Saturday, December 13, 2008

Knight Foundation & Newspaper Dyansty's Hidden History--Conclusion

“A $200,000 grant proposal, submitted by a group of Indymedia volunteers to the Knight News Challenge contest, has been blocked by other IMCs and subsequently dropped due to the abiding ethos that Indymedia is a counter to corporate, money-fixated media entities. The grant application to the Knight Foundation was to fund technical development work for Independent Media Centres (IMCs)…

“The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation describes itself as "an American private, non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting journalism and supporting the vitality of 26 communities" where the Knight Brothers owned newspapers….In 1974, Knight Newspapers merged with Ridder Publications to create Knight-Ridder Inc., at the time the largest newspaper company in the US. Lee Hills, former president of Knight Newspapers, became Knight-Ridder chairman and CEO. Its trustees include Paul E. Steiger, the former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and a vice president at Dow Jones & Company. Until it was bought by The McClatchy Company in June 2006, Knight-Ridder was the second-largest newspaper publisher in the US, with 32 daily newspapers...”
(Corporate Watch UK and sites)

Since Akron, Ohio was the city where the Knight Dynasty established the local press monopoly from which, historically, it was able to build its newspaper chain, as well as the city where the rubber companies had, historically, a special economic influence until recently, ties between the Knight family and rubber industry executives were historically close. Edwin J. Thomas, who was Goodyear Tire & Rubber’s chairman of the board until 1964, for example, also served as a Knight Newspapers director prior to its merger with the Ridder newspaper chain in 1974. The 1989 book Knight: A Publisher In The Tumultuous Century by Charles Whited described the nature of this rubber industry executive’s relation to Jack Knight for many years:

“Among all the people Jack Knight knew…there was none so close as Edwin J. Thomas. This was a…man…closer to Knight than any blood relative…They played golf frequently…They talked almost every day, by telephone if not in person, often long-distance…”

And in the early 1990s, at least one rubber industry company director—B.F. Goodrich Co. Director John Weinberg—also sat on the corporate board of the Knight-Ridder media conglomerate.

As previously mentioned, much of the $200 million worth of Knight-Ridder media conglomerate stock which John “Jack” Knight owned at the time of his death in 1981 was left to the Knight Foundation to avoid payments of heavy estate taxes. And, coincidentally, in 1975 a former Goodyear rubber company executive named C.C. Gibson had been hired to be the Knight Foundation’s then-president.

(Downtown 9/15/93)

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