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Free Speech - July 1996 - Volume II, Number 7

Media Control Close-up

By Jack Killey

Question: Do you really believe the Jews own the media?

Answer: Most of it, yes. But they don't have to own it to control it.

An object lesson in this distinction was the downfall of northeastern Ohio's The Gateway Press, a general interest newsweekly to which I devoted seven years of part-time work. A fierce smear campaign and unremitting advertising boycott by Cleveland-area Jews -- many not even in our circulation region -- caused the forced sale of a newspaper that many readers trusted to deliver at least an approximation of the truth about events in their communities.

Until I wrote and my editor published a commentary casting a gimlet eye on President Clinton's many Jewish appointees, I suppose most Jews in the area, like our general readership, slotted us somewhere between the kitty litter box and the refrigerator door. We had our admirers and detractors, but no one accused The Gateway of being docile or tepid in its coverage of local elections, proposed tax or school levy issues, or other events that hit our readers where they lived.

People bought our competitor, the daily flagship of a much larger chain (who, ironically enough, later bought us out), to see who died and whose kid made Little League player of the week. They read Gateway, however, to see why cabals of doctors were fighting over the location of a new medical center, or who was behind the push for pro-homosexual curricula in their kids' schools, or which city council had violated the "sunshine law" in a secret meeting last week and why. If we had a news philosophy it was probably on the order of a thorough libertarianism, and we tried as often as possible to deliver both sides of any given story.

But only 850 words on Clinton's appointments reduced our county, after twelve years of an alternative, to its former bland diet of one-newspaper pabulum. A barely measurable percentage of our readership, none of whom ever refuted the commentary on its particulars, managed to deprive some 48,000 readers of a reliable news source in their communities. The Jews' "persecuted minority" mantle is, I suppose, apropos for a race that showed a gift for the theatrical long before they created Broadway and Hollywood.

"You know, I never considered myself an anti-Semite until now," mused one staffer, after another day of being cursed at by local shopkeepers suddenly outraged by their advertising vehicle's callous treatment of the Chosen Ones. "But I think they've made me one."

I did not harbor any particular dislike of the Jews, racially or religiously, when I composed the piece in question. I don't care much for the ACLU-style leftist politics of most secular Jews in the United States, and haven't since my turn towards social conservatism about 12 years ago. Strangely enough, I cut my teeth on the sort of activist liberalism found in Jewish intellectual organs like The New Republic and The Nation (and was even published in the latter), and spent more of my college days than I care to remember trotting off to antiwar rallies. I steeped myself in liberal ideas and methodology and, for a variety of reasons, found them wanting. But I can't say that I began to examine the woof and warp of liberalism's ideological crazy quilt for specifically Jewish threads until I witnessed firsthand the rabid response to a little article in a little paper.

The commentary in question was published, as all my many commentaries were, as my personal opinion, not as the editorial position of the newspaper. The piece can be easily synopsized. I pointed out the high percentage of Jews among Clinton's appointees, hardly representative of his stated goal to have an administration that "looks like America." I wondered how this might affect American foreign policy towards Israel, and (this was the part that brought in the big guns against us) ventured the opinion that this facet of the Clinton administration was being deliberately obscured by a Jewish-dominated American media establishment.

You'd think I'd written a glowing reconsideration of Mein Kampf. My editor's phone started jumping off her desk. Sales reps were screamed at and thrown from premises by red-faced merchants who had previously described us as an asset to the community. One of the more prominent Jewish businessmen in the area wrote the editor a venomous letter (specifying, of course, that it was not for publication) telling her, "You can't say whether or not you're an anti-Semite. Only we can decide that."

Do you think the surrounding media establishment came to the defense of one of their own embattled members as the pot began to boil beyond the boundaries of Portage County, Ohio? Do you suppose that perhaps they'd defend the First Amendment right of a 12-year-old mainstream newspaper to publish controversial opinion articles? Think again.

It took the Newhouse-owned Cleveland Plain Dealer about ten working days to run a lead editorial titled "One For the Fish," written by Plain Dealer staffer Carolyn Davis, a Jewess who in a personal whine piece once stated her wish that every gun be wiped off the face of the Earth (no liberal bias here). Carolyn was mad, and maybe a little jealous that I could write circles around her. She at least quoted the commentary's best sentence, which was that Clinton "seated enough white European males to ensure that America will be ruined in a competent, intelligent, and well-organized fashion." Otherwise it was the stock denunciation of "anti-Semitic . . . crap," seething with horrified disbelief that anyone could suggest that Jews control America's media. Let's see, a Jewess writer for Ohio's largest -- and Jew-owned --newspaper attacks a rural Gentile-owned weekly in a lead editorial . . . doesn't sound like control to me.

The Cleveland Jewish News was even more generous, allotting a full page to editor Cynthia Dettelbach herself rather than an underling. An equally unexceptional attack it was, bristling with weasel words and broad smears, but contradicting none of the commentary's content with opposing facts regarding Clinton's appointees. I imagine the Jewish News, like most of the other Jewish organs in the country, ran bannered praise of Clinton's favoritism towards Jews in his administration. I guess it's only impolitic for Gentile publications to notice it, another point I made in the commentary.

This sort of notice by large media organs goes beyond "coverage" of a hot topic. Neither publication took any interest in the community served by The Gateway and probably cared even less who we, the paper covering it, were.

The Newhouse-owned Akron Beacon Journal ran no editorial hate pieces, but they stayed on top of the unfolding events around that "anti-Semitic" newspaper in Streetsboro. The Plain Dealer nominally covered our county, but we beat them regularly in an area they usually assigned to worn-out hacks in their Summit County bureau. The point is, the sudden interest and overbearing coverage of a heretofore unnoticed region of their circulation area was looking mighty selective. We had touched on a topic that was . . . unpermitted. A Jewish topic. And they were going to make sure that the publication impertinent enough to raise the thorny issue of Jewish power in the American oval office and the American media wouldn't publish for long.

The point man in the effort -- the visible one, anyway -- was Jerry Brodsky, a Jewish principal in the largest and most affluent public school district in our county. His most recent claim to fame had been his opposition to the display of a Christmas tree at the predominantly Gentile school he governed.

Also an attorney and a resident of Beachwood, a heavily-Jewish and affluent Cleveland bedroom suburb, "Jerry the Jew," as he became less-than-affectionately known in the Gateway office, mounted a secondary advertising boycott against us, sending high-minded letters to many of our advertisers warning them of the business to be lost if they continued to advertise with us. He wrote the letters under his legal letterhead, though he took care to remind recipients this wasn't official business (although he did remind them of his important position in the school district).

I don't think Jerry the Jew really scared anyone off, but he kept up the momentum; the big advertisers who dropped us did so on their own hoof. Jewish Rite Aid CEO Alex Grass suddenly took a personal interest in the ad account of his rundown shop fifteen miles from us and pulled their ads, declaring his offense at the article in a letter to us; Jew Albert Klaben of Klaben Auto Stores, one of the region's biggest-volume auto-supply chains, was equally miffed and yanked his ads. Both were important accounts. Several smaller but regular advertisers pulled one by one, and a large Cleveland-area grocery chain, Gentile-owned but with stores in heavily Jewish Cleveland suburbs, began shuffling their feet and "reconsidering" their account in phone calls and letters to my editor. Nervous local Gentile bankers and realtors called with weak offers of continuing support, but whined about all the "bad publicity" we were getting.

We kept the boycott on the front page and started asking questions about the fine line between Jerry Brodsky's personal tastes in reading and his duties as a public administrator. Was he using his position in the community to bolster the get-the- Gateway pogrom? Was he tapping out these letters on school time, or on school equipment? Word had it the school board and superintendent weren't too crazy about Jerry's crusade, and eventually he faded into the background.

But apparently he had replacements lined up. Dan Dyer, an English teacher at Brodsky's school, and Dyer's wife began firing off similarly outraged letters to our advertisers. It seemed a bit clubby at the very least that the next person in the community to pick up the torch happened to work for Jerry (who had also done some legal work for Dyer's wife).

Anyway, why some of Dan's and the Mrs.�s letters were in Jerry's house still flummoxes me. (How do I know they were? Call it intuition.) I don't route my correspondence through my boss's house. Maybe it's a Jewish thing. Mrs. Dyer didn't know why either when I called to ask her, stammering, "Uh, uh, you'd, uh, better ask Dan that." I tried, but Dan never called back. At least Jerry called me once, but I don't say anything of substance into speaker phones when I don't know who else -- maybe a better lawyer than Jerry -- is in the room. (He said it was the only way the phone worked.)

I can't give Brodsky and company full credit for sinking The Gateway Press, much as they'd probably enjoy it. We were used to a rather anemic income and the usual weekly calamities that await any small enterprise, especially one competing for ads and readership in what is probably called in the trade a "minor media market." But as we found out, no market is too minor to manipulate when Jewish sensibilities are involved. The persistent strain of the boycott and attendant pressures on an already precarious balance-sheet took their toll. We cycled through ad reps and other personnel even faster than usual as commissions and morale sagged.

My editor/publisher, a woman with 25 years in the business and a well-deserved reputation for personal tenacity and a take-no-prisoners journalism style, did what she could to hold things together. But even the tough get tired. While not fully in agreement with me on the topic of Jewish media control, she refused my offer of resignation early on and continued to publicly defend her publication of my piece citing her long-standing commitment to print cogently argued, if unpopular opinions of every stripe. But I don't think even she, experienced in the business as she was, expected the virulent response my article generated.

When she called us into her office for the news of the sale to our competitor I thought back to a mysterious anonymous caller, a not-unfriendly and apparently Gentile woman with a patrician accent who contacted me early in the fray. She calmly told me the history of "the boycott," meaning not the current one against us but the historical prototype of it, and said, "Your paper will be out of business in eighteen months." It took, I think, fourteen.

What I found significant throughout this process was the outsized influence wielded by a small clique, and a clique who would normally have had no special interest in our paper or in our region, which is largely rural and probably 99 percent Gentile. Even had a genuine boycott been carried out its effect would have been negligible. Bad publicity seems to have been the boycott's purpose; since the largest advertisers who pulled were Jews, a phone call to them from Brodsky or the Jewish News or the Cleveland ADL probably would have sufficed.

Another feature of the boycott that struck me was the powerlessness of our Gentile readers, many of whom were outraged by the attack on us. We weren't lacking in support from our readership, some of whom were courageous enough to register their agreement with the commentary in our letters column. I found encouraging the number of readers who told me privately their feelings on Jewish power in U.S. politics. Unfortunately, they didn't wield the power the Jews do among U.S. merchandisers, bankers, car dealers, and realtors, the people whose ad dollars support small (and large) newspapers. It shouldn't have surprised me.

I had to laugh at Carloyn Davis's description of "Jewish media power" in the Plain Dealer editorial as a "bigoted buzz phrase that goes back decades." One doesn't have to sample overtly "racist" writings to encounter references to Jewish media control, and they date back much farther than decades. When I see past allusions to Jewish press power from the pens of such august and "establishment" figures as historian W.E.H. Lecky, Winston Churchill, Hillaire Belloc, or Sir Richard Burton (among many others), two things cross my mind.

One is the casual manner of its mention, as though these writers are noting that the sky is blue. Lecky, for example, in his late nineteenth-century masterpiece "Democracy and Liberty," devotes a paragraph or two to Jewish domination of the Russian press under the Czars (he attributes at least some of the resentment the average Russian felt for the Jews during the pogroms to this influence). No earnest attempt is made to convince the reader of a doubtful precept, no long lists of proofs are proffered: not because they couldn't be produced, one senses, but because it simply isn't necessary to document what appears to have been a commonly-known fact among the less-numerous, but better-informed, literate members of earlier generations.

A more troubling thought that strikes me about this situation is that contemporary authors of comparative standing could not publish similar observations, or at least not without sudden relegation to vanity presses and maybe community college jobs. Probably only the eminence and the solid corpus of work produced by earlier authors, and perhaps less fear among Gentile publishers, allowed them to make such references without destroying their careers.

At any rate, Jewish press control is hardly a malicious myth that's been propagated for decades (centuries?) by anti-Semites; it is rather a truth that has been relentlessly obscured by increasingly powerful Jewish interests within and outside the press. No one who has closely studied the pertinent history at any length can convincingly argue otherwise, even if the student limits himself to "permitted" books and authors rather than documents some find inherently questionable (i.e., the Protocols. ) The extent to which an offending author is pushed to the margins or isolated from the public by a self-interested Jewish minority probably depends on a variety of factors, but one thing is certain: he won't emerge from the process quite intact.

So what has this to do with the experiences of a small-time writer for a little newspaper in Streetsboro, Ohio? Only that I saw firsthand what happens and has happened to many writers who dare to write and publish on the fact of Jewish media and political influence. It was in one sense a privilege to be in courageous company living and dead: to be allocated the ire bestowed on people like Hillaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton, William Pierce, Douglas Reed, and Wilmot Robertson was a badge of honor of sorts.

In other senses, not least the sacrifice of a good newspaper on the altar of Jewish sensibilities, it was a tragedy. But not for me. Although it's virtually certain that despite fifteen years of some pretty good journalism on my part, I'll never work again for a "respectable" journal, given the litmus tests and the rules imposed by such publications, who would want to? If anything my experience in fifteen years in the field has been one of progressive distaste for the media, and in that sentiment at least I join a growing number of Americans.

Unfortunately, most readers and television viewers will probably continue to be guided by a thirst for entertainment and stimulation despite their stated disgust for the mainstream media. But there's no doubt that awareness of the true nature and agenda of America's "mainstream," i.e., Jewish, media is growing, and perhaps we can take a page from the Chosen Ones themselves when it comes to the retribution a committed and aligned minority can impose.

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