Thursday, December 11, 2008

Knight Foundation & Newspaper Dynasty's Hidden History--Part 4

“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)

The Knight Newspaper Dynasty may not have been too generous to their Knight-Ridder workers, historically, but its Knight-Ridder board of directors was quite generous, historically, to the newspaper chain’s top managers in the 1990s. In 1992, for example, Knight-Ridder’s then-chief executive officer [CEO] and Chairman of the Board James Batten was paid an annual salary of $604,000 (in 1990s money).

During the years when he controlled the Knight newspaper chain, John “Jack” S. Knight apparently was also a strong political supporter of Richard Nixon. When some Republican Party officials attempted “to dump” then-Vice President Nixon from the Eisenhower re-election ticket during the mid-1950s, “rising to his defense was John S. Knight,” because “he liked Richard Nixon,” according to the 1989 book Knight: A Publisher In The Tumultuous Century by Charles Whited. The same book also described how John Knight had used his newspaper chain column and editorial power to back Nixon in his rise to power during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s:

“In the early days, when he had been a congressman or vice-president or private citizen, it had been `Dick’ and `Jack.’ Nixon would send chatty little notes referring to this Knight column or that, provided the article had been favorable. The practice continued…into Richard M. Nixon’s presidency…

“…Knight had been his consistent supporter, even during…the 1950s when critics in and out of the Republican Party dismissed him as `Tricky Dick’…Knight Newspapers thus endorsed him for president against John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Hubert Humphrey in 1968…”
(end of part 4)

(Downtown 9/15/93)

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