Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Stock Market Dow 30k before End of 2020? - 13th Jul 20
Credit Market Investments Turned Into End-User Risk Again - 13th Jul 20
Investors Are Going All-In on This Coronavirus Proof Industry - 13th Jul 20
5 Vital Insights That You Can Gain From Instagram Trackers - 13th Jul 20
Stop Believing The 'Economy' Is The Same As The Stock Market - 12th Jul 20
Spotify Recealed as The “Next Netflix” - 12th Jul 20
Getting Ahead of the Game: What Determines the Prices of Oil? - 12th Jul 20
The Big Short 2020 – World Pushes Credit/Investments Into Risk Again - 11th Jul 20
The Bearish Combination of Soaring Silver and Lagging GDX Miners - 11th Jul 20
Stock Market: "Relevant Waves Vs. Irrelevant News" - 10th Jul 20
Prepare for the global impact of US COVID-19 resurgence - 10th Jul 20
Golds quick price move increases the odds of a correction - 10th Jul 20
Declaring Your Independence from Currency Debasement - 10th Jul 20
Tech Stocks Trending Towards the Quantum AI EXPLOSION! - 9th Jul 20
Gold and Silver Seasonal Trend Analysis - 9th Jul 20
Facebook and IBM Tech Stocks for Machine Learning Mega-Trend Investing 2020 - 9th Jul 20
LandRover Discovery Sport Service Blues, How Long Before Oil Change is Actually Due? - 9th Jul 20
Following the Gold Stock Leaders as the Fed Prints - 9th Jul 20
Gold RESET Breakout on 10 Reasons - 9th Jul 20
Fintech facilitating huge growth in online gambling - 9th Jul 20
Online Creative Software Development Service Conceptual Approach - 9th Jul 20
Coronavirus Pandemic UK and US Second Waves, and the Influenza Doomsday Scenario - 8th Jul 20
States “On the Cusp of Losing Control” and the Impact on the Economy - 8th Jul 20
Gold During Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond - 8th Jul 20
UK Holidays 2020 - Driving on Cornwall's Narrow Roads to Bude Caravan Holiday Resort - 8th Jul 20
Five Reasons Covid Will Change SEO - 8th Jul 20
What Makes Internet Packages Different? - 8th Jul 20
Saudi Arabia Eyes Total Dominance In Oil And Gas Markets - 7th Jul 20
These Are the Times That Call for Gold - 7th Jul 20
A Reason to be "Extra-Attentive" to Stock Market Sentiment Measures - 7th Jul 20
The Beatings Will Continue Until the Economy Improves - 6th Jul 20
The Corona Economic Depression Is Here - 6th Jul 20
Stock Market Short-term Peaking - 6th Jul 20
Gold’s Major Reversal to Create the “Handle” - 5th July 20
Gold Market Manipulation And The Federal Reserve - 5th July 20
Overclockers UK Custom Build PC Review - 1. Ordering / Stock Issues - 5th July 20
How to Bond With Your Budgie / Parakeet With Morning Song and Dance - 5th July 20
Silver Price Trend Forecast Summer 2020 - 3rd Jul 20
Silver Market Is at a Critical Juncture - 3rd Jul 20
Gold Stocks Breakout Not Confirmed Yet - 3rd Jul 20
Coronavirus Strikes Back. But Force Is Strong With Gold - 3rd Jul 20
Stock Market Russell 2000 Gaps Present Real Targets - 3rd Jul 20
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Big Pharma Stock for Machine Learning Life Extension Investing - 2nd Jul 20
All Eyes on Markets to Get a Refreshed Outlook - 2nd Jul 20
The Darkening Clouds on the Stock Market S&P 500 Horizon - 2nd Jul 20
US Fourth Turning Reaches Boiling Point as America Bends its Knee - 2nd Jul 20
After 2nd Quarter Economic Carnage, the Quest for Philippine Recovery - 2nd Jul 20
Gold Completes Another Washout Rotation – Here We Go - 2nd Jul 20
Roosevelt 2.0 and ‘here, hold my beer' - 2nd Jul 20
U.S. Dollar: When Almost Everyone Is Bearish... - 1st Jul 20
Politicians Prepare New Money Drops as US Dollar Weakens - 1st Jul 20
Gold Stocks Still Undervalued - 1st Jul 20
High Premiums in Physical Gold Market: Scam or Supply Crisis? - 1st Jul 20
US Stock Markets Enter Parabolic Price Move - 1st Jul 20
In The Year 2025 If Fiat Currency Can Survive - 30th Jun 20
Gold Likes the IMF Predicting a Deeper Recession - 30th Jun 20
Silver Is Still Cheap For Now - 30th Jun 20
More Stock Market Selling Ahead - 30th Jun 20
Trending Ecommerce Sites in 2020 - 30th Jun 20
Stock Market S&P 500 Approaching the Precipice - 29th Jun 20
APPLE Tech Stock for Investing to Profit from the Machine Learning Mega trend - 29th Jun 20
Student / Gamer Custom System Build June 2020 Proving Impossible - Overclockers UK - 29th Jun 20
US Dollar with Ney and Gann Angles - 29th Jun 20
Europe's Banking Sector: When (and Why) the Rout Really Began - 29th Jun 20
Will People Accept Rampant Inflation? Hell, No! - 29th Jun 20
Gold & Silver Begin The Move To New All-Time Highs - 29th Jun 20
US Stock Market Enters Parabolic Price Move – Be Prepared - 29th Jun 20
Meet BlackRock, the New Great Vampire Squid - 28th Jun 20
Stock Market S&P 500 Approaching a Defining Moment - 28th Jun 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

AI Stocks 2020-2035 15 Year Trend Forecast

Mainstream Media Complicity in Financial Crimes

Politics / Mainstream Media Aug 30, 2010 - 12:26 AM GMT

By: Danny_Schechter


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleQ: Why are media outlets doing such a bad job covering Wall Street?   
A: Could it be, because they are owned by Wall Street?

When you connect the dots in your writing or look for deeper explanations behind the decisions of policymakers, market makers and media-makers, it’s easy to be dismissed as a conspiracy nut.

But forgive me for believing that those who serve interests have more clout than those that just speak out on issues. There are hidden relationships that sometimes predetermine what stories get media attention and which do not.

I have a current film out, Plunder the Crime of our Time, taking on big media companies to task for what passes as coverage of the financial crisis. I have been asking why they weren’t paying attention, didn’t warn us about it, or investigate too deeply into how it happened.

When I discovered that dodgy lenders and credit card companies pumped more than $3 billion into media advertising, which inflated the housing bubble between 2002 and 2007, I thought I had my answer. 

Based on my own experience inside news networks, I could see that networks investigating their own advertisers in a tough economic climate was not exactly high on their agenda. It happens, but rarely.

Yet, even I, as savvy as I thought I was, missed an important link which was hidden in plain sight — who owns the very media institutions I was railing against?

Guess what: many owners are the very financial institutions that should have been exposed. Media is a business tied into other businesses and driven by interlocking directorates by a not-so-invisible umbilical chord.

It took a colleague, Barry James Dyke, author of ‘The Pirates of Manhattan,’ [click here for his video collection of the plundering] to give me a little guided online tour into this reality via Yahoo’s finance page. It’s easy to access but usually only used by investors, not investigative journalists like me.

I am not a stranger to corporate media ownership issues. Our Mediachannel even did a chart, some years back, showing how a handful of media giants owned most of the channels on broadcast and cable outlets. 

What we didn’t do, then, is what Barry Dyke was showing me how to discover: who owns those same companies.

It’s all there, clearly available in easy to read charts to help you see how their stock is performing. On the left side of the chart, there is a section to click on entitled, “ownership.”

In the flash of a click, a display of ownership appears of the company I used to work for: ABC News. This information is mandated by laws designed to insure accountability and protect investors.

The first category is “Major Direct Holders.” At the top of the list is a former ABC News executive, Robert A. Iger who owns 850,790 shares [Eight Hundred Fifty Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety]. Under him are other biggies who were given or helped to buy stock, allegedly to incentivize them. These holdings complement and add to their already generous salaries.

In truth, it’s all a form of looting of the shareholder value. Often these execs have more clout than the boards of directors they theoretically report to. Sometimes, it only takes a small percentage of shares to wield control. Together these insiders and what are called, 5% owners, own 7% of Disney, but exert disproportionate influence.

The next category on the chart is Institutional and Mutual Fund owners.  They control 68%. And who are they? Fidelity, State Street Corporation, JP Morgan Chase and Company, Price T Rowe Associates, etc. etc.

The next category is “Top Mutual Fund holders” with the Fidelity Contra Fund owning $1.2 B [$1,200,000,000.00] in holdings; more than 36 million shares. In all, 1095, institutions own shares. But a few are more equal than others. The role that these largely unaccountable mutual funds play is rarely examined. Just listing their holdings doesn’t explore their influence.

Some mutual funds get an added benefit — access to employee retirement withholdings.  So, they are not just funding Disney,  but being funded by Disney with a guaranteed income stream even though the Funds, often, do not perform well.

Explains Barry Dyke:  “It’s about control.  Mutual fund companies get other people’s money through payroll deductions on their 401[k]s, and those fund companies, and the funds they control, own large stakes in companies like Disney.

Through lobbying, essentially with the Pension Protection Act of 2006, employers are exempt from liability-fiduciary responsibility as long as they use a mutual fund; a target date mutual fund more specifically. Employers are exempt from liability, mutual fund companies are exempt from liability from the get-go, and do a lousy job of looking out for shareholders.”

What he means here is their returns have been relatively low—and many have blown up. Forcing employees to invest with them is hardly fair if they are losing money.

Back on our list, there follows, “insider transactions.” Some of the information is considered N/A—not available.

Why is that?

I was at ABC News, and available, when Disney swooped in to buy the company in 1995 for $19 billion. It had been for sale for $11 billion just two years earlier. The deal was the largest media merger in history, to that point, and the second largest sum of money ever paid for a U.S. company.

Back in 1940, Walt Disney had first sold stock to lower the debt. The newer Disney took on billions in debt to finance its deals. Where did the money come from?

Why, no surprise, the very Wall Street banks and financial institutions they work with. Call it synergy, or call it collusion, but not the kind that leads to better programming or media responsibility.

The final phase-out of ABC occurred at a final shareholders meeting I attended in a New York TV studio on January 4, 1996.  I wrote about it in my book, ‘The More You Watch, The Less You Know,’ noting that the vote to sell the company to the “Mouse House” (and, in the process, enrich its shareholders) passed by a vote of 121,000,000 to 437,000. It was only after the deal was done that questions from the floor were permitted.

So much for corporate democracy!  I managed to get a question in --called on as “the man in the back of the room.” It annoyed my bosses.

I asked the former Chairman of Capital Cities, the first company to acquire ABC and then ABC’s departing leader, if he was “concerned” about what the merger would mean for our democracy. [One of Cap Cities’ founders and principals was the nefarious Iran-Contra conspirator William Casey who became Ronald Reagan’s secretive and sneaky CIA Director.]

There was no concern about my concern. My question was ridiculed and dismissed by Chairman Tom Murphy who said, “Am I concerned. No, I am not concerned.” Murphy had earlier told Charlie Rose that he enjoyed winning. He was asked what that meant to him.

“Making money” was his response. “Whoever makes the most wins. That’s how we keep score.”

In sharp contrast, media historian Robert McChesney was concerned, very concerned, writing later:  “A specter now haunts the world; a global commercial media system dominated by a small number of super powerful, mostly U.S. based transnational media corporations. It is a system that works to advance the cause of the global market and promote commercial values, while denigrating journalism and culture not conducive to the immediate bottom line or long-run corporate interests. It is a disaster for anything but the most superficial notion of democracy -- a democracy where, to paraphrase John Jay's maxim, “those who own the world ought to govern it.”

Disney went on to acquire more stations. Their network now includes 200 affiliated stations, reaching nearly 100% of all U. S. television and 277 radio outlets, at last count. And they publish books, magazines, and financial and medical services information. The journalism they offer has noticeably declined as they slashed the number of employees in the News Division.

Just one recent and small example:  towards the end of August, ABC News reported on new credit card rules, dryly reciting the new disclosures mandated in the new “reform” law. They did not mention that nothing was done to cap interest rates or, as the Wall Street Journal reported the next day, “the banks and credit card companies had jacked up the rates despite the flagging economy and the fact they can borrow money at record low rates.”

Why was that? Could it have anything to do with the interests of those who own Disney, ABC’s parent company?

You tell me. [Disney, by-the-by, offered its own credit card.] It also censored stories on pedeophiles at Disneyland.

Media companies always insist no one tells them what to do, with Fox News perhaps the most glaring and candid exception, considering Rupert Murdoch’s ideological leash.

Yet, even as the ‘Nets cover the money in politics that buys laws and rents politicians, they insist no one ever influences their coverage decisions -- not investors, not advertisers, and certainly, not viewers.

President Obama, it is said, did Wall Street’s bidding because of all the money they shmeared on his campaign. But do the companies that own and control media companies, with billions at stake, have any say in “what does” and “does not” get on the air?


News Dissector Danny Schechters film and book Disinformation. For more information, Http://

    News Dissector Danny Schechter has made a film and written a book on the “Crime Of Our Time.” (News Comments to

    © 2010 Copyright Danny Schechter - All Rights Reserved
    Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules