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The image "Who controls your mind? 2013" below claims that a very large proportion of the US media companies have Presidents, CEOs, Founders, Owners, Vice Presidents and Chairs that are Jewish.

It can be found on many anti-semetic sites such as Stormfront Forums, WatchDogWire, and White Man March. [Note: These links are NSFW, and contain material that may be disturbing.]

Is it accurate and representative? Is it true that American media is mostly (i.e. more than 50%) controlled by people of Jewish origin?

Who controls your mind

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I don't really understand the categorization there. Why would you pull together color of skin, religion and sexual attitude (aside from a stale attempt to racism)? Why not adding "people who have a dog" in there? –  nico Mar 23 at 9:08
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@nico, it's not Gay, it's Goy, as in "non Jew". And the reason they put Religion and skin color, is because they are racist A-Holes. Also, they regard Jews as a separate race. –  Ilya Melamed Mar 23 at 9:28
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@IlyaMelamed I mis-read it as "Gay" as well! Thanks for pointing that out. –  Andrew Grimm Mar 23 at 10:55
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@IlyaMelamed: ok, now it makes slightly more sense, in a disturbing way. –  nico Mar 23 at 11:46
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To such questions, the answer will always be no. If they don't control it, it's obvious that the answer is "no". On the other hand, if they do control it, they must also control this site, so the answer will also be "no". :) –  vsz Mar 24 at 14:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 52 down vote accepted

The methodology of the supposed table is wrong.

The table cherry picks its data points.

The table has factual errors.

At first, we need to address the main question, "Do Jews control American Media?". This is a problematic statement, as it's conspiratorial by nature. The problem with such claims is, as Larian LeQuella put in his answer on Can HAARP affect weather or earthquakes?:

The "beauty" of a conspiracy theory is that no matter what evidence is presented, there is a "talk around" for the believer. No matter what answer is given, they will have a more conspiratorial rebuttal for that.

The table tries to "prove" the claim that the American media is controlled by Jews by showing the supposed large number of Jewish executives in media companies. Before we go over the factual errors and the misrepresentation, we need to address the faulty logic behind this attempt at proof. The table shows us the executives of the companies, while executives have power over the content generated by their company, it is arguably lesser than the influence held by people actually creating the content itself - the writers, reporters, directors, actors, producers, editors and other people involved with the creative process. The table doesn't try to explain why does the Steven Spielberg, as the founder of Dreamworks animation, has more influence on the American media and culture than Steven Spielberg, as the director who won two Oscars on WWII films, one depicting the life of a German businessman who saved Jews during the Holocaust, and one depicting the exploits of a squad of American soldiers looking for another soldier on the western front of WWII.

The table also puts Vice Presidents of a company as having the same influence as CEOs, Presidents and Chairpersons of the board, which is not true for all VPs. One example is the Associated Press; their site, shows they have eight VPs. Of those, the author of the table chose to put Jessica Bruce, the director of HR, and Kathleen Carroll, the executive editor. Surely the head of HR doesn't have the same influence as the executive editor. Moreover the VPs who control the financial aspects didn't made the list. Surely if a CEO controls content because they control the money, the Chief Financial Officer of AP should make the list of influential figures together with (if not instead of) the head of HR. AP is not the only company with more executives that the table claims. NBC entertainment has 28 executives listed on their site. Google has 6 executive officers and another 7 senior leaders. The same goes to Fox News, The New York Times and many others.

The table includes the founders of a company, many of whom - like Walt Disney, Carl Laemmle, Albert Warner and others - have been dead for decades, and could no longer have direct influence on the American media and culture.

The table doesn't differentiate between media that generates independent content and media which is merely a platform for user generated content. For example, the News channels and film companies create their own content, while the content that appears on Facebook, Google and YouTube is not generated by the owners or employees but by the users. Nine of the ten most subscribed YouTube channels by days are operated by private non-Jewish people, and one is the official channel of YouTube.

It also doesn't differentiate between demographics. Disney appeals to younger demographic than News companies. The demographic a company appeals to can be very influential on its effect on the media as the susceptibility of people changes with age.

It is misrepresentative as there are many people who appear several times in the table, people like Mark Zuckerberg, Rupert Murdoch, Marissa Mayer and others. So a person like Mark Zuckerberg, who is the President, CEO, Founder, owner and chairman of Facebook appears more times on the table than the President and CEO of a major news network (Roger Ailes from Fox News).

The table is cherry-pickeded. Not every company has been put on the table. e.g. Facebook is on, but not Instagram, Twitter and other social platforms. The table includes MTV but not VH1, Marvel but not DC comics. I'm sure that there are other major media companies which are absent from the table.


The question of whether a person is Jewish or not can be complicated, as there is a duality of religion and nationality. According to Jewish religious law, everyone who is born to a Jewish mother is a Jew. The only other way to become a Jew is through a conversion process. But once a person is a Jew (whether by birth or otherwise), in the eyes of the religious law that person will always stay a Jew, even if they convert to another religion. A person born to a Jewish father and a non Jewish mother is, at the eyes of the religious law and tradition, isn't a Jew.

Many people are atheist, but see their Jewish heritage as a cultural heritage, in a way familiar to Americans with Irish, German, Italian and other ancestors in the USA. A good example for this is Jon Stewart, who isn't a religious person, yet on his show he constantly talks about his Jewish heritage, about the Jewish traditions and identifies with Jewish stereotypes.

Finally, for the sake of this answer we must accept the criteria that is put by the claim. The claim is made by a racist society that tries to convince us that there is a Jewish conspiracy to take over the media/banks/world. They are not very interested in the religious and cultural identity of each individual, so for the sake of this answer, I take the broadest definition possible: who ever has Jewish ancestry from either side of their family or is a converted Jew. So under this definition, everyone who is a Jew according to the Jewish religion is counted, as well as whoever has Jewish ancestry only from their father's side. It will include atheist and non practicing Jews, as well as Jews who converted to another religion (if there are any who are relevant). This is a very broad definition and it will also include people like Benjamin Disraeli, Karl Marx. If there are any people who were Jews but latter converted, I'll note that.

More on who is a Jew can be read in the Wikipedia article, and on other sources online (The Economist, JewFAQ.com...).

Some of the sources for showing that a person is not Jewish, are racist blogs with no sources. This is only used when no other better sources are found, and under the assumption that a racist blog will not let a Jew or even a suspected Jew to "escape".

This is still a work in progress, as going over all the names takes time.

From now on the specific claims of the table will be checked, I only check the ethnicity of the people mentioned, not whether they hold the position claimed in the table.

People in the table, and whether they are in fact Jewish:

Incorrect

  • Deb Finan - Jew in table but not really Jewish, source: racist blog
  • Phil Griffin - Jew in table, but not really Jewish, only married to one. source: racist blog
  • Marissa Mayer - Jew in table but not really Jewish. source: Wikipedia
  • Steve Jobs - Jew in table but not really Jewish. source: Wikipedia
  • Eric Schmidt - Not a Jew in reality. source: theAlgemeiner.com, but appears in the table several times, and in one of the times (as the chairman of CNN) he appears as a Jew, while in all other he isn't.
  • Arianna Huffington - Not a Jew in reality. source: Wikipedia but appears in the table several times, and in one of the times (as the co-founder of Huff post) she appears as a Jew, while in all other he isn't.

Correct

  • Vivian Schiller - Jew in Table and reality. source: Tabletmag.com
  • Mark Zuckerberg - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Larry Page - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Sergey Brin - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Steven Spielberg - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • David Geffen - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Rupert Murdoch - Not a Jew in the table and in reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Hutch Parker - Not a Jew in the table and in reality. source: racist blog
  • Ronald Meyer - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Thomas Rothman - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • William Fox - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Joseph Schenck - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • James Schamus - Jew in Table and reality. sources: some blog and The New York Times
  • Carl Laemmle - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Ted Turner - Not a Jew in the table and in reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Leslie Moonves - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Dana Walden - Jew in Table and reality. source: abbanibi.com
  • Sheryl Sandberg - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Nikesh Arora - Not a Jew in the table and in reality. source: racist blog
  • Robert Iger - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Sumner Redstone (Rothstein) - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Roger Ailes - Not a Jew in the table and in reality. source: TheJewishWeek.com
  • Brian Lewis - Not a Jew in the table, I couldn't find any confirmation of his religion or ethnicity, but since the table puts his as a non-Jew, I'm applying the "racist blog" rule here and accept this with the disputed claim as the source.
  • Stacey Snider - Jew in Table and reality. source: Jewish Women's Archive
  • The Warner Brothers - Jews in the Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Paul Reuter - Jew in Table and reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson - Not a Jew in the table and in reality. source: Wikipedia
  • Henry Longfellow - Not a Jew in the table and in reality. source: Unitarian Church of Quincy

Undetermined

  • Kathy Keller-Brown - Jew in table, couldn't verify either way.
  • Patricia Fili-Krushel - Jew in table, couldn't verify either way. She did chair an event of the UJA-Federation of New York.
  • Tom Rogers - Jew in table, couldn't verify either way.
  • John Nicol - Jew in table, couldn't verify either way.
  • alvy ray smith - Jew in table, couldn't verify either way.
  • Lew Coleman - Jew in table, couldn't verify ether way.
  • Adam Fogelson - Jew in Table, couldn't verify ether way. His last name is Jewish
  • Jennifer Salke - Jew in table, couldn't verify ether way.
  • Robert Merrick - Jew in table, couldn't verify ether way.
  • John Lasseter - Jew in table, couldn't verify ether way.
  • Holly Bario - Jew in table, couldn't verify ether way.

The table also puts NBC Universal as the owner of MSNBC, Time Warner as the owner of HBO and The Woodbridge Company as the owners of Reuters, and puts them as half jewish and half not. It also puts Hearst Corporation as the owner of Cosmopolitan and puts it as non Jew. Corporations don't have religion, race or ethnicity.

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People who were raised without religion (e.g. Larry Page) or identify with another major religion should on a site like this not be considered jewish. I am aware that technically this is a complex subject, but nearly everyone visiting this site or looking at the table in the Q will think of jews as followers of Judaism. –  David Mulder Mar 23 at 13:15
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If the paranoid motivation behind the chart is that some cabal of religious extremists are controlling the media to affect what you hear, then surely the issue is not their genetic predisposition to Tay-Sachs Disease, or whether they enjoy lox bagels, but what their religious beliefs are. Hence, someone renouncing an Abrahamic God is the most important factor (assuming they are being honest, which adds another level of meaninglessness to the question.) –  Oddthinking Mar 23 at 13:26
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So poor Page and Zuckerberg are forced to conspire against the American people for a cause they don't believe in because their genes force them to? I think our mistake here is to accept the premise that the claim even makes sense as it stands, and try to fight in the mud with the racists. –  Oddthinking Mar 23 at 13:45
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@Oddthinking, yes, we are. We poor god hating Jews aren't differentiated from the god loving Jews by the racists. And we don't even get invited to the take over the world meetings. –  Ilya Melamed Mar 23 at 13:51
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@oddthinking being pedantic here, but Noah and his wife weren't Jews. Hence the term "noachide law", for those basic laws (don't steal, don't murder, etc.) that even non-Jews are expected to follow. Jews are specifically and exclusively, the descendants of Abraham. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 24 at 2:07

No. This Table is very much a distortion a truth. I will take them point by point.

  1. Concept. The Title 'Who controls your mind' starts from a faulty assumption. I don't care what is under the at title, the answer will always be 'Me'. Just because a person or company creates a product, is does not mean that I am forced to consume that product. And supposing that I actually consume an entertainment/information product that they produce does it mean that they control my mind. No. The makers of this table lack a fundamental understanding of individual free agency. Freedom of thought is one of the ultimate freedoms, because it can never be taken from you*. Unfortunately so many give it up so freely. See account from Natan Sharansky, a Jew imprisoned by the Soviets for 'Zionist' activities below for example:

    I remember how I loved to tell to my interrogators anti-Soviet jokes, because there were many anti-Soviet jokes, which, of course, were all underground, and telling them openly. And they're so funny that you are laughing. They would almost explode from desire to laugh, but they could not, they had to be angry. They had to show one another how loyal they were. And you're laughing, and so you say, "You see, you are saying to me that you are free and I am a prisoner. You can't even afford to laugh when you want to laugh! So you're the real prisoner." And all the time, it was giving you the opportunity to enjoy the absurdity of this KGB world, and of course it helped a lot to survive in that world.

  2. Market Share - A select group of companies are shown across various markets, but the complete market is not shown. For example Google is shown to apparently represent search engines, but absent is Microsoft (Bing), Yahoo, or any other competitors. Google Search Engine Market Share is approximately 71%. This seems to be the sector that most supports the question, if we look at cable news, of course, it is the opposite, with about 48% of the market being represented by Companies with officers that are Jewish or of Jewish descent. These two are the easiest to estimate from the chart, since it is incomplete and the market breakdown is not really specified.

  3. Assuming Jews or Individuals with Jewish Heritage/Culture were officers in News and Entertainment companies, does that mean they control the American media? The answer is also no. Similar in part 1, the question derives from a misunderstanding of freedom and capitalism. Under this system, neither the producer or the consumer completely controls the market, if the producer tries to produce something that does not meet the demands of the consumers, they are quickly replaced by one that does. Perhaps one could argue that Radio or Cable television are hardly free markets due to FCC regulations, but this list also contains movie, internet, newspaper and magazine companies, which hold no such regulations. Holding a position of power in a company does not allow you to change the market demands, just to influence business decisions in the company. These decisions may have an impact on market share, but as long as the market is free, that impact on market share is the result of meeting or not meeting the customers demands. A famous example of this is the Decline of Schlitz beer from a market leader in the 50s and 60s to a cautionary tale in the late 70s as a result of cutting quality to increase profitability. This Excerpt from page 89 of The U.S. Brewing Industry Data exemplifies how efficiently the market can react to changes in a product

    The Company's strategy of cutting brewing costs at the expense of quality and product image also appears in the handling of it's Primo brand in Hawaii. In the early 1970's Schlitz discontinued brewing Primo in Hawaii and began brewing wort for Primo in Los Angeles, the wort was then dehydrated, fermented, aged, and packaged. Islanders claimed that Primo's taste had been altered, and its market share in the state of Hawaii plunged from 70 percent to 20 percent between 1971 and 1975.

F.A. Hayek, a Nobel Economist who studied self Organization in Economic Systems, had an observation in his book, The Fatal Conceit that I think explains why Nazis have a tenancy to find Jewish Conspiracies like these.

The result is that such persons (intellectuals hostile to market self organization) are tempted to interpret more complex structures animistically as the result of design, and to suspect some secret and dishonest manipulation - some conspiracy, as of a dominant class' – behind designs' whose designers are nowhere to be found. This in turn helps to reinforce their initial reluctance to relinquish control of their own products in a market order. For intellectuals generally, the feeling of being mere tools of concealed, even if impersonal, market forces appears almost as a personal humiliation.

*This argument does not require belief in the existence of Free Agency (I do, but apparently discussions of free agency are outside the scope of the skeptics SE). Consider this. Even if some external force is controlling Natan Sharansky thoughts (as suggested by Christian, Daniel Dannett, and perhaps many others), the fact that he believes he is in control of his thoughts allows him considerable freedom from the attempts of the Soviets at controlling his thoughts by wielding their physical power and controlling the consequences of his choices to the extent they are able. This is evidenced by the provided reference. I don't think that I will ever be able to prove the existence of free agency to someone that does not believe it, and is unwilling to experiment with it, but there are plenty of cases, such as this one, that demonstrate that at a minimum a belief in free agency and exercise of such agency can protect oneself from external attempts at control.

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(1) The existence of free will is no general accepted phenomena. There are plenty of philosophers like Daniel Dannett who doubt it's existence. Making an argument on those grounds has no place on this site without citing specific studies. –  Christian Mar 25 at 11:42
    
(3) You don't provide any sources for your claims about the amount of power of media ownership. If facebook decides to show links to a certain website the dislike 30% less on newsfeeds, nobody will know that they prevent that website from getting traffic. There are lot of subtle ways to exert power that don't produce public backslash. –  Christian Mar 25 at 11:43
    
Christian. Addressed (3) in response. Hopefully this will make clear to you the costs of exerting such power. Such manipulation would be considered by users as an adulteration, and will be treated accordingly. There are even things going on quite similar to this today, specifically backlash against their (Facebook, Google) collaboration with the NSA (newsday.com/business/technology/…) (1) will take a little more time to address, as it is a large, fundamental question. –  Mauser Mar 25 at 16:12
    
Christian, Addressed (1). –  Mauser Mar 27 at 15:51

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