Time Magazine and the Worship of Power

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

The choice of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke as the Time Magazine 2009 Person of the Year is no more aberrational than its choice of Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939), Winston Churchill (1940), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1941), Joseph Stalin (1942), George Marshall (1943), Dwight Eisenhower (1944), Harry S Truman (1945), James S. Byrnes (1946), George Marshall (1947), Harry S Truman (1948), or Winston Churchill (1949).  Bernanke’s selection needs to be put in the proper historic context.  Time Magazine has always worshiped power and those who exercise power.

 Time was founded and run for decades by Henry Luce, who was the epitome of the elite Northeastern seaboard establishment, symbolized by Wall Street and the House of Morgan, Jekyll Island and the Fed,  the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harold Pratt House, Yale University and Skull and Bones.  From the very beginning Luce saw as his sacred mission to dictate to America’s semi-literate toiling masses how and what they should think on cultural and political questions of the day in line with the stern pronouncements of his brethren of the elect.  Luce’s unspoken dictum was “the elite is neat, the masses are asses,” and it was his duty to enlighten these dumb beasts of burden for their betters.

The marvelous muckraking journalist Ferdinand Lundberg, in his delightful yet all-too revealing early study of America’s power elite, America’s 60 Families, published in the midst of FDR‘s New Deal in 1937, had Henry Luce and this cabal nailed:

 “Perhaps the most direct and significant Morgan journalistic connection is with Time, Inc., publisher of the widely circulating Time, weekly news magazine of thoroughly reactionary orientation, Fortune, chief apologist for the wealthy families, Life, largest picture magazine, Architectural Forum, and Tide, popular organ of the advertising industry. For a brief period Time, Inc., published Lamont’s Saturday Review of Literature. According to the statement of ownership in the November, 1936, issue of Fortune, the leading stockholders of Time, Inc., are Brown Brothers Harriman and Company, private banking house (W. A. Harriman); J. P. Morgan and Company, (for the account of Henry P. Davison, a partner); F. Du Sossoit Duke; Mrs. Mimi B. Durant; Henry R. Luce, editor, founder, and college chum of Davison; William V. Griffin, trustee of the James C. Brady estate and director of the Bank of Manhattan Company and twenty-four other corporations; the Irving Trust Company (for the account of Elizabeth Busch Pool); the New York Trust Company (for the account of William Hale Harkness, Standard Oil); and the principal editors and executives. Time, Inc. is thus seen to be owned by the inner circle of contemporary American finance, and the policies of its publications down to the smallest detail consistently reflect its ownership.” 

 Lundberg goes on to note:

 “Time, Inc. is ruled by Henry R. Luce, Yale classmate of Harry P. Davison, Morgan partner, who contributed original capital to the enterprise in concert with E. Roland Harriman, the late Dwight W. Morrow, Harvey Firestone, and various members of the Harkness family.

“In view of the identities of its stockholders detailed in the preceding chapter, it is not strange that Time, Fortune’s sister enterprise, should have assailed the Senate Banking and Currency Committee for presuming to inquire into the operations of J. P. Morgan and his partners, and that it should similarly have assailed the Nye Munitions Investigating Committee, although Fortune (March, 1934) published an ostensible exposure of the munitions traffic. Most of the exposure, however, was devoted to European munitions makers; out of ten thousand words only three hundred and fifty were devoted to American munitions makers, and out of these three hundred and fifty words only fifteen were devoted to the Du Ponts, perhaps the biggest munitions fabricators in the world. Of the Nye Committee, Time (October 19, 1936) said, “The Nye Committee had spent months blackguarding the Du Ponts, Britain’s late George V, a handful of Latin American dignitaries, Woodrow Wilson, and the House of Morgan.” One may readily imagine about whom in this collection Time was really distressed. The sinister facts elicited by these two Senate committees were, however, passed over lightly.

“From its inception in 1924 Time has consistently performed as the journalistic champion of the wealthiest families. In January, 1925, Time used three oddly assorted news items about John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  as an excuse for a sermon on the camel and the needle’s eye, proving that the younger Rockefeller would surely pass through. A disgusted subscriber wrote to protest against the “sweet eulogy of this saint that would make a dog sick.”

Henry Luce is long dead and hardly anyone under 50 reads or pay notice to aging dinosaurs of the mainstream media such as Time anymore.  Such syncophantic avuncular oracles of the establishment press are like French cuffs on a well-tailored Oxford cloth shirt.  They lost their relevance decades ago.

7:02 pm on December 16, 2009