Tuesday, February 13, 2018

In The Pay of Foundations: How U.S. power elite foundations fund a `parallel left' media network--Part 4

LBJ with 1992 duPont-Columbia award winner Bill Moyers in White House in late 1963.
In The Pay of Foundations—Part 4

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

Between 1984 and the year before the future Democracy Now! co-host, Amy Goodman, accepted her duPont-Columbia “silver baton” award at the 1994 Low Library ceremony on Columbia University’s campus, the former president of the CBS News corporate media organization, Bill Leonard, was the director of the  Alfred I duPont—Columbia University Awards in Broadcasting Journalism program.

A CBS News radio and television show producer during the McCarthy era, Leonard apparently participated in the blacklisting and exclusion from the radio airwaves and tv screens of anti-war leftist U.S. citizens in the 1950s by the CBS mass media conglomerate, on whose board of directors sat former Columbia University trustees William Paley and William A.M. Burden. As the former Alfred I. duPont—Columbia University Awards in Broadcasting Journalism director recalled in his 1987 autobiography In The Storm of the Eye: A Lifetime At CBS:

“…We were all asked to sign what amounted to—hell, what was—a loyalty oath. CBS was the only network to require such an oath…The paper did not say one would be fired for not signing. But…I signed…There was not only the loyalty oath but a system whereby every guest on my several programs had to be cleared in advance through an appointed CBS executive to make sure he or she was not on a blacklist…”

In the same book, Leonard also noted that “in January 1965 I found myself a vice-president of CBS News” and was a CBS “vice-president of programming” who “was involved with everything at CBS News” between 1965 and 1975, when he then began representing the CBS media conglomerate’s special economic interests in Washington, D.C. as CBS’s vice president for government relations between 1975 and 1977.

In his autobiography, former duPont-Columbia awards director Leonard noted that his job as CBS’s vice president for government relations made him “CBS’s chief lobbyist with Congress, the Federal Communications Commission [FCC], the White House—its major interests in Washington” and “learned more about how government really works in my…years as a Washington lobbyist.”

A year after former Columbia University President (and former member of the Texaco oil company board of directors) William McGill gave the Shah of Iran’s wife, Empress Farah Pahlavi, a Columbia University presidential citation in July 1977, former duPont-Columbia awards director Leonard returned to New York City in July 1978 as CBS News’ executive vice president and chief operating office. And while visiting Iran during the same year--when the dictatorial Shah of Iran unsuccessfully tried to retain political power in Iran by ordering his troops to shoot down unarmed Iranian civilian demonstrators and killing over 60,000 Iranian civilian demonstrators—Leonard was honored at a reception held in the Tehran home of the Shah of Iran regime’s ambassador to the United States. As the former duPont-Columbia awards director wrote in his 1987 autobiography:

“The situation was already quite tense in Iran in December [1978]…but I decided to stop there. I was pretty well connected in Iran, albeit primarily with the Shah’s regime, through his Washington ambassador, Ardeshir Zahedi. I had known our own ambassador, Bill Sullivan, over the years, and I now arranged a couple of talks with him in Tehran…Through my connections with Zahedi, I managed to arrange an interview with the Shah’s wife, Empress Farah Dibah…Later that evening, I set up a circuit to New York and reported on my interview with the Empress over the CBS Radio Network. The next day a reception was given in our honor by Ambassador Zahedi in his magnificent home, not far from the palace…”

The U.S. ambassador who, “over the years,” Leonard “had known” and “arranged a couple of talks with” in Tehran in December 1978, William Sullivan, was described in the following way in an obituary  of him that appeared in the London Telegraph’s Nov. 4, 2013 issue:

“William Sullivan, who has died aged 90, was the American diplomat who directed the `secret war’ in Laos, and later, as the US ambassador to Iran during the Islamic Revolution, recommended that Jimmy Carter reach out to Ayatollah Khomeini… From 1964 to 1973 US bombers dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos, making the country the most heavily bombed country per capita in history…. As American Ambassador to Laos from 1964 to 1973, Sullivan served as field commander of the operation and, although his precise role remains undocumented, one former colleague was quoted as saying that `there wasn’t a bag of rice dropped in Laos that he didn’t know about.’

“As late as October 1978, a couple of months before the Shah fled into exile, Sullivan sent a cable backing the vacillating monarch. Two weeks later…he changed his mind. The Shah, he now argued, was finished, and America should reach out to Khomeini to maintain its influence in Iran….”

While presiding over the Establishment’s CBS News mainstream media organization between 1979 and 1982, Leonard also hired a former Johnson White House press secretary and chief of staff between late 1963 and 1967--when LBJ sent U.S. troops to the Dominican Republic and escalated U.S. military intervention in Vietnam in 1965--named Bill Moyers, to again work for the CBS commercial media conglomerate’s news department between 1981 and 1986.

After leaving CBS in 1986, Moyers was mostly then seen on U.S. television hosting the programs that his U.S. power elite foundation-funded Public Affairs TV Inc. media firm produced for foundation, corporate and U.S. government-funded PBS-affiliated television stations to broadcast; and, in addition, at the same time he was the executive director of his foundation-funded media firm, Moyers also was the president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy Schumann Foundation and a trustee of billionaire speculator George Soros’ Open Society Institute foundations, that each dished out millions of dollars in grants to various “parallel left” alternative media groups between 1990 and 2018.

Not surprisingly, the duPont-Columbia awards program jury, on which duPont-Columbia awards program director and former CBS News president Leonard sat next to former CBS News correspondent Marlene Sanders (along with folks like then-Columbia Journalism School Dean Joan Konner and then-Hearst media conglomerate president for new projects Philip Balboni),  gave the former CBS News journalist that Leonard had hired to work for him in 1981 a duPont-Columbia “gold baton” award in 1992, “for the body of his work over 20 years in broadcasting,” according to a Feb. 7, 1992 Columbia Records article. And, also not surprisingly, the duPont-Columbia awards jury that awarded the executive director of Public Affairs TV Inc. a “golden baton” in 1992 was chaired by a former business partner of Moyers:  then-Columbia University Journalism School Dean Joan Konner, who was the Public Affairs TV Inc. president between 1986 and 1988, before being hired as the Columbia’s journalism school dean in 1988; and, subsequently, becoming board chair of Moyers’ Schumann Foundation.

After retiring as CBS News’ president in 1982 and beginning to direct the duPont-Columbia awards program in 1984 that a decade later gave a “silver baton” award to future Democracy Now! Productions president Goodman (a year after Leonard stopped directing the duPont-Columbia awards program) in 1994, Leonard was a consultant to both CBS and the National Association of Broadcasters [NAB] lobbying organization of U.S. commercial broadcasting corporations after 1982. In addition, during the 1980s he was also a board member of the corporate and foundation-funded NPR and a member of the World Press Freedom Committee’s board (during a decade in which this organization opposed UNESCO’s 1980s call for a New World Information Order and democratization of the global mass media and newsgathering system; apparently because it felt UNESCO’s call threatened the dominant position of global news agencies such as Reuters, Associated Press and AFP and the commercial interests of privately-owned global  corporate media conglomerates, like CBS).

In 1993, a year after Leonard’s duPont-Columbia awards program gave Bill Moyers its “golden baton” award in 1992, Moyers, not surprisingly, hosted the annual duPont-Columbia awards ceremony in Low Library in which Moyers’ former Public Affairs TV Inc. business partner Konner presented Leonard, himself, a “silver baton” duPont-Columbia award, prior to the former CBS News president’s 1993 retirement as director of the duPont awards program at Columbia.  According to a Feb. 5, 1993 Columbia Record article Leonard  was given his award “for his service to the awards and to broadcast journalism in a career spanning five decades” in the corporate media.

Yet three years before the Low Library ceremony at which future long-time Democracy Now! Productions Inc. president Goodman was given a duPont-Columbia award for producing the MacArthur Foundation subsidized Pacifica/WBAI radio documentary about the Indonesian military’s 1991  massacre in East Timor, 200 grassroots anti-war movement demonstrators had picketed the 1991 duPont-Columbia awards ceremony. As Danny Franklin noted in an article, titled “Anti-media protest held outside Low,” that appeared in the Columbia Daily Spectator’s Jan. 30, 1991 issue:

“About 200 people gathered outside the duPont Awards for Broadcast Journalism held in Low Library last night to protest the media's coverage of both the war in the Persian Gulf and the anti-war movement. After marching around Low Library, the crowd gathered at the top of the steps where Columbia Security guards blocked the entrance to the building….A few shoves were exchanged between a security guard and one protester as she approached the building. Tova Wang, CC '91, a spokesperson for the Barnard-Columbia Anti-War Coalition, said that a security guard pushed her with the long end of his nightstick… Protesters chanted `Two, four, six, eight. Separate the press and state’ and `TV news, you can't hide. We know you don't show both sides.’…” (end of part 4)

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