Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The `Village Voice' Alternative Media Monopoly's Hidden History--Part 7

(Most of the following article originally appeared in the October 9, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian Weekly. See below for parts 1-6.)

By 1968, Mailer had sold 5 percent of his Voice stock to the then-owner of Manhattan’s WMCA radio station, Peter Straus (who later became the director of the U.S. government’s propaganda agency, Voice of America, in 1977). But it wasn’t until 1970 that the three founding owners of the Voice sold control of the publication to super-rich members of the U.S. Establishment and to outside corporate interests.

In 1968 students at Columbia University had occupied university buildings for a week in support of six demands, before New York City’s “liberal” mayor at the time, [the now-deceased] John Lindsay, ordered his cops to clear both Columbia’s buildings and its campus of students, in what turned out to be a bloody police rampage. One of the six demands made was that then-Columbia University Trustee William Burden—who also then sat on the corporate boards of CBS, Lockheed and American Metal Climax—resign his position as then-chairman of the executive committee of the Pentagon’s university-sponsored weapons research think-tank: the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA].


IDA’s then-executive committee chairman, Burden, was the uncle of 19th Century U.S. robber baron Cornelius Vanderbilt’s great-grandson, Carter Burden.

[The now-deceased] Carter Burden was also then married to the stepdaughter of the then-CBS Chairman of the Board, [the now-deceased] William Paley. CBS Board Chairman Paley, like Carter Burden’s uncle, was also a Columbia University Trustee. After the Voice printed a few articles which were very critical of the Columbia University Administration’s handling of its 1968 student revolt, Carter Burden apparently became interested in buying the Voice. Burden also apparently decided it might help his political career in 1969 if he started negotiating with then-Voice owner-editor Wolf about purchasing the Voice.

Just before Burden started a 1969 primary campaign for a NYC council seat, “a profile of him and his [then] wife Amanda…appeared” in the Voice, “followed by an editorial endorsement from Dan Wolf (in which Wolf revealed to the readers of the Village Voice that Burden was…`the best representative of the new politics running in the primary’…but not the fact that he was a prospective buyer of the newspaper they were reading),” according to The Great American Newspaper. Then, in January 1970, Burden turned both Wolf and Fancher into millionaires overnight by paying them $3 million for 56 percent of the 70 percent of Voice stock which Wolf and Fancher had come to own by that time. Burden also acquired an additional 24 percent of Voice stock by buying most of Norman Mailer and Mailer’s lawyer’s remaining Voice stock, as well as WMCA radio station owner’s Straus’ Voice stock. A Wall Street lawyer who was Burden’s business partner in his Voice acquisition, Bartle Bull, also obtained Voice stock at this time.

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 10/9/96)

Next: The Village Voice Alternative Media Monopoly’s Hidden History—Part 8