Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #194 Update on German Corporate Control of American Publishing and Music

Listen: One segment

Beginning with discussion of Bertelsmann A.G. (the central company in the German control over American publishing), the broadcast highlights the role of Bertelsmann kingpin Heinrich Mohn’s association with the Himmlerkreis, the industrialists who funded Hitler’s notorious SS.

Much of the program deals with the relationship between the Bertelsmann firm and AOL. Following AOL’s acquisition of Time Warner, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff resigned as a member of AOL’s board of directors. Bertelsmann will continue its joint operation of AOL Europe, while selling its remaining direct capital participation in AOL. AOL’s growth was greatly aided by timely investments by Bertelsmann (at Middelhoff’s direction), which at one point owned 5% of AOL. Although Middelhoff saw Bertelsmann as a more appropriate partner for AOL, the Bertelsmann foundation (which controls the 164-year-old company) rejected that possibility. Valuing the company’s independence, the foundation may very well have rejected the deal because the Bormann group (which underlies Bertelsmann and the other major German corporations) wished to have its media influence undiluted by American influence.

Program Highlights Include: Deutsche Bank’s significant capital participation in AOL; former Generals Alexander Haig and Colin Powell’s seats on AOL’s board of directors; changes in the capital investment policy of Bertelsmann, intended to facilitate more corporate acquisitions; Middelhoff’s stated intention to become number one in the U.S. music business; discussion of recent Bertelsmann corporate alliances; Middelhoff’s professional relationship with former President (and CIA director) George Bush; Bertelsmann’s negotiations with Sony music, directed at fulfilling Middelhoff’s desire to dominate the music business. (Recorded on 2/13/2000.)

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