Do Jews Really Control the Media?

Responding to the rant that got Rick Sanchez fired, Slate's Brian Palmer investigates the question, "Do Jews Really Control the Media?" His short answer, "Maybe the movies, but not the news."

Responding to the rant that got Rick Sanchez fired, Slate‘s Brian Palmer investigates the question, “Do Jews Really Control the Media?”  His short answer, “Maybe the movies, but not the news.”   The long answer is more complicated.

Not one of the major television news operations—Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, or NBC News—is currently headed by a Jewish executive. (That includes Ken Jautz, the man who fired Sanchez.) Or at least none of these executives has talked about being Jewish in a public forum. The Internet is littered with rumors about various media moguls being Jewish, but few of those claims are backed by any evidence.

There are more Jews at the head of the country’s major newspapers, but it’s still a stretch to say these publications are controlled by them. Even in New York City, where around 12 percent of the population is Jewish, there isn’t any indication of Jewish dominance. The Ochs Sulzberger family, which has controlled the New York Times for more than a century, is of Jewish origin. But current Executive Editor Bill Keller is not.

I think we can safely give Sanchez the NYT, then:  The guy who owns the place tends to be rather influential.  WSJ isn’t Jewish, despite some odd rumors about Rupert Murdoch’s mom. WaPo used to be owned by a Jew but his gentile son-in-law took it over after WWII. LAT is owned by a Jew but didn’t used to be.

Hollywood is a slightly different story. The conventional wisdom that Tinseltown is Jewish-dominated has some basis in reality, as Jews seem to be disproportionately represented in the upper echelon of film directors and executives. According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 1.2 percent of the nation’s adults are Jewish. (That includes only self-identified Jews and may exclude a significant number of Americans with Jewish ethnicity who are not observant.) Yet, of the top 20 directors, producers, and other non-acting movie bigwigs listed in the Guardian‘s Film Power 100, nine are Jewish (45 percent). There are plenty of prominent Jewish execs slightly further down the list, too, including the brothers Coen and Weinstein.

The top executives at major media conglomerates are also Jewish in greater numbers than the general population. Robert Iger of Disney and Sumner Redstone and Leslie Moonves of CBS are all Jews, while Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric and Jeffrey Bewkes of Time Warner are not. Jeff Zucker, the departing head of NBC, is Jewish.

And, of course, the TV networks have rather prominent news departments.  Which complicates even the short answer.

The much simpler question — Is Rick Sanchez an idiot? — would require fewer words and yield a more satisfying answer.

FILED UNDER: Media, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. John P says:

    The much simpler question — Is Rick Sanchez an idiot? — would require fewer words and yield a more satisfying answer.

    Does Iceland have volcanoes?

  2. wr says:

    So wait — if the guy who owns the media company is Jewish, then Jews run the media. But if the guy who owns the media company is a conservative Republican, that doesn’t change the fact that the media is all liberal.

    Funny how that works.

  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Funny how that works.”

    Like most aspects of Republican philosophy (Judicial activism, social security, unemployment benefits, Medicare, govt spending, large deficits, etc etc). They are against them…until they’re not, because it conflicts wth their personal or rhetorical agendas. A good example is Miller up in AK who believes unemployment benefits are unconstitutional but his wife received them. Or all those state governors like Perry in Texas who were excoriating the stimulus and transfer payments to states but were first in line to receive them.

  4. Juneau says:

    @ Brummagen Joe

    Or all those state governors like Perry in Texas who were excoriating the stimulus and transfer payments to states but were first in line to receive them.

    So… you’re ignorant about history as well as biased. Good combination – makes you a perfect liberal. Understandable of course; if all one can do honestly is pull a continuous Sgt. Shultz act – “I know nothing!” – then the alternative is to make up your own personal versions of history.

    Even ignoring the inaccuracy of your statements, if one were to use your logic the Democrats had no right to ever complain about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After all, they voted to support them. But wait, Prog logic (read “magic fairy dust”) never applies to themselves. Only others.

    It is going to be so very, very sweet to see your agenda and political philosophy get kicked emphaically to the curb in three weeks. Then you can all console yourselves with how stupid the American people are – compared to you of course.

  5. mantis says:

    Even ignoring the inaccuracy of your statements

    Which you do, assuming they are inaccurate. Good argument! “You’re wrong, but I’m not going to say why. You just are. Nyah nyah nyah.”

  6. Juneau says:

    @ mantis

    Good argument!

    Thank you….

  7. mantis says:

    Yeah, that was sarcasm, dimwit. How about you detail how exactly what Joe wrote was inaccurate? Can you?

  8. Juneau: says:

    @ mantis

    Since everything he stated was a subjective – rather than objective – assessment (such as use of the phrase “first in line”), the proper and accurate answer to your request would be point out that all states had 45 days to respond that they would be using the funds – by law. The second answer would be to point out that Perry refused some of the funds in 2009.

    But the real answer would be to simply ignore your idiocy for another three weeks or so, as after that your positions will be pretty much irrelevant.

  9. tom p says:

    “But the real answer would be to simply ignore your idiocy for another three weeks or so, as after that your positions will be pretty much irrelevant.”

    Why wait Juneau? You (and I) (thank you SC) already are irrelevant.

    As to Joe’s point…. watch Rachel Maddow… and actually refute her. Don’t give us more GOP talking points, do the work and prove she is a liar.

    Or shut up.

  10. Juneau says:

    @ tom p

    Don’t give us more GOP talking points, do the work and prove she is a liar.

    So… if I can show you video proof that Rachel Maddow flat out lied on her show – referencing statements also made on her show, so BOTH video tapes will have come from her taping – will you then admit that she is a liar?

    Careful now.

    And by the way, you can lose the whiney, prissy little complaints. They stink of desperation….

  11. An Interested Party says:

    “And by the way, you can lose the whiney, prissy little complaints.”

    Why should he? After all, you never have…

  12. Ellie Light says:

    Why jews don’t control the media. Everyone knows Baptists do.

  13. tom p says:

    “if I can show you video proof that Rachel Maddow flat out lied on her show – referencing statements also made on her show, so BOTH video tapes will have come from her taping – will you then admit that she is a liar?”

    If?

    Why don’t you just do it?