Thursday, July 31, 2008

`Colombia Jail Journal': A Review

Colombia Jail Journal : A Review

James Monaghan, Dingle Co. Kerry, Ireland: Brandon Books (2007)

For nearly three years, Sinn Fein activist James Monaghan was held inside various Colombia jails, along with two other Sinn Fein supporters, and falsely charged by the Colombian army, the U.S. State Department and the British government with having spent his time in Colombia giving military training to FARC guerrillas. In Colombia Jail Journal Monaghan both tells what life was like for "The Colombia Three" inside Colombia's prisons and exposes how the Colombian government, the U.S. Embassy and the UK government fabricated their case against the three Irish Republicans, who were ultimately found innocent by a Colombia court judge of "training FARC guerrillas in Colombia."

In the prologue to his book, Monaghan admits that "The Colombia Three" were "traveling using passports in different people's names to hide our real identities" when they were arrested on August 11, 2001 by soldiers of the Colombian army at Bogota’s Airport. But in Chapter 1, Monaghan indicates that between the time he and the two other Irish Republicans--Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley--arrived in Colombia "towards the end of June 2001" and their August 11, 2001 arrest, all they ever did was visit the de-militarized zone where peace talks between FARC and the Colombian government were being held, and just discussed politics with senior FARC people (as did foreign visitors from countries other than Ireland). In addition, "when we were not involved in a discussion, which was a lot of the time, we explored the roads and forest," writes Monaghan.

So in Chapter 2, Monaghan describes how surprised he was when, after being taken to a Colombian Army Interrogation Center and given a fabricated forensic test by "an American expert from the Embassy," he, Connolly and McCauley were suddenly accused of being "top explosives experts from the IRA, in Colombia to train the FARC."

Having been falsely accused of training FARC members, the "Colombia Three" were then faced with the problem of surviving inside Colombia's prison system. Besides including imprisoned left-wing FARC guerrillas (who would likely try to protect the three Irish Republicans for internationalist solidarity reasons), Colombia's prison population also included many imprisoned members of the right-wing paramilitary death squads who might regard the "Colombia Three" as legitimate targets for assassination while they were imprisoned, because of the false "trainers of FARC" allegations. Much of the book includes a description of the various ways Monaghan, Connolly and McCauley and their supporters inside and outside the prison walls minimized the risk of them being killed in prison, while they were awaiting a trial that would clear their names.

Besides describing the hardships and human rights violations he experienced along with the other prisoners who are incarcerated within Colombia's high-security prisons (which are under the supervision of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons), Monaghan also describes the individual personalities, life histories and daily activities of the various imprisoned Colombians he encounters during his time in Colombia's jails. In addition, Monaghan mixes into the book some description of the historic and current political situation in Colombia and the anti-democratic role that the U.S. government has played in Colombia historically and currently, written from an anti-imperialist political perspective.

While inside Colombia's high-security jails, Monaghan also filled up his time prior to his trial by getting into painting and drawing. Interspersed throughout the book are sketches of scenes inside the Colombia prisons, portraits of visitors and some of the people with whom Monaghan was imprisoned, and images of some of the cards he painted while in prison.

If you don't know very much about how the political system and the U.S. Embassy in Colombia currently operates and want to learn what actually goes on inside the high-security prison walls of Colombia, you should definitely add James Monaghan's inspiring, exciting, and perceptively-written Colombia Jail Journal book to the Latin American section of your bookshelf.

Next: During July and early August 2008 of the summer vacation, I’ll only be blogging on this site about once a week. So the next post, “Why Yippies & Abbie Protested At Democratic National Convention In ‘68“, won’t be posted until August 7, 2008.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Australian Antiwar Activist Joan Coxsedge's Autobiography: A Review of `Cold Tea For Brandy'

In a book Joan Coxsedge co-authored in 1982, Rooted In Secrecy, the Australian antiwar activist--who was a member of Victoria’s Legislative Council between 1979 and 1992--described Australia’s hidden 20th-century history and revealed the role clandestine agencies play in Australian political life. And in her 1986 book, Thank God for the Revolution, Coxsedge exposed in vivid terms how U.S. imperialism’s intervention in Central America’s internal political affairs, historically and under the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, led to the massacres of thousands of civilians in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

But in her recently-published autobiography, Cold Tea For Brandy: A Tale of Protest, Painting and Politics (Balwyn North, Victoria, Australia: Vulcan Press, 2007), Coxsedge not only continues to reveal more of Australia’s hidden history and expose more about the crimes of U.S. imperialism around the globe. She also reveals how she came to be one of the great Australian anti-imperialist left-wing dissidents of the 20th century and exposes how difficult it is to radically democratize Australian society through parliamentary means alone. In addition, Coxsedge lets us know how it felt, personally, to be an antiwar activist, an anti-imperialist elected official and a politically-conscious painter for so many years since the early 1960s.

After opening her book with a poem, “The Grand Finale,” that concisely summarizes what she found, saw and did as an elected member of the Upper House of Victoria’s state parliament, Coxsedge recalls how surprised she was when she was first elected “against all the odds” and “with the narrowest of margins;” and how her legislative office “became a community resource for local campaigns and those of the global variety, involving people from the four corners of the earth.” Then Coxsedge, who was born in 1931, describes her working-class family background and what it was like growing up in Australia during the Great Depression and World War II.

Neither of Coxsedge’s parents were political activists, although her father, Roy Rochester, “voted Labor all his life.” So Coxsedge “had to find” her “own way through the political jungle.” Yet, ironically, the left-wing leader of the International Longshoreman and Warehouseman’s Union (ILWU) during much of the 20th century, Harry Bridges, had grown up around the corner from where Coxsedge’s monarchist grandmother lived in inner Melbourne’s since-gentrified Kensington neighborhood.

Despite contracting a mild case of polio when she was six, Coxsedge soon recovered and, by the time she went to High School (unlike the majority of Australian working-class students before 1950), she participated actively in sports like hockey, tennis and swimming. Coxsedge also almost died at five years when a local incompetent doctor misdiagnosed her ruptured appendix.

Coxsedge next describes what it was like working as a probationary nurse in Melbourne after she graduated from high school in 1949. But after a learner car-driver rammed into her while she was riding her bicycle, Coxsedge was injured so badly that she no longer was able to lift heavy patients and had to give up her nursing job. Instead, she spent the early 1950s working as an assistant survey draftswoman for a state government agency that developed public housing projects, while taking art classes at night; until she met and married in 1953 an ex-British World War II veteran who had recently immigrated to Australia.

After briefly describing what it was like working as a paralegal for a left-liberal law firm in Australia and then raising a family of three in the 1950s and early 1960s, Coxsedge then takes her readers into the meat of her book, which is a kind of people’s history of the Australian left since the 1960s, as reflected in her own political and cultural activism and writing since the mid-1960s.

She takes her readers first inside the 1960s Australian antiwar movement during the Vietnam War Era and into the women’s prison where she was jailed for awhile for engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience. Then she takes you into the world of socialist left parliamentary politics, before recalling the experiences she had after she decided to start exposing in the 1970s the role that secret police and foreign intelligence agencies were playing in Australian domestic politics. Next Coxsedge provides her readers with a perceptive look at the development of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia during the 1970s, before describing in more detail her life as an elected state parliamentary representative.

In the final portion of her autobiography, Coxsedge describes her post-1980 journeys around the globe, impressions and experiences in places like the Cook Islands, Libya, Central America, Cuba, Mexico, South America, Europe, Malaysia and the USA. At the same time, Coxsedge also provides her readers with short, capsule political histories of some of the countries to which she has travelled.

As a bonus for the reader, Cold Tea For Brandy also includes images of Coxsedge’s sketches and paintings, as well as some photographs of her family members.

If you’re a U.S. antiwar reader who has never been “Down Under” and knows little about either Australian labor history or Australian antiwar movement history, then you’ll likely find Coxsedge’s autobiography—which is well-written in non-academic, jargon-free language—highly informative. And if the right-wing Australian-born global media mogul Rupert Murdoch has been the Australian historical figure you’ve been most familiar with since the 1970s, then you should definitely read Coxsedge’s politically inspirational autobiography. For Coxsedge has also been one of the Australian historical figure who has most courageously and consistently stood against the right-wing anti-democratic warmongering policies which Murdoch’s News Corporation/Fox News global media conglomerate has promoted in a journalistically unethical way for many years.

Next: During July and early August 2008 of the summer vacation, I’ll only be blogging on this site about once a week. So the next post, “Columbia Jail Journal: A Review“, won’t be posted until July 31, 2008.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obama's Hearst/Oprah Winfrey Connection

One of the Obama presidential campaign’s most influential and wealthiest supporters within the U.S. corporate media world—billionaire television talk-show host Oprah Winfrey—is a business partner of the Hearst Corporation media conglomerate that has attempted to monopolize mass media power in the U.S. for many years. As the 2004 book by Helen Garson, Oprah Winfrey: A Biography, observed:

“…In her magazine O, which she started in 2000 with the partnership of the Hearst Corporation, she emphasizes the possibilities of change…

“…Oprah’s magazine has been…successful from the very beginning…

“One of the most prominent bookseller chains in the country, Border’s, features O so prominently it would be difficult to get through the purchasing line without seeing the magazine as a special display…

“Oprah’s magazine was described by writer Patricia Sellers of Fortune as `the most successful magazine launch ever.’ Although it first appeared on U.S. newsstands in July 2000, it was expanded within the year to an international edition in June 2001. That edition is as glossy as the U.S. one and almost as huge…O is published jointly by the Hearst Corporation and Winfrey’s Harpo Entertainment Group. Following its American inaugural issue of 322 pages of extremely large print with a run of 1.6 million copies, the magazine grew to a readership of two and a half million within a short period of time. With annual revenues topping $140 million, it is a considerable part of the Harpo empire…”

And, according to a July 7, 2008 press release that was recently posted on the Hearst Corporation web site:

O, The Oprah Magazine..connects with more than 16 million readers every month…. O, The Oprah Magazine, which also publishes a South African edition, is a co-venture between Hearst Magazines, a unit of The Hearst Corporation, and Harpo Print, LLC. Hearst Magazines is a unit of Hearst Corporation and one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines, with nearly 200 editions around the world, including 19 U.S. titles and 20 magazines in the United Kingdom, published through its wholly owned subsidiary, The National Magazine Company Limited. Hearst reaches more adults than any other publisher of monthly magazines (75.6 million total adults).”
The Hearst Corporation business partner and television talk show host who campaigned alongside Obama during the recent Democratic Party presidential primary season is, individually, now worth about $2.5 billion. And--unlike most people in the United States--Billionaire Winfrey has apparently not personally experienced much economic insecurity or economic hardship for many years. As Oprah Winfrey: A Biography by Helen Garson revealed in 2004:

“In 1971, during the Nixon administration, when two students from each state and from foreign countries were chosen to attend a White House Conference on Youth, Oprah was one of Tennessee’s representatives…

“She left college without her degree, moving on to another job in the media, becoming a…co-anchor of evening news at a Baltimore, Maryland, station. Although several biographies state that Oprah graduated from college in 1976, the fact is that she did not…

“The syndication of her show was the most significant step to stardom, because it made her a national and soon thereafter an international figure. Renaming the program as The Oprah Winfrey Show was the act of the King Brothers Corporation, a company owned by two very well-known distributors who had purchased the show in September 1986. They soon saw to it that the program was on 137 stations nationwide…

“The King Brothers, Robert and Michael, are white, middle-aged men…who inherited a…syndicate business when their father, Charlie King, died…Most of their clients have been…game shows…

“…Forbes listed her as being one of the wealthiest people in America, and in September 1993 tabulated her wealth as $98 million, higher than the $72 million of producer Steven Spielberg…Her wealth is also more than the $66 million of Bill Cosby…Ten years later, 2003, when Forbes ranked the 100 richest people in the world, Oprah made the list…

“By 1986 Oprah had enough money to buy…a penthouse condominium on the lakefront, with a view from the fifty-seventh floor…The apartment contains…crystal chandeliers…Her enjoyment of luxury also runs to a $100,000 BMW car…

“Today she owns three other homes; her home in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, is a 160-acre farm with a 40-acre meadow…and a $2 million house…There are thoroughbred horses on the farm; and an additional feature is a helicopter pad. A famed architect…designed the villa for her 85-acre ranch outside of Telluride, a Colorado ski area…A third house is a 42-acre, $50 million estate with a 23,000 square foot mansion in Montecito, California…Rumor suggests that Oprah paid for her California home with a personal check. She also owns several beachfront lots on the island of Maui in Hawaii…to get from one place to another easily, she bought a jet plane…

“Oprah’s growing wealth permitted her to make an even more important purchase. She acquired ownership and control of the Oprah Winfrey Show from the Chicago ABC-TV station WLS and formed the company Harpo, which she will not allow to go public…

“She is chairman and chief executive of the Harpo Entertainment Group…By the year 2002 Harpo was estimated by Fortune magazine to be worth $575 million, with Oprah as owner of 90 percent of the stock…

“…Barbra Streisand suggested that she have everyone who works for her sign privacy agreements…The result of following Streisand’s advice is that all information concerning Oprah’s operations is very limited and centrally controlled. Confidentiality is strongly pursued in all of Oprah’s undertakings. Even guests on her show or their families will not share information with outsiders, no matter how innocuous…”

After the Random House/Crown Publishers/Alfred Knopf subsidiary division of another media conglomerate, Germany’s Bertelsmann AG, gave Barack Obama a $1.7 million two-book contract following his 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, Winfrey also apparently used her television talk-show to help Obama market one of his new books. As Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell noted in his 2007 book Obama: From Promise To Power:

“In October 2006 came the…release of Obama’s second book…A major publicity campaign was undertaken, with Obama…appearing on seemingly every major network talk show, capped by an appearance with Michelle [Robinson-Obama] on Oprah. Book sales boomed…Obama’s book hit the top spot in sales…The day after the November [2006] election, in which the Democrats took control of Congress, Obama and his advisers began meeting in [Obama campaign media consultant David] Axelrod’s office…to discuss seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency…”

So, given the Obama presidential campaign’s apparent connection to the Hearst Dynasty’s media conglomerate and Billionaire Winfrey, don’t expect a Democratic Obama Administration to do very much to democratically redistribute the mass media power and the surplus wealth of the Hearst Dynasty and its billionaire business partners in 2009.

Next: During July and August 2008 of the summer vacation, I’ll only be blogging on this site about once a week. So the next post, “Australian Antiwar Activist Joan Coxsedge’s Autobiography:A Review of Cold Tea And Brandy” won’t be posted until July 24, 2008. On to Denver and St. Paul! Peace Now and Amnesty For All U.S. Political Prisoners in 2008!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hearst's `Cosmopolitan' And The Politics Of Dynastic Media Monopolization

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

When it comes to editorial quality, Hearst’s Cosmopolitan may still not be too intellectually cosmopolitan these days. But when your magazine is chained to the Hearst Dynasty’s mass media chain, you’d better not be too intellectually cosmopolitan—or you might start wondering, in the interest of a healthy Democracy, why such a huge media company with all of the influence inherent to it, is still owned by just one small, extended family? Or you might wonder how democratic it is for someone like Patty “Tania” Hearst to still be slated to inherit over $100 million worth of Big Media stock in the 21st-Century?

But during the early 1990s, William Randolph Randolph Hearst Jr. seemed very pleased with his family’s position in the U.S. Big Media industry set-up. As he wrote in 1991:

“Every day millions of Americans read one of our many newspapers, magazines, other periodicals,…or books. They watch our TV stations and cable programming…Millions of others around the world read our overseas publications as well as view our broadcasters. Our comics and other features span the globe.”

Heil, Hearst!

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Obama’s Hearst/Oprah Winfrey Connection

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Hearst Dynasty's Inherited Wealth In The 1990s

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

During the 1980s, the amount of inherited wealth that the Hearst media conglomerate continued to generate for the Hearst family continued to increase dramatically. In 1987, for example, the 40 or so living descendants of William Randolph Hearst I then divided up about $40 million it received from the Hearst Corporation’s barrel of net profits that year. As previously indicated, by the 1990s the Hearst Dynasty owned 100 percent of the Hearst Corporation’s stock and in 1991 William Randolph Jr. wrote that “I believe the company can remain intact and privately-owned for the next 30 years or so” and “our revenues and operating income are now triple what they were at the start of the 1980s.”

As a result of the Hearst media conglomerate’s expansion and increased profitability under Hearst Corporation’s then-President Frank Bennack’s management during the Reagan Era, by the 1990s Hearst family members were even much richer than they were at the time the SLA “arrested” Patty Hearst. As Downtown noted in its December 18, 1991 issue, Patty Hearst’s father, then-Hearst Corporation Chairman of the Board Randolph Hearst, was personally worth $875 million in 1991, as was Patty Hearst’s uncle, William Randolph Hearst Jr. Four other grandchildren of William Randolph Hearst I—David Whitmore Hearst Jr., Phoebe Hearst Jr., Millicent V. Baoudjakedji and George Randolph Hearst Jr.—were also each personally worth $440 million in 1991. [2008 update: Currently, William Randolph Hearst III is personally worth around $2.4 billion and David Hearst Jr., Phoebe Hearst Cook and George Hearst Jr. are now each personally worth around $2.1 billion.]

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Hearst’s Cosmopolitan And The Politics Of Dynastic Media Monopolization

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Secrecy At Hearst Historically

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Although Cosmopolitan and other Hearst publications often claim to be about providing information to their readers, Hearst has, historically, not been eager to be too public about its private family operation. As Forbes noted in its December 14, 1987 issue:

“Hearst…is a secretive outfit that doesn’t reveal its finances…Even within the company, financial information is shared only on a strict-need-to-know basis…”

Because Cosmopolitan’s parent company was a private, Hearst family-owned business during the 1990s, there were “no public stockholders to be considered, no troublesome reports to be filed with the SEC” and “major decisions” could “be reached quietly,” according to The Hearsts: Family And Empire. New York magazine also reported in its July 27, 1992 article on Hearst, that “like most of Hearst’s top executives,” then-Hearst Magazine Division President Bahrenburg “did not respond to repeated requests for an interview” and “several Hearst employees said they had been ordered not to talk.”

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: The Hearst Dynasty’s Inherited Wealth In The 1990s

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Confronting The Hearst/`Cosmopolitan' Media Monopoly: The SLA's 1974 Kidnapping of Patty Hearst--Part 3

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown. See parts 1-2 below.)

In early April 1974, another taped message was released by the SLA in which Patty Hearst announced that she had decided to become an urban guerrilla herself, with the name of “Tania.” And on April 15, 1974—as a member of the SLA—Patty “Tania” Hearst was photographed by a bank surveillance camera holding a carbine during a successful armed robbery of a Hibernia Bank branch in San Francisco by the urban guerrilla group.

The following month, six of Patty “Tania” Hearst’s new comrades were attacked on May 17, 1974 in the Los Angeles house they were hiding in by 410 Los Angeles policemen and 127 FBI agents—who fired 5,391 rounds of ammunition at them. During the L.A. SWAT team-led attack, the house in which the urban guerrillas were hiding caught fire and—before L.A. police allowed firefighters to put the fire out—“Cinque” DeFreeze, four white radical women—Patricia “Zoya-Mizmoon” Soltysik, Camilla “Gabi” Hall, Nancy “Fahiza” Ling-Perry and Angela “Gelini” DeAngelis-Atwood [who had grown up in North Haledon, New Jersey] and one white radical man—Willy “Kojo” Wolfe—were either burned to death or killed without trial by police bullets. According to The Life And Death Of The SLA by Les Payne and Tim Findley, “It was apparent that the SLA was given no more than a perfunctory chance to surrender.”

A few days after the May 17, 1974 massacre of the six SLA guerrillas, Patty “Tania” Hearst issued another taped communique in which she denounced “the pig Hearsts” and expressed her love for the slain Willy “Kojo” Wolfe, who had grown up in Connecticut and worked for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Manhattan before moving to Berkeley in the early 1970s. “Tania” Hearst then spent the next 16 months traveling around the country and being underground with two other SLA members—Emily Harris and Bill Harris—and some counter-culture sympathizers, before being captured by the FBI in San Francisco on September 18, 1975.

At the time of her arrest, Patty “Tania” Hearst still regarded herself as an urban guerrilla. But by the time of her trial for her participation in the April 15, 1974 Hibernia Bank robbery, she had been re-united with her family and denied that she had ever chosen to be an urban guerrilla. A jury still found her guilty of the bank robbery, however, and on September 24, 1976 she was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Not surprisingly—given the Hearst Dynasty’s special influence in the United States—on February 1, 1979 Democratic President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence and she was released from prison after serving less than two years of a seven-year sentence. Two months after her release from prison, she married the San Francisco cop who had been her bodyguard after her arrest, and she was awarded an $800,000 [in 1970s money] book contract from Doubleday to write her memoirs. By the 1980s, the former urban guerrilla was a supporter of Ronald Reagan and an opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment. And during the 1990s, she apparently lived on the East Coast.

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Secrecy At Hearst Historically

Friday, July 11, 2008

Confronting The Hearst/`Cosmopolitan' Media Monopoly: The SLA's 1974 Kidnapping of Patty Hearst--Part 2

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown. See below for part 1.)

Although Randolph Hearst claimed poverty and powerlessness on February 23, 1974—when he was refusing to meet the SLA’s demand for an additional $4 million donation to feed the poor—in 1980 The Hearsts: Family And Empire book suggested that Randoph Hearst was being less than candid at that time:

“The family finds it difficult to admit that even as Randy [Hearst] was trying, in vain, to persuade his daughter’s captors that he possessed no special wealth, the clan had become much richer than ever before.

“The Hearst trustees have taken measures to obscure this shift in the family’s status. In June of 1975, they persuaded Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Neal Lake that [William Randolph Sr. I] Hearst’s will and 14 volumes of related documents, which had been part of the public record, should be sealed.

“According to one of the Hearst beneficiaries, the family now divides approximately 10 percent of the company’s net which currently [in 1980] approaches an impressive $100 million…”

The same book also revealed that the Hearst family trust actually owned 40 percent of Hearst Corporation stock and “while that block is short of an actual majority, it is enough to guarantee that the family trustees will continue to control the organization.” By the 1990s, the Hearst Dynasty owned 100 percent of Hearst Corporation stock. [2008 update: In the 21st-century, the members of the Hearst Corporation’s board of directors are apparently still selected by the 14 trustees of the Hearst family trust, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and 6 of the trustees of the Hearst Foundation’s board of trustees are members of the Hearst Dynasty. In addition, George Hearst Jr. is the Hearst Corporation Chairman of the Board.]

Hearst Dynasty control of the Hearst Corporation was reflected in the way Hearst’s monthly magazines failed to cover the SLA kidnapping of Patty Hearst. The Hearst Corporation’s president in 1978, John Miller, was the executive vice-president responsible for the media conglomerate’s initial reaction to Patty Hearst’s kidnapping in 1974. Miller told the authors of The Hearsts: Family And Empire in the late 1970s that:

“I ordered everyone to stay away from it. We had editors with their tongues hanging out, trying to get a piece of that story. But I decided that nothing we could write would do us—or her—a bit of good. We simply blacked it out.”

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Confronting The Hearst/Cosmopolitan Media Monopoly: The SLA’s 1974 Kidnapping of Patty Hearst—Part 3

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Confronting The Hearst/`Cosmopolitan' Media Monopoly: The SLA's 1974 Kidnapping of Patty Hearst--Part 1

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

On February 4, 1974 the daughter of then-Hearst Corporation Chairman of the Board Randolph Hearst—Patty Hearst—was “arrested” by a few members of the Symbionese Liberation Army [SLA] urban guerrilla group in Berkeley, California. The SLA was led by Donald “Cinque” DeFreeze, an African-American radical who had escaped from a California prison the previous year. “Cinque” DeFreeze had resided in places like Newark, Cleveland and Los Angeles in the 1960s, before eventually hiding out with some white radicals who were active in the Berkeley political scene, after his prison escape.

Influenced, apparently, by reading about the Tupamaros’ urban guerrilla activities in Uruguay and by watching Costa-Gavras’s State of Siege movie, the SLA decided to kidnap the Hearst heiress, who was then living with Steve Weed (who had previously roomed with a Princeton SDS radical activist during the 1960s) in Berkeley.

After placing Patty Hearst in a “People’s Prison”—which apparently was a large closet in a rented Bay Area house—the SLA issued a taped message on Feb. 12, 1974 to the local Pacifica radio station, KPFA, in which “Cinque” DeFreeze demanded that the Hearst Dynasty meet the following demand in exchange for Patty Hearst’s release:

“Each person with one of the following cards is to be given 70 dollars worth of meats, vegetables, and dairy products: all people with welfare cards, Social Security pension cards, food stamp cards, disabled veteran cards, medical cards, parole or probation papers, and jail-or-bail release slips.”

“Cinque” DeFreeze also repeated in his taped message a phrase that has become historically associated with the SLA in U.S. cultural underground circles: “Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people!”

In response to this demand, then-Hearst Chairman of the Board Randolph Hearst agreed to donate $2 million to set up a “People In Need” free-food distribution program for the poor in the Bay Area. But on Feb. 21, 1974 another taped message was received from the SLA in which “Cinque” called Hearst’s $2 million People-In-Need program a “Crumbs To The People” program, read off a list of the magazine, broadcasting, newspaper and real estate holdings of the Hearst Foundation, and asked that $4 million more in free-food-for-the-poor be donated by Hearst in exchange for his daughter’s release.

According to An American Journey: The Short Life of Willy Wolfe by Jean Kinney, however, the following then happened on Feb. 23, 1974:

“Randolph Hearst appeared before the television news cameras to answer Cinque’s latest demand. `The size of this latest demand is far beyond my financial capabilities,’ said the distraught father, his voice hoarse and his face haggard. `The matter is out of my hands.’ Thereupon Mr. Hearst made way for a representative of the corporation, who said into the microphone, `The Hearst Corporation is prepared to contribute to People In Need a total of 4 million dollars to the poor and needy provided Patricia is released unharmed.’ He said that the corporation `…is not controlled by members of the Hearst family.’

But on March 9, 1974, the SLA sent another taped message in which it accused Randolph Hearst of deceit and dishonesty in negotiating for his daughter’s release, and in which Patty Hearst, herself, accused her parents of not doing enough to bring about her release.

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Confronting The Hearst/Cosmopolitan Media Monopoly: The SLA’s 1974 Kidnapping of Patty Hearst—Part 2

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hearst's Joe McCarthy Connection

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

The Hearst media conglomerate played a key role in the rise of U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy to national prominence in the late 1940s and early 1950s—during a witch-hunting, “red scare” era of U.S. history, when U.S. citizens in all walks of life were indiscriminately red-baited, blacklisted, or denied their civil liberties, under the pretext of “fighting communism” and “protecting domestic security.” According to The Hearsts: Family and Empire:

“In July of 1948, Bill [Hearst Jr.] and Bootsie [his wife] were delighted to have McCarthy as a guest at their wedding. There they introduced him to [then-Hearst Corporation President] Dick Berlin, who shared the Senator’s…political leanings and fondness for booze. Soon Dick and Joe were friends. Berlin often entertained McCarthy at his Fifth Avenue apartment…and occasionally invited the Senator to spend an interlude at his hunting lodge in Murray Bay, Canada, 90 miles down river from Quebec.”

The same book also noted that by the time William Randolph Hearst Jr. became chairman of the Hearst media conglomerate’s editorial board—following his father’s death in 1951—the Hearst organization:

“…had already developed a close working relationship with McCarthy, who remained in the news…largely because the Hearst press kept him there. The Hearst staff had an unfailing pipeline to the Senator—through Don Surine, and later through Roy Cohn; McCarthy would telegraph items about forthcoming targets to the handful of journalists who had done the most to help him…And the grateful Hearstlings…knew how to use the scoops;…they turned McCarthy’s notorious half-truths into their own reckless, raging, ill-informed stories about red infiltration and the betrayal of America.

“Bill [Hearst Jr.] for his part, approved of the McCarthy connection…He defended the commitment as a sound journalistic alliance.”

In addition to revealing in 1980 that “the vast majority of news executives on Hearst papers were rabid anti-Communists and McCarthy admirers,” The Hearsts: Family And Empire also revealed that Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper “organized its own `red squad’ to keep files on local subversives” and “When the House Un-American Activities Committee [HUAC] visited Seattle in June of 1954, the paper turned its records over to Chairman Harlold Velde, who praised the paper for its diligence.”

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Confronting The Hearst/Cosmopolitan Media Monopoly: The SLA’s 1974 Kidnapping of Patty Hearst—Part 1

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

`Cosmopolitan's Historic Book Publishing And Real Estate Connection

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Cosmopolitan’s parent company also had a special interest in book publishing during the 1990s. As William Randolph Hearst Jr. wrote in 1991: “We also publish books under William Morris & Company, Arbor House, Avon and other imprints.” Forbes estimated the late 1980s value of Hearst’s book publishing business was about $200 million; and the Hearst media conglomerate received about 11 percent of its $3 billion in annual gross revenues during the 1990s from its book publishing operation.

About $550 million worth of real estate was also owned by Cosmopolitan’s parent company in the early 1990s, including 135,000 acres of timberland in Maine and Canada, about 200,000 acres of ranch land in California, Manhattan office buildings and condos, Bronx warehouses and a San Francisco office building and parking garage. Cosmopolitan’s editorial offices were located at 224 West 57th Street in Manhattan during the 1990s. [2008 Update: But since 2006, Cosmopolitan’s editorial office have been located within the 46-story Hearst Tower skyscraper building at West 57th Street and 8th Avenue.]

The Manhattan corporate headquarters of the Hearst Dynasty’s media conglomerate was located at 8th Avenue and West 57th Street in Manhattan during the 1990s—in a building owned by Hearst that was located just down the block from both CBS News’ TV studio and PBS’s NewsHour’s Manhattan television studio-affiliate. [2008 Update: In the 21st-century, the Hearst media conglomerate decided to use some of its surplus media monopolization profits to convert its Manhattan corporate headquarters into a much taller skyscraper. So since 2006, the corporate headquarters of the Hearst media conglomerate has been located in a reconstructed Hearst building: the 46-story Hearst Tower, on 57th Street near Eighth Avenue.]

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Hearst’s Joe McCarthy Connection

Monday, July 7, 2008

`Cosmopolitan''s Newspaper Connections Historically

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Although magazines like Cosmopolitan have been its most consistent source of profits, the Hearst media conglomerate’s source of special political influence for much of the 20th-century, historically, was its less lucrative chain of newspapers. As Louis Rukeyser’s Business Almanac noted:

“[William Randolph] Hearst [I] was one of the first publishers to understand the importance of creating a media conglomerate…By 1935 he had 90 newspapers, as well as such magazines as Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar.”

Between 1935 and 1979, however, the Hearst Corporation reduced the size of its chain of newspapers because many of its daily newspapers—while politically influential—had become heavy money-losers. At the time of William Randolph Hearst I’s death in 1951, though, the Hearst newspaper chain still contained 16 big city newspapers, whose combined daily circulation still exceeded five million.

But in the 1950s and 1960s, eleven Hearst newspapers were sold to a corporate buyer who was the publisher of a previously-competing newspaper in the same city. In Chicago, for example, Hearst sold its Chicago American for $11 million to its previous-competitor, The Chicago Tribune, in 1956. In Pittsburgh and Detroit, Hearst’s Pittsburgh Sun-Telegram and Detroit Times were also sold to their main competitors in these cities in 1960. In the early 1960s, Hearst also stopped publishing newspapers like the New York Mirror, the New York Journal-American and the Milwaukee Sentinel. According to The Hearsts: Family And Empire, “In virtually every Hearst newspaper sale of the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. Justice Department investigated for possible antitrust violations.”

Despite the further reduction during the 1950s and 1960s of the number of big city newspapers it owned, Hearst’s newspaper chain was still the 8th-largest in the United States at the time the SLA “arrested” Patty Hearst in 1974. And in 1980, Hearst newspapers like the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, the Baltimore Herald-American, the Boston Herald-American, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the San Antonio Light and the Albany Times-Union and Albany Knickerbocker News still reached 1.4 million readers daily.

Although it stopped publishing its money-losing Baltimore and Boston newspapers during the Reagan Era, Hearst also decided in 1987 to increase its newspaper holdings in Texas by spending $375 million to purchase Texas’s biggest daily newspaper, the 407,000-circulation Houston Chronicle. During the 1990s, about 25 percent of the Hearst media conglomerate’s gross annual income came from the 12 daily and 5 non-daily newspapers it still put out in San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, San Antonio, Albany and in smaller cities in Texas and Illinois. And Hearst’s Newspaper Division was worth about $900 million in the 1990s.

[2008 Update: In the 21st-century, Cosmopolitan’s parent company still owns 15 daily and 31 weekly newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Albany Times Union. In addition, the 44 daily and 38 non-daily newspapers of the MediaNews Group chain, including the Denver Post and the Salt Lake Tribune, are also now partially owned by the Hearst Corporation media conglomerate].

Hearst has, historically, not been too popular with unionized labor because, despite the media conglomerate’s great wealth, it has shown little reluctance, historically, to sell and/or shut down individual Hearst newspapers and to lay off many newspaper employees without much notification. And it also has attempted to bust an employee’s union on occasion, In 1968, for example, William Randolph Hearst I’s grandson—George Hearst Jr.—provoked a long strike by his Los Angeles Herald-Examiner employees when he tried to break their union and, as a result, the AFL-CIO endorsed a nationwide boycott of all Hearst publications for awhile. Despite the union-busting at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, however, the newspaper continued to be economically unprofitable in the 1970s and 1980s and Hearst eventually shut down the newspaper in November, 1989.

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Historic Book Publishing And Real Estate Connection

Sunday, July 6, 2008

`Cosmopolitan''s Television, Radio and Cable TV Connections In The 1990s

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

One reason you didn’t see or hear too much satirical criticism of either Cosmopolitan’s editorial politics, the Hearst media conglomerate or the Hearst Dynasty on the TV screen or over the radio airwaves during the 1990s was that besides then owning many Big Media monthly magazines, the Hearst Corporation also then owned television and radio stations and had special interests in the cable TV industry. As William Randoph Hearst Jr. wrote in his 1991 book, The Hearsts: Father And Son:

“Our organization owns six TV stations. These include WCBV in Boston, WTAE in Pittsburgh, KMBC in Kansas City, WBAL in Baltimore, WISN in Milwaukee and WDTN in Dayton. We also have 7 radio stations in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and San Juan, Puerto Rico. We are expanding continuously in cable television. These holdings include joint ventures in cable television’s Arts and Entertainment (A&E); Lifetime, an advertising-supported network addressing women’s interests; the ESPN sports network; the New England Cable Newschannel, covering regional news and events; Ellipse Programming, a French TV production company; and various other television production companies.”

Among U.S. television broadcasters, Cosmopolitan’s parent company was the 16th-largest owner of television stations in terms of the audience its stations could reach in the early 1990s.

[2008 Update: Since the 1990s, the Hearst media conglomerate has apparently sold the 7 radio stations it then owned. But by 2008, the number of television stations that the Hearst media conglomerate owned in the United States had jumped from 6 television stations to 29 television stations, following Hearst’s 1997 merger with Argyle Television to create its Hearst-Argyle Television subsidiary division. Besides owning TV stations in Boston, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore and Milwaukee, Cosmopolitan’s parent company, for example, now also owns television stations in Tampa, Orlando, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Louisville, Des Moines, Honolulu, and Omaha. In addition, the Hearst media conglomerate now owns two television stations in Sacramento, California. As a result, about 18 percent of all U.S. television viewers can be reached and politically manipulated by a Hearst Corporation-owned television station.]

During the 1990s, Hearst Cablevision also owned six cable television stations in California. Around 16 percent of Hearst’s 1980s gross income came from its radio and television media operations, and Hearst’s Broadcast Division was about three times more profitable than the media conglomerate’s Newspaper Division during the 1990s. Forbes estimated that Hearst’s broadcasting properties were already worth around $1 billion in the late 1980s, when it then only owned 6 television stations.

Hearst’s Kansas City, Boston and Dayton television stations were purchased between 1979 and 1987—after the Symbionese Liberation Army’s 1974 “arrest” of Patty Hearst—as part of a $1.5 billion media property buying spree that the then-cash-rich media conglomerate went on during the Reagan Era. According to an April 1987 issue of the New York Times:

“Hearst was particularly savvy in its purchase of television stations, limiting itself to network-affiliate outlets in Top-50 markets…Network affiliates have higher profit margins.”

According to a December 1987 issue of Forbes, Hearst had “the country’s largest collection of non-network-owned ABC television affiliates” in the 1980s, “giving Hearst considerable clout over network programming.” And this might just be one reason why ABC News’ Nightline program, for example, rarely devoted any of its airtime to coverage of either the Hearst Dynasty or the Hearst media empire during the 1990s.

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Newspaper Connections Historically

Friday, July 4, 2008

Magazines And The Hearst Media Conglomerate In The 1990s

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Of the $3 billion in gross annual income that the Hearst media conglomerate earned each year during the 1990s, about 50 percent came then from Hearst’s Magazine Division. [In the 21st century, the Hearst media conglomerate’s gross annual income is now between $4.1 billion and $4.5 billion.] Besides Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire, Hearst’s Magazine division also marketed Town & Country, House Beautiful, Sports Afield, Popular Mechanics, Colonial Homes, Country Living and Motor Boating & Sailing in the early 1990s. [In the 21st century, the Hearst media conglomerate now also markets O, The Oprah Magazine.] In the late 1980s, Forbes magazine estimated that Hearst’s magazine business was then worth over $1.1 billion and that around 250 million copies of Hearst magazines were then being sold each year. Cosmopolitan was generally the Hearst media conglomerate’s biggest money-maker during the last thirty years of the 20th century, although Good Housekeeping and Redbook had larger circulations.

Hearst’s Magazine Division also made money during the 1990s from marketing seven magazines in Britain and 56 foreign editions of its U.S. magazines (including South African editions that it had sold in South Africa during the apartheid era), and from operating two U.S. magazine distribution companies—Eastern News Distributors and International Circulation Distributors—and two U.S. subscription fulfillment companies. Because Hearst owned its newsstand distribution operation it had more special power to get one of its newly-created or newly-acquired magazines onto newsstands and keep it there during the 1990s than competing magazine publishers did. Magazines like Cosmopolitan were also produced in Spanish-language editions by publishers who paid to be specially licensed by Hearst to reproduce its magazines in Spanish.

Another reason Hearst’s most consistently profitable division had been its magazine division was that it had been able, historically, to reduce genuine economic competition in the U.S. magazine industry. As The Hearsts: Family And Empire—The Later Years by Lindsay Chaney and Michael Cieply noted in reference to the businessman who managed the Hearst media conglomerate for the Hearst family from the early 1930s to the early 1970s, Richard Berlin:

“Dick Berlin had a philosophy about competition in the publishing business—it wasn’t good for business…Competing magazine publishers frequently engaged in rate-cutting in order to lure advertisers away from each other…Berlin summarized his attitude in 1941 when he wrote to [William Randolph] Hearst [I] telling him that he had just met with the publishers of McCall, Curtis and Crowell in an effort to pound some reason into them and get them to increase their rates. In that case, Berlin was successful, and the other publishers eventually did increase their rates to match the Hearst publications.”

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Television, Radio and Cable TV Connections In The 1990s

`Cosmopolitan''s Historic `Esquire' Connection

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Although Hearst’s Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Harper’s Bazaar all pose as magazines which express a competing “female” editorial viewpoint to that generally found in magazines like Esquire magazine—which was marketed to 700,000 primarily male subscribers in 1992—Hearst also has owned Esquire magazine, historically.

After briefly attempting to market a new men’s fashion magazine called Men’s Bazaar to compete with Esquire for men readers, Hearst decided it would be more profitable to spend more than $60 million [in 1980s money] to buy the competing publication. And after it purchased Esquire in 1986, Hearst discontinued its publication of Men’s Bazaar.

Coincidentally, six months before Esquire was sold to Hearst, Esquire’s then-chief operating office [CEO] and one of its then-major shareholders—Wilma Jordan—married a top executive in Hearst’s Magazine Division at that time, George Green. And after negotiating the deal to sell Esquire to her new husband’s company, Esquire’s former CEO, coincidentally, received between $6 million and $7 million of the $60 million Hearst dished out to purchase Esquire.

Although in April 1987, Esquire’s then-editor, Lee Eisenberg, told New York magazine that Esquire’s new corporate owner was “uniquely right for us—nonbureaucratic, with no desire to impose a monolithic `Hearst culture,’” by the Fall of 1990, Esquire’s editor was Terry McDonell, not Eisenberg. McDonell was the first Hearst magazine editor-in-chief to be hired by then-Hearst Magazine Division President Bahrenberg. Esquire’s then-managing editor, Ellen Fair, was also shifted out of Hearst’s Esquire office in 1992 and into the managing editor slot of one of Hearst’s women-oriented magazines after 14 years of working for Esquire.

Asked by Downtown in an August 1992 telephone interview if Hearst’s purchase of Esquire had affected the magazine much, the then-editor, Terry McDonell, noted he “wasn’t around” the magazine at the time Hearst purchased it, but “I believe that Hearst had made the magazine more profitable and, editorially, we’ve done well.” The then-Esquire editor asserted that “the magazine is driven by journalism” and not by the special interests of the Hearst Corporation.

Asked by Downtown in 1992 whether he felt being part of the Hearst conglomerate created possible conflicts of interest for Esquire, McDonell replied: “Their interests are those of a media company and we are not a media watchdog publication. And we don’t do articles on women’s magazines, which is what Hearst publishes.”

The then-Esquire editor said he had never experienced interference from the Hearst Corporation or the Hearst family with regard to editorial content and felt no pressure with regard to coverage of the Hearst family. According to McDonell, the only concern of the Hearst Corporation with regard to Esquire magazine was that it continue to be an economically profitable publication. And McDonell felt that—despite its Hearst corporate connection—Esquire still was “very unique” as a magazine.

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Magazines And The Hearst Media Conglomerate In The 1990s

Thursday, July 3, 2008

`Cosmopolitan''s Historic Harper's `Bazaar' And `Redbook' Connection

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

In addition to owning Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, historically, prior to 1992, Hearst also marketed two other magazines to women readers in 1992 that posed as competing magazines on your newsstand. Harper’s Bazaar—a women’s fashion magazine—had been owned for over 50 years by Hearst, but the previously competing Redbook—whose circulation was 3.7 million—had only been purchased by the Hearst media conglomerate in 1982.

In the early 1990s, the men who controlled Harper’s Bazaar at Hearst dismissed several Harper’s Bazaar editors and the fired editors then filed age-discrimination claims against Hearst. Ten Harper’s Bazaar staff members had all been suddenly fired by the multi-billion dollar Hearst conglomerate on the same day in 1992.

Although Redbook poses as a magazine that competes with Cosmopolitan, its editor in the early 1990s, Ellen Levine, had previously worked at Cosmopolitan. And according to New York magazine’s July 27, 1992 issue, at Cosmopolitan it was “assumed” that then-Redbook editor Levine would “eventually succeed Helen Gurley-Brown as Cosmopolitan editor,” even though Redbook is supposed to be a magazine that competes editorially with Cosmopolitan for women readers. [In 2008, Redbook’s former editor, Ellen Levine, is, indeed, now the editor of Cosmopolitan, coincidentally].

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Historic Esquire Connection

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

`Cosmopolitan''s `Good Housekeeping' Connection Historically

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Although Cosmopolitan poses on the magazine rack as a publication which competes with Good Housekeeping magazine for women readers, Good Housekeeping is also owned by the Hearst Corporation. And although Good Housekeeping sold 5.2 million copies each month mostly to women in the early 1990s, its then-editor was still a man named John Mack Carter. Carter had also been the editor of two other widely-circulated magazines for women readers in the past: McCall’s and the Ladies Home Journal. Carter had also served on the board of various corporate women’s organizations, historically.

For over 50 years prior to 1992, Good Housekeeping—like Cosmopolitan—had made a lot of money for the men who managed and owned Hearst, by being successfully marketed to women. As early as 1939, the market value of Hearst’s Good Housekeeping operation was estimated to be $5 million (in 1930s money); and in 1979, Hearst was charging $33,000 (in 1970s money) per page for ad space in Good Housekeeping. But during the 1940s the Federal Trade Commission [FTC] charged Good Housekeeping with profiting from misleading advertising that utilized Hearst’s “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Historic Harper’s Bazaar And Redbook Connections

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Institutional Sexism At The Hearst Corporation Historically

(The following article first appeared in the 9/9/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly newspaper, Downtown.)

Although most readers of Hearst’s Cosmopolitan are women, Cosmopolitan’s managing editor as late as 1992 was a man named Guy Flatley and its vice-president and publisher as late as 1992 was a man named Seth Hoyt. Corporate men were also well-represented at the higher levels of Hearst’s Magazine Division as late as 1992. Former Hearst Corporation President and then-Hearst Corporation Director Richard Deems was the division’s official publishing consultant as late as 1992. Cosmopolitan’s publisher for many years, a man named Donald Claeys Bahrenburg, was the president of Hearst’s Magazine Division as late as 1992. A man named K. Robert Brink was the executive vice-president of Hearst’s Magazine Division in 1992. And a man named Daniel Zucchi was the senior vice-president of Hearst’s Magazine Division in 1992.

[In 2008, a man named George Green is still the president and CEO of Hearst Magazines International, an executive vice-president of Hearst Magazines and a Vice-President of the Hearst Corporation, Hearst Holdings Inc. and Hearst Communications Inc.. A man named Michael Clinton is also still an executive vice-president, chief marketing officer and publicity director of Hearst Magazines in 2008. Another man named John Loughlin is also still an executive vice-president and general manager of Hearst Magazines in 2008.]

At the top levels of the Hearst media conglomerate, men also predominated as late as 1992. Eighteen of the 20 members of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors were men in 1990 and its then-Chairman of the Board, president and CEO were all then men. The then-Hearst Corporation president, for example, was a man named Frank Bennack and the then-Hearst Corporation executive vice-president was a man named Gilbert Maurer. Both men were paid over $1 million per year in salary by the parent company of Cosmopolitan in 1990. [In 2008, men also predominate at the top levels of the Hearst media conglomerate and Frank Bennack is still the Hearst Corporation CEO, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors and the Vice-Chairman of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors. And a male member of the Hearst Dynasty, George Hearst Jr., is, of course, still the current Chairman of the Board of the Hearst Corporation’s Board of Directors in 2008.]

Former Hearst Magazine Division President Bahrenburg used to sell ad space for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s as an associate publisher, before becoming a Hearstling in the 1980s. Although the then-45-year-old Bahrenbug was a man, he was the person in 1992 who—on behalf of the Hearst family—still hired and fired the editors of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. Bahrenburg had grown up in Montclair, New Jersey and had attended Ithaca College and NYU during the 1960s.

Cosmopolitan’s then-managing editor, Guy Flatley, was not interested in speaking to Downtown about the role Hearst managers play at Cosmopolitan when Downtown telephoned him in August 1992. After Downtown telephoned Flatley’s office a second time in August 1992, his assistant or secretary reported that Mr. Flatley felt Downtown’s question should be answered by Cosmopolitan’s then-editor, Helen Gurley-Brown.

But when Downtown telephoned then-Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley-Brown’s office in August 1992, it was told by Gurley-Brown’s secretary that the then-Cosmopolitan editor “wished to lay low as far as any article on Hearst” was concerned and did not wish to characterize the role of Hearst managers at Cosmopolitan for Downtown readers. Her secretary speculated that Gurley-Brown’s reluctance to speak with Downtown “might have something to do with New York magazine running an article on Hearst” in its July 27, 1992 issue.

(Downtown 9/9/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Good Housekeeping Connection Historically