The Jewish Share of American News Media
its extent in 2022
Popular conceptions about Jews and the media tend to be extremely memeified online, especially in right-wing spaces — odds are you’ve encountered this before. But aside from these memes and a few scattered statistics that get spammed around, as far as I’m aware there’s been no decent, systematic analysis of this dogmatically held notion that “the Jews run the media.” Thought leaders of the so-called Dissident Right and their armies of anons generally seem fine regurgitating the most obviously bullshit statistics from fringe Internet sources like ZOGwatch1.
This article will lay down an original assessment of the matter.
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Since the topic is so broad, for now I’m just going to be looking at the Jewish share of the news media in America as it stands at the time of writing. But the positions to be analyzed are constantly in flux, and the overall proportion of Jewishness, I’m sure, fluctuates with them, so the question cannot be conclusively answered until I am, or anyone else is, able to enlarge the scope of analysis to the years past with an eye toward averages and trends. Additionally, an analysis of the other areas of America media (Hollywood, social media, the music industry, etc.) will have to wait. The news media, I believe, is most synonymous with the term, and also most consequential. Lastly, any consideration of both the causes and effects of Jewish (over)representation in media is for another article; this one will be focused on giving specifically the extent of the phenomenon as accurately as is feasible.
The following are noteworthy examples of such memes.
This is arguably the best known just because of its apparent comprehensiveness. I’m not sure who had this much time on their hands, but originally these individual infographics didn’t have descriptions at the bottom and were simply cherrypicked faces stacked together to give off an impression of Jewish domination. How that logic could seduce anyone is beyond me.
The descriptions themselves are wildly inaccurate and rely on the unwillingness of the audience to verify them. Taking CNN: its parent company, now called Warner Bros. Discovery, is indeed headed by the Jewish David Zaslav, but the C-level (or “-Suite”) executives are not majority-Jewish. The president of CNN is Chris Licht (non-Jew), there appears to be no VP, and I haven’t been able to identify any Jews among the EVPs, certainly no majority. Its chief correspondents are not majority-Jewish, nor are CNN’s show hosts. CNN as a company is dealt with later on.
Above is another example, the biggest sin of which is cherrypicking but with its share of falsehoods thrown in as well. Lucien Wolf recently did a detailed takedown of this meme.
A final example, examined elsewhere.
It’s true that time has passed for these memes, and positions have changed, some from Jew to gentile. But clearly something more has happened than just that. Even if these memes were 100% accurate at the time of making, the passing of time has revealed a seriously misleading picture. How likely is it that Jews have in just a couple years relinquished their media control?
While I could spend years sleuthing the backgrounds of every member of a corporate bureaucracy, I’ve chosen to limit the scope to something more manageable: for each company, I identify the CEO, President, and Chairman of the board. The CEO is often identified as the de facto leader of a corporation, but he’s beholden to and elected by the board of directors, while the President runs the company day-to-day. Regardless, it’s very rare for a board of directors, a supervisory board, an editorial board, or the C-Suite executives of a major company to be majority-Jewish.
Jewishness is also a fairly ambiguous label with different elements to it, so the definition I’ll be using must be clarified before we treat it as a binary. Anyone with at least half Jewish ancestry will be identified as Jewish, regardless of whether they identify with it or not. So Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., who’s half-Jewish and was raised an Episcopalian, would count as Jewish; his son A. G. Sulzberger, however, who has served as the Chairman and Publisher for the New York Times since 2020, would not, his only possible connection to Jewishness seemingly being through his grandfather. I probably would’ve included converts to Judaism as Jewish as well, but I didn’t happen to come across any in my research.
The Jewish population of America is frequently cited as 2%. According to Pew (2021)’s findings, 2.4% of Americans are Jewish by the following definition:
[By religious identity, or p]eople are categorized as “Jews of no religion” if they answer a question about their present religion by saying they are atheist, agnostic or have no religion in particular; and they say they had a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish; and they consider themselves Jewish in some way aside from religion, such as ethnically, culturally or because of their family background. [Not my emphasis]
In other words, someone who’s 100% ethnically Jewish but doesn’t identify as such would not be included in the 2.4%. Pew notes that if you include all of these such people, who are identified as Jewish by me and by most on the Dissident Right, the proportion rises to around 3.5%. (Under the broadest definition given, including those without any Jewish background or religiosity but who identify as Jewish regardless, are 4.1% of Americans.) The exact definition used is very important, because the one you use to identify people as Jewish must correspond to the one used to compare with the overall population, or else you’re just being dishonest. People who are intent on proving something is “controlled by the Jews” will seize any scrap of Jewish affinity as cause to label someone a Jew, if they’re not just fabricating evidence as it is, but almost always fall back on the 2% figure despite it describing a much more narrowly-defined group of people. Now, how you decide which definition to use depends on the question you’re asking — if it’s to do with the concern of pro-Jewish bias as effect, then you should go by Jewish self-identity, but if it’s the possibility of nepotism as cause, then you should go by outward displays of Jewishness. This will be discussed more thoroughly in a later article.
A final important note is that many individuals couldn’t be cleanly identified as Jewish or non-Jewish, so educated guesses had to be made. The following methods were used:
searching through social media accounts, if they have any
searching from Jewish sources, which frequently will boast about an important person’s Jewishness4
parental obituaries, which may show a religious ceremony/burial site
articles/records of marriage ceremonies
any other trustworthy websites that may appear when Googling the person’s name alongside “jew | jewish | judaism | synagogue” etc.
If all these methods were exhausted on a person without a Jewish (and exclusively Jewish5) name, they were counted as non-Jewish (as that most likely is what they are), although this was a clear minority of cases. I recognize that due to the sheer amount of data, here, and the presence of uncertainty, there may be errors, and I encourage anyone who recognizes them to point it out to me for correction. Regardless, while a precise percentage shouldn’t be relied on, a general picture can be understood by the following.
Briefly, let’s deal with the “Big Six corporations that own 90% (or 96%) of media” meme.
And it is, ultimately, a meme, with not much of a basis in fact. What it means to “own” any percent of “media” is never specified and we’re left to guess at the methodology used for this. (How is that even quantified?) It seems to have originated as a liberal talking point in the early 2000s, and the earliest reference to it on the Internet I could find is from 2005. Others have suggested it comes from the 2004 book The New Media Monopoly, which focuses on the “Big Five” (Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, Newscorp, Bertelsmann) and appears to have been referenced by that 2005 article, but it makes no claim of the extent of ownership, the alleged 90%. The companies within the “Big Six” also will vary depending on your source (Google it to see for yourself), and have included Comcast, Disney, CBS, AT&T, News Corp, Viacom, General Electric, National Amusements, Time Warner, Sony, Paramount, Fox, etc.
Instead, I tracked down the twenty largest media companies in Forbes’ Global 2000 index, which “ranks the largest companies in the world using four metrics: sales, profits, assets, and market value.” Which company from the list you can include as a “media company” doesn’t have a cut-and-dried answer, since many companies have a media department or produce or distribute media content to some capacity while largely being devoted to something else, most often technology. To surmount this problem, I included all the companies listed by three reputable sources (Forbes, Investopedia, Zippia) until I reached a decently generous twenty total. Applying the above criteria for Jewishness, the following is what was found. (From now on, blue is for Jewish, red is for gentile.)
With the recent appointment of Andrew Jassy in place of Bezos, a Jew heads the list, but of all the CEOs in the top 20, Jews are five (25%), three for the top 10 (30%), and one for the top five (20%). Of the 37 people currently holding the leading positions of these companies, eight are Jewish (21.6%).
We find considerable Jewish overrepresentation — which frankly is to be expected by anyone with open eyes — but not necessarily numerical “dominance” or “control,” and certainly not “monopoly” as is often suggested. Note that these aren’t exclusively American companies or focused on news media as opposed to other forms of media.
If we’re to focus on the American news media exclusively, a few things need to be clarified, since again these concepts are unfailingly more ambiguous when thought through than they may initially seem.
Our goal is to find the proportion of Jews in leadership and decision-making roles at the most prominent news companies in America. The difference between “ownership” and “control” must be kept in mind, because while one group of people might directly control the operation of a news company, those who control its parent company are likely able to hire, fire, and reassign company personnel to their liking. Additionally, how we select or rank the news companies is paramount. Since the entire point of this exercise is how it relates to influence on public opinion, media companies will be selected and ranked according to viewership, their share of the market.
The following is an analysis of the Jews in the leadership of the top 20 news media sources ranked by monthly viewership, provided by Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. The one possible objection I’d have with this list is the inclusion of Wikipedia, a website devoted to much more than just news and so with a monthly viewership statistic of questionable relevance. To handle the problem of ownership versus control mentioned above, I also included analyses of parent companies.
Of the 32 leading officers of these sources, six are Jews (18.75%). Of the 41 officers ranked the top of each corporate hierarchies — or, in a sense, those ultimately “in control” — 15 are Jews (36.6%).
Now we move to a few areas of note within the news media.
How Jewish is the “mainstream media”? If we go by the selection of most Americans (according to Pew 2021), we find the following.
Levien appears to be the only Jewish leading officer, perhaps surprisingly (1/9 = 11.1%). (Sulzberger, as we saw before, is a quarter Jewish.) Of the fifteen “ultimately in control,” four are Jews (26.7%).
Also according to Pew (2021), 86% of Americans get news online, with 52% preferring digital sources for their news. I’m using the top 10 online news sources by views, compiled by Press Gazette. Since this deals only with written sources, I’ve included the editor for each, too, where applicable. (MSN and Google News are both news aggregators, not sources of original content with their own editors.)
We find two Jewish leading officers among 12 total (16.7%), and two editors among eight total (25%). Among the 19 individuals “ultimately in control,” four are Jews (21%).
Finally, we can look at newspaper ownership. The Harvard project used earlier also identifies seven corporations which publish over half of all daily newspapers. Since then, the seventh, Tribune, was purchased by the second, Alden Global Capital.
Apparently, three of the ten leading officers of the largest newspaper publishers in America are Jewish (30%).
ZOGwatch is an old schizo blog dedicated to exposing “Military Judeo-Hibernian Control of America,” which means, I suppose, that the creator took the Irish Question meme a little too seriously. The fact that they very clearly fabricate their information and that so many on the far right believe it regardless is an interesting case study in itself. The website also, peculiarly, counts people with Jewish spouses as Jewish themself, and then includes that in the calculation at the end of every article. For example, if an organization has 10 members total, and ZOGwatch (wrongly) identifies five as being Jewish, and three as being married to a Jew, then instead of claiming Jews are 25x overrepresented on the basis of the 2% population figure, this becomes 40x.
Note that Wikipedia cannot always be trusted, and I’ve personally encountered multiple cases of tampering with someone’s Early Life, Personal Life, or Biography sections to make them out to be Jewish when they’re not. (John Stankey, for example, has been marked as Jewish on his Wikipedia for the longest time which has led to serious confusion, when in fact he’s a Jesuit without any clear Jewish connections.) To be certain, verify with the source cited.
Be wary of all the junk sites on the Internet, many of which are auto-generated and poorly researched, and cannot be trusted in either direction as they frequently carry incorrect statements.
E.g., Google search site:jewishsite.com “person’s name” while using sites like forward.com, jta.org, jwa.org, etc.
For example, Steven Swartz (President and CEO of Hearst Communications) may be Jewish, and Swartz is a decently common Jewish name along with its variants. But it’s not at all solely Jewish, and you’ll frequently find gentiles like Alicia Schwarz, the Black Senior VP at the Walt Disney Company. Since there was nothing else to identify Steven as such, who doesn’t even look very Jewish, he was marked gentile.