In The Pay of Foundations—Part 11
How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a "parallel left" media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.
In his 1971 book The Higher Circles: The Governing Class In America, University of California-Santa Cruz Professor G. William Domhoff observed that "all power elite foundations" are "involved in ideological combat" and "all power elite foundations" are "propaganda fronts which are involved in maintaining the legitimacy and respectability of the present Establishment, even if in some cases this involves no more than giving some bright-eyed novice a few thousand dollars with which to amuse himself;" and "if the" CIA-funded "Farfield Foundation" was "a conduit, so is the Ford Foundation (which is also a tax dodge)." And as Joan Roelofs wrote in her 2003 book Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism:
"The cultural Cold War initiated concerted action by foundations and the CIA... Ford, the Kaplan Foundation, and others became `pass-throughs' for the CIA project, Congress for Cultural Freedom [CCF]. In addition, starting in 1957, Ford provided funds for the CCF... Ford established a U.S.-type economic program at the Indonesian university and trained faculty at the U.S. universities to run the Indonesian program... When the coup [in September 1965] was instituted to overthrow [the anti-imperialist Indonesian political leader] Sukarno, well-trained leadership was available to run the country and negotiate reasonable deals with multinational corporations... "
Yet during the last two decades the long-time Democracy Now! show co-hosts have generally not provided their listeners or viewers with many news segments that examined in a critical way: (1) the role that Ford Foundation founder Henry Ford and his heirs or former Ford Foundation president McGeorge Bundy played in 20th-century history; (2) the political role at home and abroad that Ford Foundation has played historically or in recent years; (3) what the special corporate connections and economic interests of Ford Foundation's present and past board members and the Ford Foundation have been; or (4) how the multi-billion dollar Ford Foundation obtained and retains its assets and the grant money it distributes each year.
One reason might be because, between 1998 and 2004, $300,000 [equal to around $418,000 in 2018] in Ford Foundation "charitable grant" money was used to help fund Democracy Now!; and a $50,000 [equal to around $64,000 in 2018] Ford Foundation "charitable grant" was given to then-NY Daily News columnist, former National Association of Hispanic Journalists [NAHJ] president and long-time Democracy Now! co-host Gonzalez in 2005 to support the research for the News for All the People book. In addition, in 2003--during the period when Democracy Now!'s part-time co-host was also the NAHJ president—the Ford Foundation joined the Knight Foundation in establishing a "Challenge Fund for Journalism" program that provided $240,000 in grant money to NAHJ between 2003 and 2011; and in 2008 a separate grant of $100,000 [equal to over $117,000 in 2018] was given to the NAHJ group by the Ford Foundation.
The Ford Foundation's historical funding of Democracy Now! began in 1998 when it gave the Pacifica Foundation a $75,000 [equal to over $114,000 in 2018] grant "toward marketing consultancy, promotional campaign and program development activities for radio program, DEMOCRACY NOW!". But after listener-activists at Pacifica's 5 radio stations pressured Goodman and Gonzalez in 1999 to break Pacifica Radio's "gag rule," and finally provide their listeners with news about Pacifica's firings between 1995 and early 1999 in California of KPFA and KPFK volunteer or paid staff show producers who opposed the "NPRization" and corporatization of Pacifica's programming and radio stations, Pacifica's WBAI station managers stopped the Democracy Now! co-hosts from broadcasting from Pacifica's Manhattan studios.
In 2002, however, the U.S. power elite's Ford Foundation continued to help fund Democracy Now! by giving a grant of $75,000 [equal to over $104,000 in 2018] to Deep Dish TV "for the television news series, DEMOCRACY NOW!, to continue incorporating the aftermath of the September 11th attack into future broadcasts." According to its Form 990 financial filing for 2000 that Deep Dish TV submitted in June 2001, a few months before the September 11, 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, in 2000 Deep Dish TV had previously spent $42,427 of a $46,050 grant from some unidentified foundation, on "Democracy Now Live Coverage of the Democratic and Republican Political Conventions."
Coincidentally, prior to receiving Ford Foundation money in 2002 to help air Democracy Now!, Deep Dish TV had previously been given 9 grants, totalling $335,000, between 1990 and 2000 by the same MacArthur Foundation that gave the Sound Portraits media firm of Goodman's former WBAI colleague, David Isay, a $50,000 grant in 1997; and then, only three years later, gave an individual MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" of $500,0000 to the Democracy Now! producer-host's former WBAI colleague, David Isay, in 2000. In addition, the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation--that the son of the MacArthur Foundation's billionaire founder established—gave the Institute for Media Analysis a grant of between $60,000 and $85,000 in 2001 to "support the production of Democracy Now!', according to the J.Roderick MacArthur Foundation's Form 990 financial filing for 2001.
The wealthier MacArthur Foundation, that the father of J.Roderick MacArthur established, is named for John D. MacArthur, who owned 410 Park Ave., 61 Broadway, the Gulf & Western Building and the Lincoln Tower Apartments in Manhattan, the Exchange Park Office Complex in Dallas, the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas and property in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on which he persuaded RCA to build a computer plant. Billionaire MacArthur's "real estate activities were carried on largely through two private companies, Royal American Industries, Inc., and the Southern Realty & Utility Co.;" other holdings" included "an oil drilling company, and broadcasting and printing interests," according to The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. In its 1988 pamphlet, John D. MacArthur: The Man and His Legacy, the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation indicated how much of the "charitable grant" money, that was later used to fund parallel left media groups like Deep Dish TV in the 1990s was originally obtained during the 1960s Vietnam War era by John D. MacArthur:
"His new interest was real estate... At one point, he owned 100,000 acres of land in Florida and was the largest individual landowner in the state. He also owned a dozen insurance companies, several development companies and shopping centers, paper and pulp companies, 19 commercial office buildings in New York City, 6,000 apartments in Manhattan, several publishing enterprises, hotels, radio and television stations, and banks. By the 1970s, MacArthur was one of the nation's two billionaires... "
And in his 1993 book The Assassination Of New York, Robert Fitch indicated how more money for "charitable grants" was obtained by the "non-profit" MacArthur Foundation in the 1980s from the real estate assets in Manhattan that "were part of the original bequest from John D. MacArthur," according to the foundation's 1995 Annual Report:
"One of the biggest industries in the city had been throwing people out of their apartments--`condo conversion' it was called... The MacArthur Foundation... got involved. A team from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation converted thousands of apartments in the boom years. MacArthur managed to unload its total inventory in 1985 for about $500 million [equal to over $1.1 billion in 2018)."
In her May 2005 article, titled "Amy Goodman's `Empire'," the Nation magazine senior editor who worked at Democracy Now! from September 2001 to July 2002, Lizzy Ratner, described how Goodman's media firm, after obtaining its $75,000 grant from the Ford Foundation "toward marketing consultancy, promotional campaign and program development activities for radio program" in 1998, began producing its soon-to-be Ford Foundation-subsidized daily cable-television show in September 2001:
"It was a few days before 9/11, and Goodman had just been forced from the studios of WBAI, the local Pacifica station...In the scramble to keep broadcasting on affiliate stations, she had landed at the firehouse, a small limestone castle of a building owned and operated by Downtown Community Television. The independent media collective also rented space to Manhattan Neighborhood Network, a cable access channel [whose current CEO Dan Coughlin is, coincidentally, both the former news and executive director of Pacifica Radio and a former WBAI colleague of Goodman], and in early September a MNN producer had the notion of switching on the TV cameras and videotaping Goodman's radio broadcast. The idea was to air the show on MNN once or twice a week... ."
Also, coincidentally, sitting on the Downtown Community Television Center's board of directors, when Democracy Now! began broadcasting in September 2001 from Downtown Community Television's building at 87 Lafayette St. in Manhattan a televised version of its "parallel left" daily radio news show, according to the Downtown Community Television Center's 2001 Form 990 financial filing, was Tom Brokaw--the then-anchor and managing editor of the NBC Nightly News which the NBC corporate media network, that GE owned at that time, broadcast each evening. Brokaw, the husband of longtime Gannett corporate media conglomerate board member Meredith Brokaw, continued to sit on the Downtown Community Television Center's board of directors until 2004, the same year he retired as the long-time NBC Nightly News anchor.
Like Deep Dish TV, the NBC Nightly News-linked Downtown Community Television Center was the recipient of MacArthur Foundation funding, in the years before Goodman and her parallel left radio show "landed at the firehouse, a small limestone castle of a building owned and operated by Downtown Community Television" and from which the Democracy Now! show was broadcast between 2001 and late 2009. For example, between 1986 and 2000 the MacArthur Foundation gave 8 "charitable grants," totalling $475,000, to the Downtown Community Television Center (including a $100,000 [equal to around $213,000 in 2018] grant in 1988 to "rehabilitate" the building that Democracy Now! would later be broadcasting from), as well as a loan of $375,000 whose loan repayment schedule had been suspended, according to the television center's 2001 financial filing.
Coincidentally, Democracy Now! Productions, itself, would later receive in December 2007 "an interest free loan" of $6 million [equal to over $7.3 million in 2018] "from a private foundation, due on July 1, 2012... to finance the acquisition of their new office and production studio" at 207 W. 25th Street in Manhattan, according to its 2007 Form 990 financial filing; and "as part of the loan agreement" with this "private foundation," whose name the Democracy Now! Productions firm does not fully disclose, "the Organization received a conditional promise to give of $2 million dollars from this private foundation, which is contingent upon the organization's meeting the loan repayment terms of $4 million dollars by July 1, 2012," according to the same 2007 financial filing. (end of part 11)
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion