be the best way to meet Long Island’s short-term energy needs.”

Although the Times-Mirror-Newsday conglomerate earned a gross income exceeding $3 billion per year in the early 1990s and posed as a journalistic watchdog of government institutions, it had sought government financial subsidies whenever it could get them. After building a new $44 million printing plant in the town of Hempstead which opened in October 1979, for example, Times-Mirror-Newsday applied for a tax abatement from the New York State government’s “Job Incentive Board” and was granted a tax abatement by the government.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

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