[Marxism] Marc Cooper: a true Annenbergian

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 10 14:18:31 MST 2008

When the ultraright was pursuing a guilt by association attack on Obama 
for serving on the same board of directors as “terrorist” Bill Ayers, 
his supporters pointed out that it was the late Walter Annenberg who 
launched the nonprofit dedicated to improving public schools whose board 
they served on. Since Annenberg was Richard Nixon’s Ambassador to Great 
Britain as well as a close friend of Ronald Reagan, how could anybody 
accuse Ayers or Obama of being some kind of dangerous radical? 
Considering the assault on public education that the Republican Party 
right has led since the early 1970s, it might seem a bit of 
contradiction for Annenberg to be lavishing his millions on such a 
project. Of course, of your goal is to eliminate state funding of public 
schools and replace them with a “thousand points of light” type 
charities, then Annenberg’s largesse begins to make sense.

Annenberg became one of America’s top philanthropists in the 1980s, 
using the profits of an ill-gotten media empire to finance a host of “do 
gooder” projects. There is obviously a long tradition of unsavory 
capitalists trying to burnish their reputation through such deeds, the 
most famous example being Andrew Carnegie. If the board of directors of 
Carnegie-Mellon Institute or Carnegie Hall ever thought much about their 
institutions being financed by the blood money drained from the dead 
bodies of steelworkers, they probably would have never ended up such a 
board to begin with. Nominations to such boards are carefully vetted to 
make sure that the candidates are carefully trained in the core values 
of the capitalist system, evidence of which is most manifest in the 
inclusion of solid citizens like Bill Ayers and Barack Obama.

Like many other members of the American ruling class, Walter Annenberg 
was born rich. His father Moses “Moe” Annenberg published the Daily 
Racing Form, just what one might from a career criminal who worked as a 
circulation manager for William Randolph Hearst. In the circulation wars 
of the early 20th century, Moe and his henchmen used “robber baron” type 
tactics. Newsboys were beaten, newsstands torched, and delivery vans 
overturned if they were identified as working for Heart’s competition. 
Moe Annenberg was convicted of tax evasion in 1939 and his son, now a 
company VP, was indicted on charges of “aiding and abetting.” In a deal 
struck with prosecutors, Walter’s charges were dropped in exchange for 
his father’s guilty plea.


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