Who Owns the News?

by Sally Ethelston , Martha Wenger
published in MER180

Television

ABC
Capital Cities bought ABC, with its 230 affiliated stations, for $3.4 billion in 1986. Also owns: 8 TV stations; 9 dailies, 74 weeklies (Kansas City Star); radio networks with 3,000 affiliated stations; 21 radio stations; a cable programming company; some 60 publications (Women’s Wear Daily, Compute!, Modern Photography). The largest shareholder is Omaha investor Warren Buffett.

CBS
Laurence Tisch, owner of Loews Hotel chain (and active in pro-Israel fundraising), bought a controlling share in 1986. Henry Kissinger is a CBS board member. Also owns: 7 TV stations; 21 radio stations; two radio networks.

NBC

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Power Structure of the American Media

by Joe Stork , Laura Flanders
published in MER180

media pl. of medium 2. an intervening thing through which a force acts or an effect is produced 3. any means, agency or instrument; specif., a means of communication that reaches the general public and carries advertising.

Webster’s New World Dictionary

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Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

"Free People Will Set the Course of History"

Intellectuals, Democracy and American Empire

by Robert Blecher | published March 2003

As the Bush administration struggled to find a justification for launching an attack on Iraq, churning out sketchy intelligence reports about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and links with al-Qaeda, Washington wordsmiths produced their own grist for the war mill: the prospect of a democratic pax americana in the Middle East. The importance of the pundits’ contribution to the war machine should not be underestimated. As the task of swaying public opinion grew more difficult, rhetoric around freedom and democracy has become ever more central. In the weeks after September 11, 2001, George W. Bush did not talk of remaking the Middle East.

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

The Peace Movement Plans for the Future

by Mark LeVine | published July 2003

As the Bush administration struggles with occupying Iraq, the anti-war movement is in the midst of intense self-evaluation. For all of the movement’s success in raising doubts about and opposition to the March 2003 invasion, as of July George W. Bush’s war is still popular among Americans. The war caused thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths, and Iraqis may be dying for years to come due to widespread use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions. While some local Kurdish and Shi‘i leaders have cautiously decided to work with the occupation regime, the inability of US forces to restore law, order or public services, along with the imperial style of US viceroy L. Paul Bremer, have led to increasing opposition to the occupation among ordinary Iraqis. Yet sentiment among Americans, amidst concerns over post-war casualties and the missing weapons of mass destruction, still supports (albeit cautiously) the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Behind the Battles Over Middle East Studies

by Zachary Lockman | published January 2004

An ideological campaign to reshape the academic study of the Middle East in the United States has begun to bear fruit on Capitol Hill. In late 2003, the House of Representatives passed legislation which would, for the first time, mandate that university-based Middle East studies centers “foster debate on American foreign policy from diverse perspectives” if they receive federal funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. The new legislation, which the Senate could consider in 2004, came after conservative allegations about abuse of Title VI funding by “extreme” and “one-sided” critics of US foreign policy supposedly ensconced at area studies centers across the country.

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Torture and the Future

by Lisa Hajjar | published May 2004

There is a popular belief that Western history constitutes a progressive move from more to less torture. Iron maidens and racks are now museum exhibits, crucifixions are sectarian iconography and scientific experimentation on twins is History Channel infotainment. This narrative of progress deftly blends ideas about “time,” “place” and “culture.” In the popular imagination, “civilized societies” (a.k.a. “us”) do not rely on torture, whereas those societies where torture is still common remain “uncivilized,” torture being both a proof and a problem of their enduring “backwardness.”

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Beating a Slow, Stubborn Retreat at Guantanamo Bay

by Charles Schmitz | published May 2005

Just under a week after the collapse of the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush issued Military Order 1 to establish principles for the “ detention, treatment and trial of certain non-citizens in the war against terrorism.” The order, promulgated on November 13, 2001, was the first step in the Bush administration’s careful crafting of the term “illegal combatant” to describe a nebulous third category of detainee outside the Geneva Conventions’ clear division of prisoners into either civilians or military personnel. “Illegal combatants” were not to be accorded the protections of either the international laws of war or the laws of the United States.

Funding Agents

by
published in MER191

During World War II, the British ambassador in Cairo, Lord Killearn, complained about the sudden influx of American experts into the country under the auspices of US Lend-Lease assistance. Inquiries into the exact size of railroad track gauge in the Egyptian countryside, he was convinced, were a thinly disguised effort to seize economic control of Egypt (from Great Britain) after the war. Egyptian nationalists launched similar attacks on American research and assistance projects in the 1950s, compelling Gamal Abdel Nasser, at an early point in his 18-year rule, to insist that Egyptians get over their “complexes” about foreign aid.

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Camille Mansour, Beyond Alliance

by Joe Stork
published in MER194

Camille Mansour, Beyond Alliance: Israel and US Foreign Policy (Columbia, 1994).

This long overdue inquiry into what Camille Mansour, with typical understatement, calls “the privileged character of American-Israeli relations”(p. xi) provides an exceptionally lucid analysis of a central feature of US policy in the Middle East.

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

The Imperial Lament

by Joel Beinin | published June 2004

Niall Ferguson, Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).

There is something refreshing about British historian Niall Ferguson’s argument “not merely that the United States is an empire, but that it has always been an empire.” For a certain kind of American liberal, the Bush administration's eager invasion of Iraq has been a bad dream. The ignominious departure of US viceroy L. Paul Bremer from Baghdad on June 28, many assume, marks the beginning of the end of a grim, aberrant interlude in an otherwise innocent and idealistic US foreign policy. In contrast, Ferguson cheerily cites the work of the independent Marxist, Harry Magdoff, and the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Geir Lundestad, to establish that US armed forces were stationed in 64 countries in 1967 and that those forces conducted 168 different overseas military interventions between 1946 and 1965.