Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hidden History of Mort Zuckerman's `U.S. News & World Report'--Part 4

(The following article first appeared in the April 14, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown. See Parts 1,2 and 3 of article below.)

Mort Zuckerman’s U.S. News & World Report has never been particularly noted for the way it fights to end institutional sexism in the United States. Yet the multi-millionaire member of the White Corporate Male Power Structure who was the boyfriend of Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem during much of the 1980s was apparently U.S. News & World Report Owner Mort Zuckerman. In a 1985 article on Zuckerman, Fortune magazine noted that Zuckerman “currently spends a lot of time with Gloria Steinem, one of the founders of Ms. magazine.” And in its 1992 article on Zuckerman, New York magazine revealed that Zuckerman’s “most famous love affair was with Gloria Steinem” and quoted Jeffrey Steingarten as recalling that Steinem and Zuckerman “were very much in love for a long time.” One Newsday gossip columnist in 1992 also reported that U.S. News & World Report Owner Zuckerman has apparently indicated that he lent money to Steinem’s Ms. magazine during the 1980s, when Ms. magazine was experiencing financial difficulties.

Downtown telephoned Ms. magazine in early 1993 four times, requesting an official response to the question of whether there has ever been any connection between Ms. magazine and U.S. News & World Report Owner Mort Zuckerman since the early 1980s. But nobody at Ms. magazine was willing to officially comment on its past or present connection to U.S. News & World Report Owner Zuckerman, and Downtown was then told that “Gloria Steinem’s office will be getting back to you.” Not surprisingly, however, “Gloria Steinem’s office” apparently decided not to get back to Downtown in 1993 to discuss past or early 1990s connections between U.S. News & World Report and Ms. magazine.

Coincidentally, few satirical exposes’ of either Zuckerman’s male chauvinism or U.S. News & World Report’s institutional sexism were apparently published by Ms. magazine during the 1980s.

In addition to apparently being closely connected to U.S. News & World Report Owner Zuckerman during the 1980s, Ms. magazine founder Steinem was also accused by Evergreen Review during the 1980s of having been closely connected to a CIA-linked organization in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In an article entitled “Allard Lowenstein’s CIA: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” by Richard Cummings, which appeared in 1984, Evergreen Review stated the following:

“While Lowenstein worked for Senator Humphrey in the late Fifties, he did things like go to a dinner given by the Council Against Communist Aggression and help organize the effort to send American students to disrupt the Moscow-backed International Youth Festival in Vienna in 1959. In that particular effort, he had collaborated with Gloria Steinem, Smith graduate and Fulbright scholar to India, who founded the Independent Service for Information on the Vienna Youth Festival, an organization that became the Independent Research Service, a CIA-funded operation based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was used to get the anti-communist Americans to Vienna.”

Although U.S. News & World Report Owner Zuckerman’s close friend of the 1980s—Gloria Steinem—has carved out a lucrative career for herself by posing as a champion of equality for working-class women, U.S. News & World Report’s top managers in the early 1990s were still mostly male. The editor-in-chief, the executive editor, the deputy editor, the editor-at-large, the special projects editor, the art director, and the photography director at U.S. News & World Report as late as 1993 were all men, as were at least 16 of the Establishment magazine’s 22 Senior Editors. Although the majority of people who live in Washington, D.C. are African-American, Downtown was unable to determine whether the majority of editorial employees at the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. News & World Report were yet African-American in 1993. Downtown was also unable to determine how many open lesbians and gay males were employed at U.S. News & World Report in 1993.

In its Nov. 18, 1988 issue the Wall Street Journal also reported that one of Zuckerman’s top managers, then-U.S. News & World Report President and Chief Executive Officer Fred Drasner, “was loudly booed at a lawyer’s convention when he made a remark about women lawyers that many in the audience considered offensive.” Ironically, Zuckerman named Fred Drasner to be the chief executive officer and co-publisher of the New York York Daily News after Zuckerman purchased this newspaper in the early 1990s. (end of part 4)

(Downtown 4/14/93)

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