|Gave $1 Million Grant To Democracy Now Co-Host's NAHJ In 2004|
How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a “parallel left” media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.
While Democracy Now! co-host Gonzalez was the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ president, a grant of $1 million [equal to over $1.3 million in 2018] was also given to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2004 by the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation to expand a “parity project” Gonzalez created to improve coverage of Latinos nationwide by the institutionally racist U.S. corporate media industry, in which Gonzalez had worked as a columnist during the previous 24 years. The institutionally racist Gannett media conglomerate’s Gannett Foundation had previously helped launch the National Association of Hispanic Journalists group in the early 1980s with “$50,000 [equivalent to over $131,000 in 2018] in seed money” according to the NAHJ’s website. As the NAHJ recalled on its website:
“The beginnings of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) can be traced back to a 1982 convention in San Diego….After obtaining $50,000 in seed money from the Freedom Forum (then the Gannett foundation), an organizing committee was formed…After two years of arduous work, the articles of incorporation for NAHJ were finally signed in February of 1984…. In 1985, NAHJ established its headquarters in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C….Today, there are more than 2,000 members nationwide. More funds were also attracted, from $150, 000 in the first year, to an annual budget of over $800,000 by the end of 2012.”
NAHJ’s current president, Brandon Benavides, is the executive producer of the Good Morning San Antonio corporate media show of the Graham Media Group’s KSAT-12 television station in Texas. The Graham Media Group is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings, whose corporate board includes former Washington Post Company corporate media conglomerate CEO Donald Graham, former Washington Post newspaper CEO Katharine Weymouth, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, former General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner, former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, former Delaware Governor Jack Markel and a former vice-president for government affairs, Larry Thompson, of PepsiCo ( a U.S. corporation that also gave a contribution of $50,000 to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in June 2011). Besides owning the corporate media television station that employs the NAHJ’s current president, Graham Holdings also owns the Slate Group corporate media firm that publishes both the Slate online magazine and Foreign Policy magazine.
After receiving a $1 million grant from the Robert R. McCormick Tribune/Robert R. McCormick Foundation in 2004, the NAHJ also was later given a $100,000 grant by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in 2010, according to the foundation website’s grants data base.
The New York Daily News mainstream newspaper that former National Association of Hispanic Journalists [NAHJ] president Gonzalez began working for, eight years before Carnegie Corporation of New York foundation funds were used to launch the “parallel left” Democracy Now! daily news show that he co-hosted, had been owned by the Chicago-based Tribune corporate media conglomerate since--in imitation of British press baron Lord Northcliffe’s London Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper--the Chicago Tribune newspaper firm began publishing the tabloid newspaper in 1919. The newspaper remained linked to the Chicago Tribune until it was sold by the Tribune Company for $295 million [equal to over $543 million in 2018] to British global media baron Robert Maxwell in 1991; prior to the New York Daily News being subsequently purchased in 1993 for around $36 million [equal to around $63 million in 2018] by the neo-con real estate dealmaker and owner of U.S. News and World Report magazine, Mort Zuckerman--an opponent of full national self-determination rights for the Palestinian people and the U.S. anti-war movement’s Palestinian solidarity activism.
Between 1919 and his death in 1946, day-to-day management of the Chicago Tribune’s New York Daily News tabloid subsidiary was handled by Joseph “Captain” Patterson from his Manhattan office building; while his cousin, Robert “Colonel” McCormick—with whom Patterson had jointly managed the Chicago Tribune between 1914 and his 1919 move to New York City—continued, in an autocratic way, to manage the day-to-day operations of the Tribune in Chicago until McCormick died in 1955.
During the 27 years when Patterson managed the Chicago Tribune newspaper tabloid subsidiary, that Democracy Now!’s future co-host began working for after 1987, the Chicago Tribune first entered the U.S. radio broadcasting world. As John Tebbel recalled in his 1947 book, An American Dynasty:
“One of the astute moves that Colonel McCormick made in building his empire was to get in on the ground floor of radio, at a time when most publishers scoffed at the idea that it could ever be a serious rival of the newspaper….As early as 1921…he began the negotiations which ended in June 1924 with the purchase of WDAP, then Chicago’s most powerful station. Less than a month later the station had its call letters changed to WGN, meaning of course, `World’s Greatest Newspaper’…In 1934…WGN joined WOR, Newark, WLW, Cincinnati, and WXYZ, Detroit, in a network which expanded in time to the powerful 268-station…Mutual Broadcasting System. The Colonel owns 24 percent of Mutual stock, and W.E. MacFarlane, Tribune business manager, was president of the chain for several years…”
Around the time New York Daily News founder Patterson died, the value of the Chicago Tribune media empire, which he and McCormick had inherited, was worth about $100 million [equal to about $1.1 billion in 2018] and the Chicago Tribune’s newspaper chain, along with William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper chain and Roy Howard’s Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, was regarded by many people in the USA as a dangerous corporate media propaganda tool of the U.S power elite’s right-wing faction. As George Seldes observed in his 1943 book, Fact and Fascism:
“If the reader thinks of our chain newspaper owners, Hearst, Howard, Patterson and McCormick, as merely four of America’s 15,000 publishers, he fails to see the danger to America from an anti-democratic, anti-American press. These four publishers put out one fourth of all the newspapers sold daily on our streets, they own forty of the 200 big city papers which make American public opinion, they run not only the three biggest newspaper chains in the country, but two of the three big news services which supply news to a majority of America’s dailies, and because they have always been anti-labor, anti-labor, and anti-democratic…they constitute what I believe is the greatest force hostile to the general welfare of the common people of America…They are animated by nothing above their pocketbooks...”
After Robert “Colonel” McCormick died in 1955, leaving an
estate of around $55 million [equal to over $507 million in 2018], the McCormick Charitable Trust/Robert R.
McCormick Tribune Foundation was established; and the McCormick Patterson Trust—which then controlled the Tribune
Company and its New York Daily News subsidiary—was placed under the control of
this newly-established foundation for the next two decades, until the Tribune
Company was reorganized in 1975. Then, in the early 1980s, the Tribune Company
corporate media conglomerate was again re-organized; and in 1983 Tribune
Company stock began to be sold to investors other than Tribune Company
executives, members of the McCormick-Patterson dynasty or the Robert R.
McCormick Tribune Foundation.
|Corporate Media Baron Robert R. McCormick: Foundation Inherited His Tribune Stock|
According to a May 16, 2008 Chicago Tribune article, “at one time,” the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation “was the largest shareholder” of the Tribune media conglomerate. But three years after the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation gave its $1 million grant to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists [NAHJ] in 2004, to expand the “parity project” that Democracy Now! co-host Gonzalez created during his 2002 to 2004 term as NAHJ president, the foundation “sold all its shares” of Tribune media conglomerate stock “as the part of Tribune Co.’s process of going private, which was completed in late 2007;” and in 2008 the foundation’s board of trustees voted to drop “Tribune” from its name and just call itself the “Robert R. McCormick Foundation.” Yet despite the name change, according to the same article, in 2008 “neither its governance nor operation” was “to change as a result” of the name change; and “the foundation’s board always has consisted of current and former Tribune Co. executives.”
The foundation may no longer have owned stock in the Tribune corporate media conglomerate after 2008. But in 2018 the Robert R. McCormick Foundation board chairman, former Tribune Company Chairman/CEO and current Northwestern University Trustee Dennis FitzSimons, still sat on the board of directors of corporate media firms like Time Inc. and Nexstar Media Group/Media General Incorporated, according to the foundation’s website; and in 2016, the over $1.2 billion in Robert R. McCormick Foundation assets included investments in hedge funds ($411.4 million), private equity funds ($164 million), international equity funds ($124.5 million), domestic equity funds ($63.1 million) and publicly-traded corporate stocks and bonds ($180.3 million), from which $35.5 million in investment income was obtained in 2016, according to the foundation’s 2016 Form 990 financial filing.
The same Form 990 financial filing also revealed that the “non-profit” Robert R. McCormick Foundation paid former Tribune Company Chairman/CEO and current Northwestern University Trustee FitzSimons an annual compensation of $61,900 for working just 5 hours a week as the foundation’s board chair in 2016; and, for working just 4 hours a week, the four other members of the Robert R. MCormick Foundation board of directors each received an annual compensation of $55,000 in 2016. In addition, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation’s president/CEO, a former Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune corporate media ceo named David Hiller, received a total annual compensation of $550,000 in 2016; and at least 12 other executives of the same “non-profit” foundation also were paid total annual compensations that were well above $150,000 in 2016.
Not surprisingly, the university on whose board of trustees the Robert R. McCormick Foundation board chair sits, tax-exempt Northwestern University, also, in 2016, received 8 “charitable” grants, totalling $2.1 million from the “non-profit” Robert R. McCormick Foundation which previously gave a $1 million grant in 2004 to the NAHJ organization that Democracy Now!’s longtime co-host headed between 2002 and 2004. (end of part 7)