In The Pay of Foundations—Part 9
How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a "parallel left" media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.
Besides receiving the $10,000 grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund in 1998 to support its Democracy Now! show, Pacifica was also given a $25,000 [equivalent to nearly $40,000 in 2018] grant in that same year by the Public Welfare Foundation to help fund the news reporting of the Democracy Now! show. So, not surprisingly, during the last two decades the Democracy Now! producers have not aired many radio or cable tv news segments that examine how the Public Welfare Foundation (whose current assets exceed $480 million) obtained its grant money historically or how this "non-profit" foundation currently obtains its grant money.
Yet, as the Public Welfare Foundation website indicates, the foundation was established in 1947 after an Austin, Texas corporate media baron named Charles E. Marsh "made a formal commitment to philanthropy by incorporating the Public Welfare Foundation and designating it to receive his newspapers' assets upon his death;" and "Marsh oversaw the Foundation's work until his health began to decline in 1953." In addition, after Charles Marsh died in 1964, his third wife. Claudia Haines Marsh, "was the Foundation's president from 1952 to 1974, and she remained a guiding influence until her own death, at the age of 100, in the year 2000."
Until late 2011, "a granddaughter of Claudia Marsh" and "the daughter of Donald Warner who chaired the foundation's Board for 10 years," named Beth Warner, "was a valued member of the Board's Finance committee," according to a Nov. 8, 2011 Public Welfare Foundation press release; and Beth Warner's 21st-century presence on the Public Welfare Foundation's board of trustees continued "a tradition of family members and close associates of Charles Marsh serving on the board," according to the same 2011 press release.
In his 2009 book, The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes, Bryan Burrough indicated how the Public Welfare Foundation founder who owned both the Austin-American and Austin Statesman newspapers (which later merged into the Austin American-Statesman newspaper in 1973), Charles Marsh, was a business associate of ultra-rich Texas oilman Sid Richardson during the 1930s:
"Charles E. Marsh, co-owner of several Texas newspapers, including the politically influential Austin-American... was using his spare cash to bankroll several Texas wildcatters... It is a measure of how totally Sid Richardson cloaked his business in secrecy that the name of Charles Marsh, the man whose backing made Richardson's fortune possible, remained unknown to Richardson's family...
"Marsh... had begun negotiating a complicated deal involving First National Bank of Dallas... It appears that Marsh agreed to guarantee Richardson's debt to the bank. In return, the bank agreed to loan Richardson an additional $210,000 [equal to over $3.8 million in 2018], followed by another $150,000 [equal to over $2.7 million in 2018]... By the summer of 1935 Richardson had used most of Charles Marsh's investment to buy land all around Gulf's drill sites...
Marsh also loaned Richardson $30,000 [equivalent to over $560,000 in 2018] in 1934 and when Richardson's oil firm discovered oil in 1935 on its drill sites, the profits were split between Marsh and Richardson. But then, according to the same book:
"In 1938, Marsh encountered a sudden... financial reversal... From a single mention in a letter to Richardson — contained in Marsh's papers at the Johnson Presidential Library — it appears that the Internal Revenue Service served Marsh with a request for $1.2 million [equal to over $20.5 million in 2018] in overdue taxes... Marsh was forced to repay much of the money. To raise it, he ended up selling all his Texas newspapers."
Coincidentally, like Sid Richardson, former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson also apparently was backed by the founder of the Public Welfare Foundation (that helped fund Pacifica's Democracy Now! show with a $25,000 grant in 1998) during the 1930s, when LBJ (also using $10,000 [equal to over $176,000 in 2018] that was given to him by the father of former First Lady Claudia "Ladybird" Johnson) decided in 1937 that he wanted to get himself elected as Austin's representative in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1938. As Ronnie Dugger observed in his 1982 book The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson:
"Johnson had a special advantage: the partisanship of the Austin newspapers. Charles Marsh... was owner and publisher of the Austin American-Statesman as well as the dailies in 4 or 5 other Texas cities, and he was for Lyndon from the first. Marsh... had been in oil deals... since as early as 1934... Marsh was also... a director and president of Richardson Oils, Inc., which gave Johnson a direct connection to oilman Sid Richardson...
"Although the Austin dailies did not formally endorse anyone, Marsh turned them into Lyndon's harmonicas. `These papers went all-out for him' said Edmonds Travis, one of their earliest editors... From the time the Johnsons arrived in Washington they frequented `Longlea,' the plantation home of their friend, publisher Charles Marsh, in Culpeper, Virginia... The publisher also flew Johnson about in his private plane... ."
From the profits he obtained by co-owning a chain of newspapers in Austin, Waco, Wichita Falls, Breckenridge, Brownsville, Cisco, Cleburne, Corpus Christi, Eastland, Harlingen, Laredo, McAllen, Mineral Wells, Paris, Port Arthur, Ranger and Texarkana after World War I, Public Welfare Foundation founder Marsh had become a millionaire by the time he was in his early 40's, during the late 1920s. A biographical entry for Charles Marsh on the Spartacus-educational.com website noted that, according to Robert Caro, the author of the 1982 book The Path To Power: The years of Lyndon Johnson, by 1936:
"Marsh owned newspapers in fifteen Texas cities, and in another dozen cities in other states... He was Richardson's partner in some of the most profitable oil wells in West Texas, and the sole owner of other profitable wells of his own. And in Austin, he owned the streetcar franchise and the largest single bloc of stock in the Capital National Bank, as well as vast tracts of real estate."
The Spartacus-education.com website also recalled another way that the Public Education Welfare foundation founder helped the future Democratic President (who would later be responsible for the post-1964 escalation of U.S. military intervention in Vietnam that caused the deaths of millions of Vietnamese people, as well as the wounding of over 153,000 and deaths of over 57,000 members of the U.S. military, during the 1960s and early 1970s):
"Johnson complained that he found it difficult managing on his Congress salary. Marsh arranged for Johnson's wife to buy nineteen acres on Lake Austin for $8,000, which he knew was an area that was likely to be developed and would increase dramatically in value. Lady Bird Johnson later sold the land for $330,000. He also provided the money for Johnson to buy the Fort Worth radio station that he said would be `some day worth $3 million'. " (end of part 9)
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