(The following article about Times-Mirror-Newsday’s hidden history was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)
By the time Otis Chandler’s father, Norman, died in 1973, the Times-Mirror-Newsday media conglomerate had 31 divisions and a gross income of over $600 million per year. Although about 30 percent of the Times-Mirror-Newsday stock was then still owned by the Chandler family—enough to pretty much control the media conglomerate’s business and editorial direction—a cross-section of non-family representatives from other large corporations also sat on the Times-Mirror-Newsday board. The Times-Mirror-Newsday directors in 1973, for instance, were the following U.S. businessmen:
1. Bank of America/Norton Simon/Ford/Hallmark Cards Director Franklin Murphy.
2. Bank of California and Pacific Insurance Director Albert Casey.
3. Republic National Bank, American Airlines, Lone Star Steel, Neuhoff Brothers and Blue Cross-Blue Shield Director James Aston.
4. Bank of America, Bank of Hawaii, Hawaiian Western Steel and Deltec International Director Lowell Dillingham.
5. Wells Fargo Bank and U.S. Steel Director Thomas Jones.
6. Western Airlines and Pacific Lighting Director Harry Volk.
7. Rockwell International/Pacific Indemnity and Cyrus Mining Director J.I. Atwood.
As Jack Hart noted in his book, The Information Empire, the corporate makeup of the Times-Mirror-Newsday corporate board “hardly seemed conducive to independent news reporting…Times-Mirror directors, for example, indirectly tied the interests of the Times to companies like Ford, the Bank of America, American Airlines…and dozens of similar corporate giants.” In the 1970s, Times-Mirror-Newsday Director Franklin Murphy also sat on the U.S. government’s Intelligence Advisory Board which worked with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency [CIA].
Asked by Downtown in early 1991 whether the [now-defunct] New York Newsday would be reluctant to report critically on the outside companies which are also directed by Times-Mirror directors, then-Managing Editor Toedtman again insisted that “There’s no hands-on control of the newspaper by Times-Mirror” that would “compromise the integrity of the paper” in terms of how “editorial content is determined.”
As might be expected, given its unpublicized historic corporate connections, Times-Mirror-Newsday strongly supported U.S. military intervention in Vietnam editorially during the 1960s. According to The Information Empire book, the Los Angeles Times’
“support for American intervention dated back to a Defense Department junket through the region by Otis Chandler…in the spring of 1963…Throughout subsequent years the Times editorial page remained rigidly fastened to the Administration’s coattail…A 1967 editorial condemned Martin Luther King’s opposition to current Vietnam policy.”
Next: Times-Mirror-Newsday’s Historic Mass Media Monopolization Drive