Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Watergate “Good Guys” Are Imperialist Butchers

NY Times: All The News That Fits Wall St.

First Published: Challenge, June 28, 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The “Watergate” affair should teach workers and their allies a valuable lesson about the class nature of the mass media under capitalism.

Many people understand to one degree or another that the major newspapers, TV and radio networks, magazines, and periodicals are all owned by wealthy individuals. But few are aware of the extent to which the most important organs of the media are owned and operated lock, stock, and barrel by the most powerful interests of the U.S. ruling class –the very same interests now attempting to tighten their grip on the government and economy by squashing the new upstart billionaires in competition with them.

The New York Times offers the clearest example of old money’s thorough domination of the mass media. Most people view it as the most prestigious and influential paper in the U.S., ranking internationally with the Times of London, Le Monde, Die Welt, etc. as the leading journalistic spokesmen for western imperialism.

The Times’ huge repertorial and editorial staff, its vast research facilities, its “name” columnists, and its ponderous, sober style all contribute to give it a reputation for complete objectivity and integrity.

The facts show, however, that the Times reflects these characteristics in one sense only: it tries to be as objective as possible in defining and serving to the hilt the interests of the dominant section of the U.S. ruling class. There is a partisan character to truth: you can define sides in a struggle, but you can’t stay neutral in the class struggle.

Since well before the Watergate disclosures, the Times has led the anti-Nixon charge for the old money. When Wall St. decided that the class traitors in north Vietnam had been softened up enough by U.S. imperialist terror and that further bombing would only jeopardize the deal to turn all Vietnam into a sweatshop, it sensationally published the “Pentagon Papers” to create a climate of mass opinion favorable to immediate conclusion of the Paris negotiations.

At that time, however, the battle between old and new U.S. billionaires had not yet reached its present proportions. Now that Wall St. views Nixon’s economic policies as an unmitigated disaster for U.S. imperialism, the Times has pulled out virtually all the stops in its anti-Nixon campaign. Not only does it daily publish more and more lurid information about the conniving, bungling, thievery and general viciousness of Nixon & Co., but it has also (on its Op-Ed page) printed a number of suggestions from leading ruling class figures about how to best dispose of the Nixon administration as soon as possible. The latest of these, from Clark Clifford, LBJ’s former Secretary of Defense and a top lawyer for Wall St. money, urges both Nixon and Agnew to resign. (June 4, 1973).

Well, why should the Times take such a vehement anti-Nixon stand? Certainly the explanation can’t be that this multi-million dollar enterprise, which backed Ike, JFK, and LBJ (at the beginning) all the way on Vietnam and opposes every strike on record, has suddenly decided to turn pro-working class.

The Times is owned by the Morgan financial oligarchy, the second biggest U.S. ruling class group after the Rockefellers. It interlocks with Morgan Guaranty Trust, Bankers Trust, Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust, Bowery Savings Bank, Lazard Freres, & Co. It has corporate interlocks with Boise Cascade Co., ITT, and other mammoth enterprises. It owns a NYC radio station, a Memphis TV station, three Florida Newspapers, and the Chatanooga Times. It controls the Des Moines Register Tribune, the Minneapolis Star, the Milwaukee Sentinel, Cowles Communications (various midwest TV and radio stations), several other Florida newspapers, and three other TV stations.

The Washington Post (also controlled by the Morgan group) and the L.A. Times (controlled by the Bank of America group), and the New York Times own or control newspapers with 7.4 million circulation–20% of all newspaper circulation on the U.S. These three papers are also the leading anti-Nixon spokesmen in the current dogfight among U.S. rulers.

The interests of the Morgan group, like those of the Rockefeller group, the Prudential-Manufacturers Hanover group, and other old money groupings like the Mellons, Duponts, etc., require tight economic controls, a more moderate growth rate that can maximize profits over the long run better than the present 8% rate, and an end to the multi-billion dollar giveaways Nixon has been bestowing on new money interests like Lockheed. Is it any wonder, then, that the Times’ attacks on Nixon and his thugs are inevitably accompanied by articles showing the depths to which the dollar is sinking and urging the government to adopt a new economic policy?

It should come as no surprise to workers that nothing the Times calls for is going to do us any good. A central aspect of its new economic policy is a reinvigorated, tougher-than-ever wage freeze. The Times has called for this several times in recent editorials–just like the Rockefeller-owned Fortune and Business Week and the Morgan-Rockefeller-owned Wall St. Journal.

To ice the cake, A.H. Raskin (assistant editor of the Times editorial page), hails recent efforts by the big bosses to get top labor fakers to sign no-strike agreements:

“While a strikeless economy is not yet in sight, most observers in Government, labor, and management are convinced that a new maturity is reflecting itself atthe bargaining table, plus an increased willingness to experiment with methods other than trial by combat to resolve impasses. ”(June 6, 1973.)

There you have it. Behind the Times’ sham outrage at the Nixon crew’s wiretapping frolics is the wail of multi-billionaires whose empire is sinking and whose profits are threatened.

The Times and the interests it serves and backs may not yet have decided upon the Nixon administration’s immediate fate. They haven’t the slightest hesitation about their intentions toward our class, however.

In order to help create a climate of opinion favorable to more rigidly frozen wages and generally tighter government intervention in the economy, they have also stimulated popularization of leading racist theoreticians and anti-working class ideologues. Arthur (“genetic inferiority”) Jensen became famous after the Times devoted considerable space (starting in 1969) to favorable reports of his work. The same holds true for other neo-Nazis like Herrnstein and Eysenck.

PRO-WALL ST., PRO-WAGE FREEZE, PRO-U.S. imperialist, pro-racist: this is “all the news that fits” the interests and outlook of Rocky, Morgan and Co. As the rulers move to enact the policies the Times is advocating the working class will be able to see more clearly than ever that CHALLENGE-DESAFIO is the only newspaper that serves its interest objectively and unconditionally, and that these interests are inseparable from class struggle against all the big bosses that sharpens and sharpens until there are no bosses left anywhere to demand that we sign no-strike agreements with them.