Thursday, February 28, 2008

Post-Patterson `Newsday''s Hidden History

(The following article about 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 to the Cablevision media conglomerate. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)

After his much younger wife died in 1963, the 73-year-old Harry Guggenheim began to play a more active daily editorial role in running Newsday and began to search for a male heir for both his share of the Guggenheim fortune and his newspaper, in the event of his own death. Since the Guggenheim-Patterson marriage had produced no children, and Harry Guggenheim’s first two marriages had produced only daughters, he had to turn to his grandson, Dana Draper, to be his principal male heir. As this male heir, Dana Draper would acquire a multi-million dollar trust fund and become a partner in Guggenheim Brothers, the head of two Guggenheim foundations and, after Harry Guggenheim’s death, Newsday’s owner.

In the end, though, Harry Guggenheim decided not to let his grandson inherit either the Harry Guggenheim fortune or the ownership of Newsday because, in 1965, the then-25-year-old Dana Draper, according to The Guggenheims 1848-1988 book, was:

“a typical child of the 1960s. An exponent of the counter-culture…A sensitive young man who wore his long, wavy blond hair to his shoulders, he habitually sported a kerchief around his neck instead of a tie, wore jeans and T-shirts, instead of suits…Politically, Dana gravitated toward the New Left…Dana had artistic abilities and aspirations…Dana was also an environmental conservationist.”

After deciding that his grandson was too Bohemian and too politically radical to be trusted with either the Guggenheim fortune or the ownership of Newsday, Harry Guggenheim hunted around for another male heir. In 1967, he decided that U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary and chief of staff, [now-Schumann Foundation President and PBS commentator] Bill Moyers, should succeed him as Newsday owner and inherit much of his $50 million share of the Guggenheim fortune. According to David Halberstam’s The Powers That Be book, “Bill Moyers had always, first with Lyndon Johnson, then with Harry Guggenheim, shown an ability to charm older men…”

Moyers was brought into the Newsday editorial office as publisher to run the newspaper for Harry Guggenheim for a few years. But Harry Guggenheim eventually decided to sell Newsday to the Chandler family’s Times-Mirror media conglomerate and not let Moyers be his heir.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: Guggenheim & Chandlers’ Newsday-Los Angeles Times-Mirror Merger’s Hidden History