Monday, January 7, 2008

Obama's $1.7 Million Book Contract

Most people in the United States don't believe it's democratic for a German media conglomerate like Bertelsmann AG to monopolize control over the U.S. book publishing industry. Yet 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack "No Experience" Obama apparently has no program for reducing foreign corporate control of the U.S. book publishing industry and other U.S. media industries.

One reason Obama might not want to propose that U.S. anti-trust laws be enforced against German media conglomerates like Bertelsmann AG is that between Election Day 2004 and his swearing in as a Senator, Obama was given a $1.7 million two-book contract by the Random House/Crown Publishers/Alfred Knopf subsidiary division of Bertelsmann AG. By signing his lucrative book contract with the German media conglomerate's U.S. subsidiary before taking office, Obama did not fall under various requirements for disclosure and reporting that applies to members of Congress who accept money from U.S. media conglomerates.

Like many U.S. Establishment politicians and U.S. television news correspondents and talk show hosts, Obama's 2004 book deal with the Bertelsmann AG subsidiary was arranged by Robert B. Barnett of the Washington, D.C. law firm, Williams & Connolly. Besides representing the special financial interests of U.S. Establishment politicians and U.S. television correspondents, Williams & Connolly lawyer Robert B. Barnett also represents the special interests of German corporations like Deutsche Bank and has coached Democratic Party presidential candidates before presidential debates since the 1980s.

As long ago as the 1990s, the Bertelsmann media conglomerate was the world's largest book publisher and the second-largest U.S. publisher. In 1981, Bertelsmann purchased Bantam Books and, in 1986, Bertelsmann took control of Doubleday and RCA Records. Its U.S. property by the early 1990s also included eight U.S. printing plants, Doubleday Book Shops in New York City and elsewhere, Dell Publishing, Arista Records and "Parents Magazine." During the early 1990s, the administration of New York City's first African-American Mayor, Columbia University Professor David Dinkins, gave a $10.8 million special tax break to Bertelsmann AG when it purchased a 44-story Manhattan skyscraper for $119 million in March 1992
Bertelsmann AG was owned for many years by the family of Reinhard Mohn, who was a member of the Third Reich's Afrika Korps during World War II; and the same German firm published books for the Nazi regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945. During the early 1990s, the Mohn family still owned about 69 percent of the Bertelsmann/Doubleday/Bantam Books/Dell Publishers/Random House/Crown Publishers foreign-based media monopoly.

But don't hold your breath waiting for the stable of U.S. politicians who are represented by the Williams & Connolly corporate law firm to finally introduce some legislation to democratize power within the foreign-controlled U.S. book publishing industry in 2009 to insure that U.S. anti-trust laws are finally enforced within the U.S. mass media industry world.

For more information about Barack Obama's 2004 book deal, you might want to check out the following link on the Century Foundation web site:

Next: Obama Purchased $1.6 Million Mansion After 2004 Election