"...We know that money matters in society, but we don't seem to realize that money matters on the Left...The area I have some experience with, alternative media, is graphically if not universally donor, and donor dynamics, dominated. For example, The Nation was begun and financed by large donors who, at most points, occupied the key decision positions in the periodical. The same holds true for Monthly Review, Mother Jones, Utne Reader, In These Times, and New Left Review. In cases where the big donor didn't come aboard, it was generally the best fund-raiser or most financially connected participant who had the corner office. With our activist hats on we decry mainstream media for being owned and thus beholding to big money in its motivations and structural choices, but then, when we don our media hats, we construct operations no less beholden to big-money interests, but now via the largesse of donors rather than direct owners. When leftists I have known have talked about a major nonprofit--say the Ford Foundation--they...certainly haven't described an institution free of constraint...
“Mother Jones magazine was financed into existence by Adam Hochschild. Adam's money allowed MJ to do massive mailings over and over, to build up and maintain a readership. It turns out that Adam's money came from African mining...Adam not only put his money into MJ but put himself into MJ too, in the corner office...But the salient point about Adam was the amount of cash he had available versus the amount that he made available. It seemed that Adam was richer than Adam would admit to himself. What he was giving, which was quite considerable by Left accounts, wasn't even denting his capacity. He was doing a fraction of what he might have done, given his actual resources...
"David Hunter...managed the Stern Foundation...I got an invitation to see David Hunter in New York City at the Stern Foundation offices...The meeting was held over lunch at the Harvard Club. We chatted a bit and Hunter asked to see our financial statement...Hunter told me...that he paid no attention to the actual numbers in such documents because he took it for granted that everyone asking for donations lied. He required the documents but he looked at them only to see if they were done properly...You got Hunter's aid, and even more, you got aid from other donors, if they liked you, pure and simple...
"...In the ZNet forum system, at its outset, I felt I had to do something to engender participation...To prod participation, I logged on with numerous false names, writing messages under each name, giving the system a flow of content that seemed to come from diverse people. I would engage in long debates, not only under my name, but also under four or five other names--including masquerading as two women..."
--from Remembering Tomorrow by Michael Albert
(Note: The following historical article about the hidden financial history of the U.S. alternative media and its historical left gatekeepers was written in 2002. So in 2012, some of the left gatekeepers mentioned in this 2002 historical article may have moved on to other positions within the U.S. alternative media/left subculture or mainstream U.S. media or academic world during the last 10 years.)
Alternative Radio / Z Magazine / South End Press
Although David Barsamian's Alternative Radio show is aired on a number of NPR stations which are subsidized by both corporate underwriters and grants from various Establishment foundations, the Institute for Social and Cultural Change Communications Inc. (of which Alternative Radio is a part) doesn't appear to have yet been given grants directly from the Ford Foundation or other Establishment foundations. However, one of Alternative Radio’s most frequently featured guests, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, was given a $350,000 "Kyoto Prize" by the Japanese Establishment's Inamori Foundation in 1988.
The Institute for Social and Cultural Change Communications Inc. does business as Z magazine. Ironically, although it may have taken its name from a Costa-Gavras film adaptation of the novel Z (which dramatizes the uncovering of an assassination conspiracy), Z magazine has attempted to marginalize 9/11 conspiracy researchers and journalists in recent months on its web site and in its printed pages.
According to its 990 form for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2000, Z magazine takes in over $641,000 a year in gross revenues and only has annual expenses of $531,000. A big chunk of Z magazine's annual revenues goes to three members of just one family: the Albert-Sargent family. At least $120,000 per year of Z magazine's total revenues ends up in the pockets of either Michael Albert, his partner Lydia Sargent or Lydia's son Eric Sargent. All three family members are each paid an annual salary of $30,000 by Z magazine. An additional $10,000 in "rent" is paid to each family member by Z magazine for the "office space" that the Albert-Sargent family "rents" from itself, to publish its Z magazine and maintain its web site.
Although the left entrepreneur family that publishes Z magazine took in $120,000 in the fiscal year ending 12/31/2000, all the writers it published were only paid $38,700 during the year, for the articles they wrote.
Of the $38,700 which the Albert-Sargent family paid its writers in 2000, $4,400 was given to Alternative Radio producer David Barsamian, whose book The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting, was published, with an introduction by Democracy Now! Productiions Inc.’s Amy Goodman, in 2000 by South End Press. Although a chart in Barsamian's book on public broadcasting indicates that the Ford Foundation was among the PBS national programming underwriters who contributed more than $1 million in 2000, the book's index apparently contains no reference to the Ford Foundation's crucial role in setting up the public broadcasting system. Barsamian's book index also contains no reference to the Schumann Foundation/Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, although it makes 3 references to book passages that describe Schumann Foundation/Schumann Center for Media and Democracy President Bill Moyers' Public Affairs TV programs in a favorable way.
South End Press is [was] the business enterprise of the Institute for Social and Cultural Change publishing firm which the Albert-Sargent family started in 1984, apparently with the help of $232,956 in low-interest "loans" from various individuals and organizations, that will no longer have to be paid back. According to the South End Press's form 990 for the fiscal year ending 6/30/200, the book publishing arm of Z magazine (which markets books like Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations With Noam Chomsky that Alternative Radio producer Barsamian co-authored), took in over $1 million from its book sales.
So if Z magazine/web site and South End Press were considered as one left business entity, we would be talking about a business that takes in about $1.7 million a year from the cultural leftism market. In times of U.S. imperialist war, anti-war books by anti-conspiracy theorist Chomsky, such as 9/11, tend to sell well and even make mainstream media best-seller lists. So, even without being directly dependent upon grants from Establishment Foundations which wish to discourage public opinion from considering the evidence dug up by U.S. conspiracy journalists and researchers, Alternative Radio/Z Magazine/South End Press may have a vested economic interest in attempting to marginalize anti-war journalists involved in 9/11 conspiracy research and journalism.
(end of part 4 of 2002-written historical article)