As has been in the news, AT&T and its DirecTV subsidiary has silenced NewsMax, removing the conservative channel from some 13 million homes.
And now, a little digging, and one learns that the Chairman of the AT&T Board of Directors, one William E. Kennard by name, is a former board member of – yes indeed – The New York Times.
Then there’s this wildly crazy fact. Starting in May of 2001 Kennard was the “managing director” of a well know blue chip investment firm, The Carlyle Group.
For those with any kind of memory, a handful of months later – to be precise on September 11, 2001- the United States of America was subjected to a serious terrorist attack, destroying the towers of New York’s World Trade Center. The attack was planned by one Osama Bin Laden. And here is this as reported in a story reported by the leftist British publication The Guardian in 2002. The story’s focus was, of course, the much-hated-by-the Left President George W. Bush and his ties in Texas politics. But at the very end there is a reference to The Carlyle Group, which says this:
“On 11 September, while Al-Qaeda’s planes slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Carlyle Group hosted a conference at a Washington hotel. Among the guests of honour was a valued investor: Shafig bin Laden, brother to Osama.”
Which is to say, the now-chairman of AT&T was, months after taking over as the then-managing director of The Carlyle Group, hosting a Washington conference and: “Among the guests of honour was a valued investor: Shafig bin Laden, brother to Osama.”
Let’s be clear. No one is suggesting that Kennard was funding terrorism. That’s crazy, not to mention untrue.
What is clear is that whether it is his service for AT&T, The New York Times, The Carlyle Group or other big corporations like The Ford Motor Company and Met Life, Kennard is a man of the Establishment Elites. Establishment Elites who have nothing but disdain for conservatives in general and conservative media in particular.
Recall that once upon a time there were other conservative media targets.
In 2009, CNN’s Lou Dobbs had become a staunch opponent of illegal immigration and was targeted by the Left, which organized a “Drop Dobbs” campaign. They got their man. Memorably for me, because I had written a column supporting him, I had been invited to CNN’s New York studio to be on Lou’s show. He was on solo first, and to my astonishment opened the show by saying it would be his last for CNN.
Next there was Glenn Beck. Once upon a time he had a hugely popular TV show on Fox. Then there was this, as reported in 2010 by The Washington Post’s media critic Howard Kurtz:
“More than 200 companies have joined a boycott of Beck’s program, making it difficult for Fox to sell ads.”
Beck was soon gone from Fox.
In 2012 the next target was talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh. In a typical humorous style, Rush made fun of a Georgetown University female student who had testified before a congressional committee about the refusal of her Catholic university to pay for her birth control. Infuriated liberals launched a boycott campaign, with seven of Rush’s sponsors leaving him. This time around Rush’s audience rallied for him and paid the boycotters back with a boycott of their own. The move to dump Rush came to a full stop, and he remained on the air sailing along until his death in February of 2021.
And on and on this business of Establishment elites trying to silence the stars or carriers of conservative media has gone. Other targets have included Fox hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
This time around, Democratic politicians have gotten involved.
Recall this February, 2021 headline from CBN:
House Democrats Lobby to Cancel Fox, Newsmax and OANN as a ‘Destabilizing Threat’ to America
The story reported:
“ The Washington Examiner reports Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, two California Democrats who both sit on the committee, sent a letter to multiple TV service providers, including AT&T, Verizon, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Charter, DISH, Cox, Altice, and Hulu as well as Google’s parent, Alphabet, asking them why they carried the three ‘purported’ news outlets that they say function as “misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm.”
In the letter, Eshoo and McNerney asked, ‘Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on U-verse, DirecTV, and AT&T TV both now and beyond any contract renewal date? If so, why?’”
In January of 2022, AT&T did exactly what the House Democrats were demanding, dropping OANN.
Now NewsMax has been dropped – silenced by AT&T and DirecTV.
The question that needs to be asked is obvious: Who are the people in these companies that are doing this? I have looked into this, discovering that AT&T board chairman William Kennard is a one-time appointee of both President Bill Clinton (who appointed Kennard as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission) and President Barack Obama (who made Kennard the United States Ambassador to the European Union.)
But there’s even more here than meets the eye. A look at Kennard’s entry in Wikipedia reveals this decidedly Establishment Elite membership:
“Prior to becoming ambassador, Kennard was managing director of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm with over $100 billion under management. Kennard joined The Carlyle Group in May 2001, where he led investments in the telecommunications and media sectors.”
And there is also this:
“He currently serves as a member of the board of trustees of Yale University.
He is a co-founder of Astra Capital Management, a private equity firm. Previously, he served on the boards of directors of The New York Times Company, Duke Energy Corporation, Sprint Nextel Corporation (national US wireless carrier), Handspring, Inc. (manufacturer of the Treo and other wireless devices), eAccess Ltd. (national Japanese wireless carrier), as well as on the boards of several companies owned by The Carlyle Group.”
Translation? The man under whose leadership AT&T cancelled NewsMax and OANN before that is a man -like many others- of considerable woke, left wing corporations. A blue chip collection of Establishment Elites. Including, yes, The New York Times and the decidedly left-leaning Yale University.
In short? What else would one expect from a company headed by a woke, blue-chip, card carrying member of the Club of Establishment Elites?
The hard fact here is that whether the target is CNN’s Lou Dobbs, Fox’s Glenn Beck, talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh, Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, One America News or, now, NewsMax, conservative media and those who are its stars or carriers are a target for the Left. Can there be any doubt that, as that letter from House Democrats makes clear, that Fox is next?
What is now true as well is that Americans are on to the game. They have learned that not only do Establishment Elites have contempt for them – average, hard-working Americans – but they cannot abide conservative media and its popularity. And they will not sit quietly when the latest attempt to silence a favorite TV or talk radio host, and now a TV carrier, launches.
In this case, the blue chip crowd of Establishment Elites is led by William Kennard, the woke chairman of the woke AT&T. He of the Clinton and Obama administrations, The Carlyle Group, The New York Times, Yale University and oh so many more nests of woke-ism.
Conservative media – and NewsMax – are here to stay.