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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