Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In The Pay of Foundations: How U.S. power elite foundations fund a `parallel left' media network--Part 6

Owned Philly Newspaper where Democracy Now! Co-Host worked & funded NAHJ 
In The Pay of Foundations—Part 6

How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a “parallel left” media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.

Democracy Now! part-time co-host Juan Gonzalez’s career as a professional journalist in the corporate media world began in 1979 after his journalism course instructor at Temple University, who was a moonlighting editor at the Philadelphia Daily News evening newspaper of the Knight-Ridder corporate media firm, that also owned the Philadelphia Inquirer morning daily newspaper, encouraged Gonzalez to apply for a clerical job at the Philadelphia Daily News in late 1978; and he was soon promoted to be a full-time reporter for the newspaper by early 1979.

Prior to merging with the super-rich Ridder dynasty’s newspaper chain in 1974, to create a newspaper chain of 35 daily and 25 Sunday newspapers that made Knight-Ridder the largest U.S. corporate newspaper chain at that time, the super-rich Knight dynasty had purchased its two Philadelphia newspapers from the super-rich Walter Annenberg’s corporate media conglomerate for $55 million [equivalent to over $369 million in 2018] in 1969. When Gonzalez began working for the Knight-Ridder corporate media firm’s Philadelphia Daily News in 1979, John “Jack” Knight and James "Jim" Knight owned 30 percent of Knight-Ridder’s stock, three Ridder dynasty members owned 7 percent of Knight-Ridder’s stock and the Knight-Ridder board of directors included John Knight, James Knight and the three Ridder dynasty members.

After John “Jack” Knight died two years later, much of the $200 million [equivalent to over $542 million in 2018] worth of Knight-Ridder/Philadelphia Daily News stock which he owned in 1981 was left to the “non-profit” Knight Foundation, to avoid payment of heavy estate taxes. As the Knight Foundation’s 1995 Annual Report noted:

When John S. Knight died in 1981, he left to the Foundation most of his holdings in Knight-Ridder…James L. Knight succeeded his brother as chairman, and Lee Hills, former Knight-Ridder chief executive officer, was put in charge of planning the transition from a small foundation to one of the largest in the United States…The number of trustees was increased to 13, including two of James Knight’s daughters…”
Knight Dynasty Media Barons of 20th Century: John Knight and James Knight
And when Gonzalez left the Philadelphia Daily News between late 1987 and early 1988 to begin working for the New York Daily News  (which was then owned by the Chicago-based Tribune corporate media conglomerate that also owned the WPIX-TV station in New York City), the Knight Foundation still owned a big chunk of Knight-Ridder stock, James Knight personally still owned 14 percent of Knight-Ridder’s stock, now worth about $439 million [equivalent to over $987 million in 2018], and the three Ridder dynasty members also continued to own Knight-Ridder newspaper chain stock. Then, when James “Jim” Knight died in February 1991, he also left $200 million [equivalent to over $318 million in 2018] to the Knight Foundation.

So by early 1996, when Knight-Ridder’s former Philadelphia Daily News-turned New York Daily News columnist became Democracy Now!’s co-host, the Knight Foundation owned “2,630,451 shares…of common stock of Knight-Ridder Inc., which represented 17.2 percent…of the Foundation’s assets” that was worth around $165 million [equal to around $263 million in 2018], according to the Knight Foundation’s 1995 Annual Report. In addition, in 1996 the “non-profit” Knight Foundation also owned $409 million [equal to over $656 million in 2018] worth of stock in other profit-oriented corporations, as well as $52 million [equal to $83 million in 2018] worth of real estate. And according to its 1995 Annual Report:

“Overall, Knight Foundation’s portfolio returned 25.7 percent in 1995…The Foundation’s assets totaled $957.5 million [equal to over $1.5 billion in 2018] at the end of 1995, an increase of $212 million from the previous year…Investments added $195 million in value.”

Yet “the Foundation” was “not subject to federal income tax;” and only $26 million of the Knight Foundation’s $212 million increase in assets was redistributed to its grant recipients, according to the same annual report.

Besides having worked for a Philadelphia newspaper owned, in part, by the Knight Foundation during the 1980s, Gonzalez also helped establish the National Association of Hispanic Journalists [NAHJ] in 1984; and, while a co-host of Democracy Now! show, he was also the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ president between 2002 and 2004.  Coincidentally, between 2003 and 2011, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists group received grants of $240,000 from the “Challenge Fund for Journalism” program begun in 2003 by the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation-- which owned part of the institutionally racist Knight-Ridder newspaper that employed Gonzalez in the 1980s, but generally failed to hire many other Hispanic journalists from the Latino community or from Latino national ethnic backgrounds between 1979 and 2003. (end of part 6)

In The Pay of Foundations: How U.S. power elite foundations fund a `parallel left' media network--Part 5

NY Daily News Owner Mort Zuckerman: Paid Democracy Now! Co-Host's Salary
In The Pay of Foundations—Part 5

How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a “parallel left” media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.

By the early 1990s, the producer at Pacifica’s WBAI radio station in Manhattan who had produced the stations’s late 1980s daily evening news show, Amy Goodman, was, instead, now the producer of WBAI’s daily morning news show in New York City. According to the former Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio journalist who was program director at WBAI between 1989-1994, Andrew Phillips, he “instituted substantial program changes” at WBAI during this period, “including moving Amy Goodman to morning drive.”

Then, two years after accepting a “silver baton” duPont-Columbia award of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund-subsidized Alfred I. duPont Awards Foundation at the ceremony in Columbia’s Low Library, Goodman joined with a columnist of neo-con real estate developer Mort Zuckerman’s New York Daily News non-alternative, mainstream daily newspaper, Juan Gonzalez, to produce and co-host the new Democracy Now! daily radio news show that the Pacifica network launched in early February 1996—with the $25,000 in grant money Pacifica obtained from the Carnegie Corporation of New York foundation in 1996.

Prior to being appointed Secretary of State by Bill Clinton in the early 1990s, former Carnegie Corporation of New York trustee Warren Christopher was the chairman of the “Clinton Transition Team,” that helped determine, before the Democratic president’s Jan. 20, 1993 inauguration, which people should be appointed U.S. federal government posts during the first term of the Clinton administration. Another early 1990s Carnegie Corporation of New York trustee, then-Goldman Sachs co-chair Robert Rubin, was appointed U.S. Treasury Secretary by Clinton in 1995, a year before the Carnegie Corporation of New York grant to launch Democracy Now! was given to Pacifica.

According to the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s 1995 Annual Report, a $200,000 [equal to over $329,000 in 2018] grant was given between 1994 and 1995 to the WNYC Foundation on whose board sat then-Carnegie Corporation of New York trustee Wilma Tisch; and 5 grants, totalling $2.7 million [equal to over $4.4 million in 2018], were given during the same period to Stanford University, whose then-provost was Carnegie Corporation of New York trustee Condoleezza Rica and whose university board of trustees included then-Carnegie Corporation of New York trustee Henry Muller.

Yet since 1996, Democracy Now! listeners and viewers have not been provided with much specific information about the role the Carnegie Corporation of New York and its trustees have, historically, played in U.S. political and economic life; or how the foundation’s board of trustees has, historically or currently, obtained and distributed its grant money.

While continuing to write columns for the corporate media world’s New York Daily News mainstream newspaper and continuing to collect a regular paycheck from Zuckerman’s newspaper during the next two decades, Gonzalez also remained the part-time co-host on over 1,000 radio broadcasts of the “parallel left” Democracy Now! radio show during the same two decades; including the years after 2001 when it became a “parallel left” cable television show as well.  And, not surprisingly, during the past twenty years, few radio or tv segments that were specifically critical or unflattering about either Mort Zuckerman, Mort Zuckerman’s specific historic real estate business operations or the specific news content of Mort Zuckerman’s stable of non-alternative media reporters were aired on Democracy Now!.

But between 2001 and 2003, for example, the Canadian-born Zuckerman was the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations anti-Palestinian self-determination rights lobbying group; and during most of the 21st-century the New York Daily News owner who employed Gonzalez was the honorary president of the American-Israel Friendship League [AFIL] whose “sole purpose is to make friends for the State of Israel through activities intended to improve the general perception of Israel,” according to the AFIL’s website. The same website also posted an article indicating how Zuckerman became involved in this pro-Israeli government group:

“The teamwork forged between Zuckerman, [American-Israel Friendship League Chairman Kenneth] Bialkin, and the rest of the AIFL team coalesced almost two decades ago, when a high-level request came in. ``Sometime in the late ‘90s each of us was contacted by the [Israeli] consul general of New York to ask if we would come in to help with the promotion of the AIFL,’ Bialkin remembers.

"Zuckerman views the work of the AIFL, in fostering better understanding between Israel and America, as a vital element in keeping the world safer. `I’ll put it this way: I think it is very important that there is more than one audience we should focus on. Number one: senior government officials. Number two: public opinion. Some would say the latter is the foundation of what affects the former. We need to continually develop that relationship.’”

An article by Christopher Walsh, titled “Pro-Israel Pundits Speak Out on Middle East,” that appeared in the Sept. 4, 2014 issue of the East Hampton Star, described how the New York Daily News owner, whose newspaper Gonzalez continued to work for while co-hosting Democracy Now! for two decades after 1996, supported the Israeli war machine’s 50-day war against people in Gaza in the summer of 2014 (that killed 1,462 Palestinian civilians, including 551 Palestinian children, according to a June 2015 UN Human Rights Council report):

“…At the Jewish Center of the Hamptons… pro-Israel panelists from the worlds of media and academia discussed the seven-week war in Gaza…Mortimer Zuckerman, an East Hampton resident who is the publisher of the New York Daily News and editor in chief of U.S. News and World, expressed the panelists’ united defense of the Israeli military’s conduct in the war….He also sought to provide context to reports that more than 2,000 Palestinian civilians had been killed in the war by noting that 378,000 German civilians and 580,000 Japanese civilians were killed in World War II. `This is not a moral strike against Israel,’ he said….”

Yet during the over two decades that Zuckerman owned the New York Daily News, antiwar and Palestinian solidarity movement activists in the United States were rarely invited to appear on Democracy Now! to specifically highlight and criticize the role that Zuckerman may have personally and specifically played, historically, in supporting Israeli militarism and war crimes in the Middle East. (end of part 5)