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

For The Record  

FTR #240 “Cuddling Up” (with a Good Book): Update on German Corporate Control of American Publishing

MP3 One Segment

1. This broadcast updates an investigation into German corporate control of American “opinion-forming media.”

The title of the program is derived from a key passage in the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk (softcover, National Vanguard Books, copyright 1991, ISBN# 0-937944-05-X.) Mr. Emory believes that the book, supposedly a novel, is a blueprint for the strategic policy Nazi elements are currently pursuing. In this regard, it would resemble The Turner Diaries, also published by National Vanguard–the publishing arm of the National Alliance, the most important American Nazi organization. The Turner Diaries was the model for Timothy McVeigh & Co. in the Oklahoma City Bombing, as well as the Nazi group The Order. In Serpent’s Walk, the descendants of Hitler’s SS take over the United States in the mid-21st century, after going underground, building up their economic strength, and gaining control over the American media.

2. This process is described in one of the book’s key passages. “About ten years ago, we swing a merger, a takeover, and got voting control of a supercorp that runs a small but significant chunk of the American media. Not openly, with bands and trumpets. . . .but quietly, one huge corporation cuddling up to another one and gently munching it up, like a great, gubbing amoeba.” (Serpent’s Walk, p. 42.)

3. This broadcast focuses on the Bertelsmann corporation’s “cuddling up” to American corporations in the field of book publishing and on-line book sales. The firm has already “gently munched up” numerous American publishers, making it the number one English-language publisher in the world. Beginning with review of Bertelsmann patriarch Heinrich Mohn’s “passive” membership in the SS, and the fact that the firm was the largest publisher of books for the SS and Wehrmacht during World War II (The Nation, 12/28/98), the program also reviews the political views of the company’s official historian, Dirk Bavendamm.

4. In books published in 1983, 1993 and 1998, Bavendamm blamed World War II on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “U.S. imperialism,” and the “Jewish-controlled” U.S. media, which, he said, gave a distorted view of Hitler. Bavendamm also said that Hitler’s policy toward the Jews was made necessary by FDR’s war-like policies toward Germany. Random House (the largest English-language publishing company in the world and a Bertelsmann property) has acquired exclusive rights from the Disney corporation to publish books based on characters in Disney films. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/8/2000, p. B2.)

5. Next, the program highlights Microsoft’s arrangement with a number of major publishers to publish books on-line. Random House is one of those firms. (The New York Times, 5/23/2000, p.C1.)

6. Microsoft also reached agreement with Barnes & Noble.com (half- owned by Bertelsmann) to make certain titles available for free down-loading to users of the Reader software on Pocket PC’s. (The Los Angeles Times, 5/24/2000, p. C6.) In another example of “cuddling up,” Random House and Audible Inc. have agreed to begin selling digitized audio books online. This venture is the first time a publisher has sold new audio material through the web, rather than offering works already in existence. (The New York Times, 5/11/2000, p. C7.)

7. Random House executive Richard Sarnoff has recently been replaced with Steffen Naumann. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/22/2000, p. B19.)

8. In Serpent’s Walk, the SS capital organization accomplishes the transformation of the companies it “munches up” by “replacing executives, pushing somebody out here, bringing somebody else in there.” (Serpent’s Walk, p. 42.)

9. The Von Holtzbrinck firm (another Third Reich-connected publishing giant discussed in this series) has recently replaced Joachim P. Rosler with Gretchen Teichgraeber. Ms. Teichgraeber replaces Mr. Rosler as head of Scientific American Inc. (The New York Times, 5/12/2000, p. C7.)

10. Barnes & Noble.com has recently expanded its wireless internet capabilities, “cuddling up” to a number of different companies. (The Wall Street Journal, p. B8.)

11. Next, the program highlighs Bertelsmann’s proposal to merge Barnes & Noble.com with its Bol.com, in order to overtake Amazon.com as the leading on-line bookseller. (Financial Times, 5/24/2000, p.21.)

12. Barnes & Noble.com’s stock has fared relatively well against other e-commerce firms. (Financial Times, 4/29-30/2000, p. xxiv.)

13. In contrast, Amazon’s stock has taken a beating. (San Francisco Examiner, 7/28/2000, p. B-1.)

14. As noted in past programs in this sequence, Amazon’s fiscal misfortunes could open up the possibility of Bertelsmann acquiring its on-line book sales business at some point in the future. Bertelsmann is merging its e-commerce activities into a single entity, emphasizing its shift in strategy toward providing internet content. (Financial Times, 6/5/2000, p.21.)

15. The program concludes with a look at Barnes & Noble.com’s launching of an on-line university, designed to create a college education for students, available on the internet. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/30/2000, p. B1.)

16. As Hitler once noted, “the future belongs to the youth, and the youth belong to the future!” One wonders what kind of future they will have with Bertelsmann and (apparently) the Bormann organization determining that future. (Recorded on 7/30/2000.)


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