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The Zell[ing] Out of the Baltimore Sun

by : William Hughes
Sunday April 15, 2007 - 15:39

“The Press is Free, but for Whom? - Oswald Spengler

When I was in high school back in the early 50s, I delivered the Baltimore Evening Sun newspaper to homes in my South Baltimore neighborhood. This was the afternoon edition of the Baltimore Morning Sun, a paper that traced its history back to 1837. Over the years, the Sun has gone through a few sea changes. In 1986, it was sold by the Gary Black Sr. Family to the Times Mirror Co., which was later acquired by the Tribune Co. Now, in an extremely complicated deal, Sam Zell, a mouthy real estate mogul, will soon gain a controlling interest in the Tribune Co, the parent of the Baltimore Sun. He will also dominate a host of other prized newspapers, like: the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times and Newsday; along with a major league baseball team, the Chicago Cubs; and 23 TV stations, across the country. Question: Is the Zell[ing] out of the Sun going to be good for its readers?

Sam Zell is “a committed Zionist,” according to his rabbi. He’s moving up fast from a Mega-landlord to a Press Lord! So, who is he? Well, his image makers portray him as: “A self-made billionaire, who prefers leather to suits and ties; motorcycles to limousines; and a game of paint ball to a ballet fundraiser.” (1) Then add this: “[He’s] a strong philanthropic backer of “both Israel and the Israeli support association in the U.S.—AIPAC.” (2) Another source describes Zell as: “America’s largest real estate developer...with assets under his control of $350 billion." (3 Try this one: “a very astute reader of foreign affairs.” (4) Forbes.com estimated Zell’s worth at $4.5 billion, in 2006. Wow! What a resume! What a guy!

Zell has promised that he won’t get involved in the running of the news departments of any of the media outlets that he is acquiring. Well, we’ve heard that one before! Take one notable example of Zionist-Owner-Media types, who has repeatedly crossed the line—Mortimer B. Zuckerman. He owns the NY Daily News and the USN&WR. On March 10, 2003, ten days before the Iraqi War was launched, he wrote: Iraq’s Saddam Hussein has “a robust nuclear- weapon program.” He also ranted that the failure to take out Saddam’s regime “will only cause the danger to grow.” Reading Zuckerman is like listening to a warmongering rant from one of those Likudnuts in the Knesset. The title of his piece, which appeared in the USN&WR was: “The High Price of Waiting.” In another article, he claimed that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were "blood brothers." Thanks to Neocons and War Hawks, like Zuckerman, over 655,000 Iraqis are now dead, 3,297 U.S. troops have sacrificed their lives, and our country has wasted $418 billion and counting. If you’re waiting for the arrogant Zuckerman to apologize for his off-the-wall spiels don’t hold your breath.

With respect to Zell gaining control of the Sun, Timothy A. Franklin, its present editor said: “For our long-term credibility, it’s vital that we remain an ‘independent’ news operation that doesn’t curry favor or protect sacred cows.” (5) But, then there is this opposing, I believe, more realistic view to consider: “Ken Reich, a former Los Angeles Times reporter, who operates a blog about the paper, said he assumes that Zell will shape the policy of his papers to some degree. ‘If he cares about the State of Israel, he won’t want his newspaper to be out there chipping away at Israeli interests,’ said Reich, who reported mostly on politics during his 39 years at the Times. Reich said that at the Times, shifting the editorial policy would require only that Zell be consulted in the hiring of the new editorial page editor—a position that was recently vacated. ‘It would not take very much tweaking by him to sharply alter the Times editorial policy on the Middle East, Reich said. ‘I tend to expect this to happen.’” (4)

At one time, besides the Black family owning the Sun, the LA Times was controlled by the Chandler clan, and the Chicago Tribune was dominated by the McCormick dynasty. All three of these owners, despite their faults, which were numerous, persistently put America’s interest first and not the interest of any foreign based entity. Keep in mind, that Zionism is a political, alien-based ideology, global in scope, racially restricted, and with its spiritual headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel, and not Washington, DC. Add to that definition, the fact that Zell is a "committed Zionist," and you end up with this word in caps: TROUBLE!

One of Zell’s favorite columnists is that raving Neocon ideologue, Charles Krauthammer. (4) Now, doesn’t that make you want to vomit? I suppose it could have been worse. He could have said William Kristol! If Zell takes over the Sun, expect to see Krauthammer, Douglas Feith and Benjamin Netanyahu’s bylines on its Op Ed Pages. They will fit in perfectly with whacky Cal Thomas, whose column regularly appears on that page now. The Sun’s news coverage on the Middle East over the years has been better than average. Its editorials, however, have been weak, and its Op Ed Page, a closed shop. It’s almost like Richard Perle, the Mother of All Neocons, has been in charge of that section. If Paul Wolfowitz, the prime architect of the Iraqi War, gets pushed out of his World Bank sinecure because of his "girlfriend scandal," don’t be too surprised if he ends up an editor at one of Zell’s news organs.

I always wonder when I read about fat cat Zionists, like Zell, why THEY don’t support Israel themselves? That way Israel could stop dipping its greedy hands into the fast fading resources of the American taxpayers. The U.S. Congress, in response to the powerful Israel Lobby, insists on extracting $3 to $4 billion a year out of our treasury to subsidize the Zionist state. Our national debt now stands at a staggering $8.9 trillion. It doesn’t seem fair to me. I think that U.S. freebees to Israel should be terminated once and for all. I also believe that the aid can’t be justified on any rational grounds, and that the $140 billions of dollars given to Israel, since 1967, should be repaid, with interest. The only thing Israel has been good for is making more enemies in the Islamic World for America. (6) Every time I think about what the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) did to the men of the USS Liberty and to Rachel Corrie, I want to kick its Ambassador out of the USA. I agree with Professors Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer that supporting Israel isn’t in our “national interest.” The antics of that Zionist fink traitor Jonathan Pollard should have taught us that much. I say: Israel should pay back that $140-billion back, now! (7)

During the summer of 2006, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) created a hell on earth for the Palestinians trapped in Occupied Gaza. They also invaded Lebanon, where civilians were again massacred at Qana, and over a million cluster bombs were dropped on that unfortunate country. (8) A rally, on July 25th, was held in downtown Baltimore to cheerlead the Israeli offensive. Rep. Ben Cardin, now a U.S. Senator, and Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, now Maryland’s Governor, appeared at the event to shamelessly promote the brutal Israeli offensive. The Sun did cover a protest rally opposing Israel’s conduct and also printed a number of letters that were critical of Israel, O’Malley and Cardin. (9) Will that kind of balanced coverage happen in a similar event in the future, if Zell gains control of the Sun? I seriously doubt it!

There was another published report that also gave me pause about Zell. On April 4, 2007, the Sun’s Phil Rosenthal related how the mogul unmercifully screamed at an official of the Tribune Co, Crane Kennedy, about the need to quickly close the deal. According to the account, a raging "Zell tore into the lawyer with a stream of blunt, earthy verbiage so seldom heard among Tribune executives that it quickly became the stuff of legend throughout the Tribune Tower." (10) Obviously, this is part of Zell, the landlord’s m.o. I could just imagine how often he has pulled that same bullying stunt in the past with a hapless tenant who was behind in his rent. So, the notion that Zell, the Press Lord, won’t be pushy, too, with editors who don’t exactly toe the Zionist line, I think, is pure fancy. What you see with Zell is what you get!

Finally, if Zell, the “committed Zionist,” gains control over the important media outlets cited above, I predict the beginning of a “Dark Age” for America. The lights will first go out in Baltimore, Los Angeles and Chicago. It’s true the media is a commodity to be bought and sold. The American Republic, however, is the property of the people, purchased with the blood and sacrifices of our ancestors going back to 1776. It’s not for sale! Although the deal to purchase the news assets isn’t finalized—there are some more hoops for the mogul to jump through—the chances are that Zell, a zealot for Zionist Israel and its present Extreme Right Wing regime, will come out on top. If so, don’t say you weren’t warned!

Notes:

1. FT.Com, 04/07/07, Doug Cameron and Joshua Chaffin.
2. http://takebackthetimes.blogspot.co...
3. http://www.icsep.org.il/en/guests/s...
4. http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.co...
5. “Sun’s Parent Agrees to Sell for $8.2 Billion,” The Sun, April 3, 2007, by Hanah Cho and Nick Madigan.
6. http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-...
7. http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Resear...
8. http://baltimore.indymedia.org/news...
9. http://baltimore.indymedia.org/news...
10. "Blunt Zell Makes His Point," April 4, 2007, Baltimore Sun.

© William Hughes 2007.

William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes@comcast.net.



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