Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The AP News Trust's Pre-1990's Hidden History Revisited: Conclusion

Wikicommons photo by Alterego

A September 1979 Progressive magazine article by former AP reporter Samuel Day Jr., entitled “A `Clarification’,” revealed “how Westinghouse helped the AP rewrite a nuclear article.” As Progressive magazine noted:

“…A story about a little-known and controversial new atomic reactor began moving on the wires of the Associated Press to newspaper offices across the country on Tuesday, July 3. The story, filed in advance for publication on Sunday, July 15, dealt with an experimental device called the `fast flux test facility [FFTF]’ in the desert of central Washington…The story went on to tell about the big facility that Westinghouse Corporation is building in the sagebrush of the Columbia River Basin to pave the way for the nuclear power plants of the future…There was one thing that neither wire editors nor newspaper readers knew: AP’s report on the problems of Westinghouse’s FFTF had been reviewed, rewritten, and re-edited with the help of the Westinghouse Corporation…The story was revised in New York in consultation with the Seattle bureau, which forwarded a detailed critique by Westinghouse…”

In a 1986 Nation (12/6/86) column, Alexander Cockburn also revealed that AP. apparently attempted to suppress news about the emerging Contragate scandal at the request of Oliver North and/or the Reagan White House. According to Cockburn:

“On March 16, 1985, the AP’s Middle East bureau chief Terry Anderson, was kidnapped in Lebanon…Later that year, two AP reporters based in Washington, Robert Parry and Brian Barger, began investigating shady dealings by the contras and the activities of Oliver North. They amassed damning detail from a multiplicity of sources, including Federal officials indignant at what they perceived to be the Reagan Administration’s complicity in drug trafficking by the contras…

“…Among those aware of Parry and Barger’s research, it was no secret that the two were frustrated by what they considered to be unwarranted and extraordinary caution exercised by their superiors at AP notably by the Washington bureau chief, Charles Lewis…In fact, the story finally put on the wires on January 19 was a shrunken version of earlier drafts, having fallen victim to an editorial prudence that seemed inexplicable. Details were cut, names excised and the story finally put on the wires at the bottom of the news cycle…Oliver North—was in contact with their superiors at AP...As one person working in the Washington bureau at the time remarks: `Lewis insisted on editing the [Parry and Barger] stories while talking to North. That was a clear conflict of interest and he should have been smart enough to step aside.’”

The AP has also apparently not been too interested in transmitting much news over its wires which challenges the accuracy of the U.S. Establishment’s “Report of the President’s Commission On The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” The Warren Report, which AP published in the 1960s, contained “an introductory note” by AP Special Correspondent Saul Prett which stated the following:

“Did one unbalanced mind rob us of a President and another, of his murderer? And if we say that and if we see that, are we then close to sensing that the sick of the world, though unknown to each other, may form as dangerous a conspiracy as any political plot from the left or from the right?

“…The Commission was appointed by President Johnson. It was headed by the Chief Justice of the United States, composed of distinguished citizens, and had at its disposal all the investigative resources of a proud government. Here, then, are its answers…”

In the early 1990s, AP still seemed to reflect a pro-U.S. Establishment political bias in its editorial policies. Among the AP-provided news stories New York Newsday printed in its May 18, 1993 issue, for instance, was one headlined “Lawmakers: Clinton’s AIDS, Cancer Research Plan Hurts Other Programs,” which began with the paragraph “President Bill Clinton’s plan to raise spending on AIDS and breast cancer research shortchanges other federally funded research into diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes or strokes, some lawmakers complained last week”—but failed to include any quotations from either AIDS or women’s health activists in the news story.

Downtown telephoned in the early 1990s the then-office of an AP corporate spokesperson named Mike Bass at 50 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, and attempted to ask him for AP’s official response to the criticism that its news service is editorially-biased. Bass was unavailable for comment, but the AP employee who was screening his calls replied: “Before I can find someone to answer that question, they’ll want to know the name of the person who made this criticism.”

After Downtown replied that U.S. academics involved in media studies like Michael Parenti have made this criticism, the AP employee informed Downtown that AP spokespeople would need to know some specific ways in which their news service was being criticized for being editorially-biased, before they would respond to Downtown’s inquiry.

When Downtown noted that AP has been criticized for slanting its news reports by not interviewing enough of a variety of sources, slanting its coverage of nuclear power issues to please Westinghouse, and slanting its coverage of the Contragate scandal to please the Reagan Administration, the AP employee said she’d try to obtain an official AP response by the end of the day.

But when Downtown telephoned AP at the end of the day, it was again told by another AP employee that no one at AP was available for comment.

So if you’re still waiting for the institutionally racist AP News Trust to use its special influence to provide U.S. newspaper and newspaper website readers, radio listeners and TV viewers with much variety in news items, much investigative reporting about Big Media conglomerates, the super-rich, the CIA and the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, or much daily news about U.S. antiwar and anti-imperialist left radical activists, you may end up waiting a long, long time for the news—despite AP’s extensive network of leased satellite circuits, submarine cables and radio transmissions.

Associated Press/AP Board of Directors in 21st-century

 (end of article)

(The following article originally appeared in the July 7, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown).


Monday, November 16, 2020

The AP News Trust's Pre-1990's Hidden History Revisited: Part 6

Wikicommons photo by Alterego

The editorial policies of the institutionally racist AP have long been criticized by U.S. antiwar radicals for their pro-U.S. Establishment political biases. In 1912, for instance, U.S. antiwar radical presidential candidate Eugene Debs wrote the following in a letter of protest to the general manager of AP:

“Pardon me if I give you just an instance or two of my personal experience. During the heat of the Pullman strike, when the Pullman cars were under boycott, the Associated Press sent out a dispatch over all the country that I had ridden out of Chicago like a royal prince in a Pullman Palace car while my dupes were left to walk the ties. A hundred witnesses who were at the depot when I left testified that the report was a lie, but I could never get the Associated Press to correct it. This lie cost me more pain and trouble than you can well imagine, and for it all I have to thank the Associated Press, and I have not forgotten it.

“During the last national campaign, at a time when I was away from home, the Associated Press spread a report over the country to the effect that scab labor had been employed to do some work at my home. It was a lie, and so intended. I had the matter investigated by the chief union organizer of the district, who reported that it was a lie, but I was never able to have the correction put upon the wires. That lie is still going to this day, and for that, and still others I could mention, I have also to thank the capitalistically owned and controlled Associated Press.”

After his expose’ of the U.S. meat packing industry in the best-selling 1905 muckraking novel, The Jungle, created some popular pressure for passage of some kind of pure food law, Upton Sinclair attempted to interest AP in sending more news about the unhealthy practices of this industry over the AP wires. But although “The Associated Press was the established channel through which the news was supposed to flow,” according to Upton Sinclair’s The Brass Check, “the channel proved to be a concrete wall…as thick as all the millions of dollars of all the vested interests of America can build it.” According to Sinclair, “I first telephoned, and then sent a letter by special messenger to the proper officials of the Associated Press, but they would have absolutely nothing to do with me or my news” and “Throughout my entire campaign against the Beef Trust, they never sent out a single line injurious to the interests of the packers, save for a few lines dealing with the Congressional hearings, which they could not entirely suppress…”

In a 1937 article, Fortune magazine also noted that in 1926 “an AP reporter, at the insistence of Assistant Secretary of State Olds, wrote a dispatch about the `specter of Mexican-fostered Bolshevik hegemony’ in-between the U.S. and the Panama Canal” which proved to be “a piece of utter claptrap.” Fortune also observed that former Nation publisher Oswald Garrison Villard once declared the AP wire service “constitutionally incapable of doing justice to the underprivileged.”

Associated Press/AP Board of Directors in 21st-century

 (end of part 6)

(The following article originally appeared in the July 7, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown).


Saturday, November 14, 2020

The AP News Trust's Pre-1990's Hidden History Revisited: Part 5


Wikicommons photo by Alterego

As Downtown (6/24/92) previously noted, former Watergate Scandal investigative reporter Carl Bernstein, in an unpublicized 1977 Rolling Stone magazine article entitled “The C.I.A. And The Media,” wrote that: “Other organizations which cooperated with the C.I.A. include the American Broadcasting Company [ABC], the National Broadcasting Company [NBC], the Associated Press…”

Like other institutionally racist Big Media organizations,  the institutionally racist AP also has a long history of discrimination against women. A study by Lucy Komisar, cited in Women And The Mass Media by Matilda Butler and William Paisley, revealed that in 1970 at AP there were “no women in management positions and no women heading any of the 38 domestic or 6 foreign bureaus” and at AP’s then-Midtown Manhattan office there were only “7 women out of 52 editors and reporters” in 1970. Women And The Mass Media also noted that in 1972 Time magazine reported that U.S. women were only “11 percent of Associated Press’s nationwide news staff of 1050.”

The same book also revealed that “in 1973, the Wire Services Guild charged the Associated Press [AP] with discriminating against its female and minority members” and that “In May 1978, the EEOC found that AP did discriminate by not recruiting, hiring and promoting women” and “did not hire minorities as newspeople.” Women And The Mass Media also noted that “EEOC data for the end of 1977” showed that “males are 100 percent of the assistant bureau chiefs, 98 percent of the bureau chiefs, 97 percent of the correspondents, 90 percent of the news editors, and 85 percent of the newspeople.”

As late as the early 1990s, about 88 percent of AP’s U.S. bureau chiefs were still male, as were 75 percent of AP’s U.S. correspondents. All but two of the seats on AP’s board of directors were also still filled by men. And AP’s chairman, vice-chairman, president and general manager, as well as its six vice-presidents, were still all men in the early 1990s. 

Associated Press/AP Board of Directors in 21st-century

 (end of part 5)

(The following article originally appeared in the July 7, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown).

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The AP News Trust's Pre-1990's Hidden History Revisited: Part 4

Wikicommons photo by Alterego

The historical origins of institutionally racist AP go back to 1848 when six Downtown Manhattan daily newspaper publishers, led by New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, decided to share the telegraph costs of news-gathering and, thus, reduce their individual newspaper news-gathering costs. As then-Boston Globe publisher General Taylor said in 1900:

“Mr. Bennett called the other newspaper proprietors together and proposed that they take a [telegraph] report of two hours and divide the expenses. That was the origin of The Associated Press.”

But Bennett, like AP, was never too famous for either the quality of his journalism work or for using the special influence he possessed in the world of Downtown Manhattan journalism to promote equal rights for African-American people and the radical democratization of U.S. society. As The Early Black Press In America, 1827 to 1860 by Frankie Hutton recalled:

“In particular, the New York Herald founded by James Gordon Bennett in 1835, said to be one of the most profitable newspapers of its time, was criticized as being such poor journalism as to `vitiate all correct tastes, corrupt all the social and moral habits, and morally degrade human beings.’ Bennett had no qualms about using violent and sensational news to sell his newspaper…”

And, in his Bennett’s `New York Herald’ and The Rise Of The Popular Press book, James Crouthamel asserts that “Bennett was consistent in defending the rights of the South and its institutions of slavery,, in his belief in Negro inferiority and in his view that the antislavery movement was the major threat” and “consistent with his belief in Negro inferiority Bennett opposed extension of the franchise to blacks and integrated education in the North.”

By the 1870s, around 200 U.S. newspapers were utilizing the AP wire service to secure international news and national news by telegraph for their readers, without having to hire their own national and foreign correspondents. As a result, according to Development of American Journalism by Sidney Kobre, by the 1870s “control of the wire service meant that someone might shape the thinking of newspaper readers everywhere.” And, in fact, during this period “a handful of men in charge of the monopoly” apparently fabricated AP news on occasion whenever it dealt with politics, economics or other controversial issues, according to AP, The Story Of News by Oliver Gramling.

Around this time, the original Downtown Manhattan newspaper publishers-dominated AP began calling itself “United Press.” Later in the 19th-century, a competing news-gathering wire service organization—the Associated Press [AP] of Illinois—was established by rival Midwestern newspaper publishers which came to replace the original AP/”United Press” organization. As a result, in 1893 the Associated Press [AP] of Illinois was reorganized as a national press association, with the name of “Associated Press [AP],” under a revised set of rules. Following an adverse Illinois court decision, the AP was again reorganized as a New York-chartered non-profit cooperative in 1900.

Between 1900 and the early 1940s, “nearly all newspapers which took membership in it were guaranteed that no newspaper that might later be established in their respective cities would be permitted to join the national Associated Press without the consent of The Associated Press members in those cities” and “the promise of exclusivity was considered by all members to be a `franchise’ and that is what they called it…,” according to Kent Cooper And The Associated Press: An Autobiography. Led by newspaper publisher E.W. Scripps, however, those newspaper publishers who were denied the right to print AP news because a local A.P.-affiliated competing newspaper already held the AP “franchise” in their cities organized a competing news agency wire service in the U.S.—United Press—in the early 20th century.

But after the AP board of directors refused to allow the Chicago Sun to join the AP and publish AP-furnished news in Chicago in the early 1940s, the Department of Justice finally prosecuted the AP for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. A federal court then found AP guilty and the AP News Trust’s board of directors was forced to discontinue its policy of allowing AP-affiliated newspapers to monopolize the printing of AP-furnished news items in each U.S. city. In the early 1940s, the AP also began to furnish its regular news report to radio stations, instead of just to newspaper subscribers.

Associated Press/AP Board of Directors in 21st-century

The Ochs-Sulzberger Dynasty’s New York Times apparently relied heavily on its AP-provided copy during the early part of the 20th century, before it became as lucrative a media operation as it was in the 1990s. According to former AP Executive Director Kent Cooper, New York Times 1990's publisher Sulzberger’s great-grandfather—Adolph Ochs—once said the following with regard to AP:

“I owe more loyalty to the Associated Press than I can express. For when I bought the New York Times, with its Associated Press membership, I had no money left with which to buy special correspondence. So the New York Times reached prosperity practically on The Associated Press news service alone. Though we now spend a great deal for our own specials, The Associated Press still remains our prime reliance. Therefore, for the property value the New York Times has now become, I owe most to the Associated Press."

In the late 1950s, AP’s United Press competitor in the U.S. took over the Hearst media empire’s International News Service to form United Press International [UPI]. But by 1985, UPI was facing financial bankruptcy, in part “because the AP reaped so much more revenue from newspapers it could engage in never-ending price wars to woo away UPI. broadcast clients,” according to Down To The Wire: UPI’s Fight For Survival by Gergory Gordon and Ronald Cohen. The same book also noted that “as UPI. had shriveled AP had grown, its budget soaring toward $300 million a year.” And as the New York Times (8/26/91) also noted, in 1991 UPI was again on the verge of bankruptcy due, in part, to the “competition from AP” which had “squeezed UPI’s revenues”—until the Saudi royal family decided to purchase UPI in 1992.

 (end of part 4)

 The following article originally appeared in the July 7, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown).

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The AP News Trust's Pre-1990's Hidden History Revisited: Part 3


Wikicommons photo by Alterego

In the 1990s, among the Big Media representatives who sat next to each other on the institutionally racist AP board of directors to discuss how AP could best serve as a tool of their supposedly competing Big Media enterprises were the following wealthy people:

New York Times Company Director and Chattanooga Times Publisher Ruth Sulzberger Holberg;

Newhouse Media Conglomerate Advance Publications/Newark Star-Ledger/Parade magazine/Vogue/Conde’ Nast/New Yorker Owner Donald Newhouse;

Times-Mirror/Newsday Vice-Chairman and Los Angeles Times Publisher W.Thomas Johnson;

Knight-Ridder/Philadelphia Inquirer Chairman of the Board James Batten;

Cincinnati Enquirer Chairman of the Board and Fifth Third Bancorp director William Keating;

WJTV Broadcasters of Mississippi Chairman and United Missouri Bancorp Director David Bradley;

Providence Journal President and Director Stephen Hamblett; and

Hibernia Corp./Hibernia National Bank of New Orleans and South Central Bell-Birmingham Director Joe Dorsey Smith. Jr.

[And in 2007, the AP board of directors then included the following wealthy folks:

MediaNews Group Vice-Chairman and CEO William Dean Singleton;

McClatchy Company Chairman, President and CEO Gary Pruitt;

Chicago Tribune Company Chairman, President and CEO Dennis FitzSimons;

Hearst Corporation President and CEO Victor Ganzi;

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman Jr.;

New York Times Regional Media Group President and CEO Mary Jacobus;

Washington Post Publisher and CEO “Bo” Jones;

Lee Enterprises Inc. President and CEO Mary Junck;

E.W. Scripps Company President and CEO Kenneth Lowe;

Gannett Company Retired Chairman Douglas McCorkindale;

Newhouse Media Conglomerate/AdvanceNet Chairman Steven Newhouse;

ABC News President David Westin; and

Cox Newspapers President Jay Smith. ]

Although the Washington Post-Los Angeles Times News Service and the New York Times Service were supposedly set up to compete with A.P. for media outlet subscribers and readers, representatives of the parent companies of both the Washington Post-Los Angeles Times News Service and the New York Times Service also sat on the A.P. board of directors, ironically. And, coincidentally, neither the Washington Post-Los Angeles Times News Service nor the New York Times Service has apparently been too eager to provide their subscribers with news that is too critical of the A.P. News Trust’s special influence. 

Associated Press/AP Board of Directors in 21st-century

[In 2020, the AP now includes the following wealthy folks:

Newhouse Media Conglomerate Advance Publications Director and Senior Executive Officer Michael Newhouse, who also sits on the board of Charter Communications (which owns Spectrum Networks);

Hearst Media Conglomerate President, CEO and Director Steven R. Swartz (whose media conglomerate owns 33 television stations and at least three daily newspapers/newspaper websites);

E.W. Scripps Company Vice-Chairman Richard A. Boehne (whose media conglomerate owns 60 local television stations);

Gannett Company/TEGIA Inc. Media Conglomerate Former President and Director and Wellesley College Trustee Gracia C. Martore, who also sits on the corporate board of FM Global and the corporate advertising industry's Omnicom Group;

Graham Media Group President and CEO Emily L. Barr (whose media firm owns 7 television stations), who also is the National Association of Broadcasters Chairperson for Television; and

Cox Media Group Former President Bill Hoffman (whose former media conglomerate owns 3 newspapers and around 86 radio stations), who also is a  member of the National Association of Broadcasters TV, ABC News and the Zionist movement's Anti-Defamation League [ADL] Southern Region boards as well as the current president of Hoffmann Communications Inc.]

(end of part 3)

(The following article originally appeared in the July 7, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown. )

Monday, November 9, 2020

The AP News Trust's Pre-1990's Hidden History Revisited: Part 2

Wikicommons photo by Alterego

The son of Ohio Democratic Congressional Representative George Cooper—Ken Cooper—was institutionally racist AP’s general manager and executive director for much of the first half of the 20th Century. In his 1959 autobiography, Kent Cooper And The Associated Press, AP’s former executive director also referred to AP’s special influence by observing that “there is no other organization on earth whose product touches the daily lives of so many people as does that of the Associated Press” and that AP news was being distributed by “several thousand newspapers, radio and television stations” by the late 1950s.

By the 1980s, The International News Services by Jonathan Fenby estimated that “1500 newspapers and 5700 broadcasting stations” distributed AP news in the United States and about 8850 foreign media organizations also were the recipients of AP-provided news. The same book also noted that “The AP’s radio and television members get two services: a special news wire edited and written for broadcasters and an audio service of voice reports and sound recordings.” In 1988, Introduction To Mass Communications also revealed that “The Associated Press…collects and distributes news in 108 countries” and “more than 1500 news staff members serve AP around the world in 222 news bureaus.”

 In 1991, the World Book Encyclopedia estimated that AP was collecting and distributing news in six languages to media outlets in 115 countries. To supply AP news rapidly to its affiliated newspapers and broadcasters, AP “uses an extensive network of leased satellite circuits, submarine cables and radio transmissions,” according to The World News Prism by William Hachten.

One reason why institutionally racist AP doesn’t often send news that is too critical of either other institutionally racist Big Media institutions, or the people who own Big Media outlets, over its wires is that AP is controlled by Big Media owners—not by AP employees, newspaper or news website readers, radio listeners or TV viewers. AP-affiliated newspaper owners and broadcasters in the U.S. elect a board of 18 directors from among Big Media owners and this AP board of directors appoints AP’s chief executives. In 1937, Fortune magazine also noted that “in corporate matters—the allotment of assessments, the hours that members shall be allowed to publish editions containing AP news, the quarrels between members—the board’s decision is final” and “It acts as both judge and jury.”

The AP board of directors “has summary authority to cut off the news report, or recommend expulsion, or impose fines” on AP members and “In past years the board’s fines have totaled as much as $2,000 at a single meeting, ranging from $10 to $15 against small papers and up to $1,000 against the rich ones,” according to Fortune. The same magazine also revealed that by 1937 “at least half of the AP’s membership has thus been disciplined at one time or another.”

Fortune described how AP’s board of directors functioned in the 1930's:
“The Directors meet in a paneled room on the seventh floor of the AP headquarters in New York City, soundproofed from the quarter of an acre of chattering printers on the floor below. Eighteen chairs are ranged around three sides of a long rectangular oak table and in front of each is a heavy brass ash tray. Nine months a year the chairs stand empty; but for two or three days in January, April and October they are occupied by the directors—the most imposing group of men in U.S. journalism…No cabinet or council anywhere sits with more gravity or with a deeper consciousness of authority.”

Associated Press/AP Board of Directors in 21st-century

In the early 20th Century, a researcher named Kittle “made a study of the members of the AP’s board of directors and found that 14 of them were `conservative or ultra-conservative’” publishers whose papers were “huge commercial ventures, connected by advertising and in other ways with banks, trusts, companies, railways and city utility companies, department stores and manufacturing enterprises” and which “reflect the system which supports them,” according to The Brass Check by Upton Sinclair.

And in his 1959 autobiography, former AP executive director Kent Cooper wrote that “some newspapers are indeed owned by copper mining companies, by railroad companies, newsprint and a wide variety of other manufacturers, by bankers, politicians, oil companies, church organizations and men of great wealth who have wanted to own newspapers to satisfy their ego or just for the fun of it” and “such diversified interests are joined into one group under the name of The Associated Press.”

Among the Big Media owners who sat on the AP board of directors together during the first half of the 20th Century were the publishers of the supposedly competing New York Times, Atlanta Constitution, Washington Star, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Bulletin, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Spokane Spokesman, Minneapolis Tribune, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Chicago Tribune, and Des Moines Register & Tribune.

(end of part 2) (This article originally appeared in the July 7, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown)

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The AP News Trust's Pre-1990's Hidden History Revisited: Part 1


Wikicommons photo by Alterego

“The dominant and largest institution in the world news system is AP, a cooperative owned mainly by American newspapers…AP’s central role is undisputed. By the agency’s count, more than a billion people have daily access to AP news…”

The World News Prism by William Hachten in 1987

“While having an abundance of numbers and giving an appearance of diversity, the mass media actually are highly centralized outlets that proffer a remarkably homogenized fare.”

Inventing Reality by Michael Parenti in 1986

“If there is in this country a strictly capitalist class institution it is the Associated Press.”

Eugene Debs in 1912

Although the Big Media newspapers, radio news departments and television stations are supposed to be competing with each other, the same news headlines and major news items usually appear in every U.S. Establishment newspaper, news website, radio newscast or TV news show each day.

One reason it often appears that one organization, alone, decides which items are most newsworthy is that one organization—the institutionally racist Associated Press [AP] sends over its wire service much of the copy which Big Media newspapers re-print or repost on websites and U.S. radio and TV announcers read over the airwaves.

Since every Big Media member of the AP News Trust receives the same copy of news headlines and news items from the AP’s wire service, news junkies who wish to receive some variety in their daily news coverage are not likely to find too much variety (unless they surf around alternative media blogs and web sites on the internet)—no matter which AP-affiliated daily newspaper or newspaper website they pick up or which AP-affiliated radio or TV station they switch on.

The special influence of AP has long been recognized by alternative U.S. journalists. As the early 20th-century muckraking writer Upton Sinclair wrote in his 1921 book, The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism:

“There is the problem of the Associated Press, the most powerful and most sinister monopoly in America. Certainly there will be no freedom in America, neither journalistic freedom nor political freedom until the monopoly of the Associated Press is broken; until the distribution of the news to American newspapers is declared a public utility under public control…"

Sinclair also observed that when the bohemian radical Downtown Manhattan magazine Masses “published a cartoon representing the president of the Associated Press as pouring a bottle labeled `Poison’ into a reservoir entitled `Public Opinion’ in the early 20th Century, “The Associated Press caused the arrest of Max Eastman and Art Young on a charge of criminal libel” and AP then “issued an elaborate statement attacking the Masses and defending their own attitude toward the news, which statement was published in practically every paper in New York.”

Victor Rosewater also noted in his 1930 book, History of Cooperative News-Gathering In The United States, that “the accusation most obstinately pursuing the Associated Press has been that it was a gigantic news monopoly, immunizing members against competition even while ruling them with a high hand…”

In a 1937 article, Fortune magazine characterized AP as “a cooperative for the transfer of news, some which it gathers itself, a little of which comes from the outside by exchanging arrangements, but the great bulk of which it draws directly from the 1,300 dailies…that make up its membership."

Fortune also noted that “after sorting, rewriting and editing, the AP parcels this news supply back among the 1,300 members (of whom fully 1,000 are wholly dependent on it for outside news) which then display it to some 35,000,000 people…of the 38,000,000 in the U.S. who buy daily newspapers” and “thus the AP might be called a clearinghouse.” The sorted, rewritten and edited news supply which AP wires back to its affiliated newspapers is then usually re-printed “under familiar (AP) logotype in the date lines,” according to Fortune.

Associated Press/AP Board of Directors in 21st-century
(end of part 1)

(This article originally appeared in the July 7, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown)