Jeff Smith noon, March 8
How Washington Post Licks Boots of Federal Government
Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com wrote a brilliant article Sunday (April 10) on how the parent of the Washington Post must kiss the buttocks of the federal government, which its reporters are supposed to be covering objectively. The Post itself on Sunday did a major story revealing how, in essence, the newspaper has become "a side vanity project" at the company, writes Greenwald. Reason: Kaplan Higher Education, a for-profit university entity, was 61% of the parent company's revenue in 2010. More than 90% of Kaplan's revenue comes from the federal government, mainly through loans and grants to students. That means one-third of the parent company's revenue comes from the federal government. Writes Greenwald, "The company that owns the Washington Post [newspaper] is almost entirely at the mercy of the federal government and the Obama administration -- the entities which its newspaper ostensibly checks and holds accountable." Greenwald's essay, as well as the Post's own story, reveal how the parent company has been doing fierce lobbying for the for-profit education industry.
Greenwald goes on to point out how other media behemoths such as Comcast, CBS (owned by Viacom), ABC (owned by Disney) and CNN (owned by Time Warner) are also beholden to the federal government.
Writes Greenwald, "How can a company which is almost wholly dependent upon staying in the good graces of the U.S. government possibly be expected to serve as a journalistic watchdog over the same government? The idea is absurd." Greenwald then goes on to discuss the snug relationship between journalists and the politicians they are supposed to be covering. "Because media stars are now as wealthy and celebrated as the politically powerful whom they cover, they identify on socioecomic and cultural grounds with these political officials...one crucial factor driving this decisively non-adversarial journalistic posture is that the large corporations which own these media outlets need desperately to maintain good relations with the political class."
Greenwald's article does not mention San Diego's Bridgepoint Education, which has a symbiotic relationship with the San Diego establishment and is generally mollycoddled by the mainstream media. (The Reader, however, has written a stream of articles extremely critical of Bridgepoint.)