Sherman H. Skolnick
| Buying A Media Job|
by Sherman H.
So, you want to be a talking head on a local TV station.
And read the alleged "news" from the idiot machine.
1. You have to be about 28 years old.
2. If a woman, blondes preferred. Light-skinned blacks
permitted BUT must look like a doll.
3. Must be able to read items about bloody wrecks, airplane
disasters, and tornados without showing much visible emotion.
4. You cannot show any politics in what you are reading.
In most of the bigger markets, such as Chicago, New York,
and Los Angeles, you have to buy the job through the local, handful of
celebrity lawyers. The terms are as follows: in a three-year conract, paying
a big buck, you have to agree to pay under the table, a minimum of 15 per
cent, in front, in cash, of the total amount you would receive in the first
year of the contract. Of that, it is to be divided up as follows: one third
to the union business agent, one third to the celebrity lawyer, and one
third to the news director or station manager.
I have been on the periphery of the media since the early
1960s. A few examples have come to my attention. Because of our role as
crusaders opening up scandals, items that are suppressed by the monopoly
press are sometimes referred to us, on the sly, together with the corroborating
details. Media people in key places confide in us. We never, never, never
divulge sources. Judges that we have fingered publicly for bribery have
numerous times over the decades, put me, as the head of our court reform
group, in jail and prison for so-called "contempt of court",
for absolutely refusing to divulge sources.
Over the decades as well I have become a sort of father
confessor of media people with a problem. [I once taught civic investigation
at a Chicago broadcast school.] Media people confide their problems to
us, in confidence, knowing that we will never reveal who they are and will
oftentimes come up with a proposed solution to save their neck and their
job. I have usually met with such people in the middle of the night at
some out of the way meeting place. What follows is a typical example:
"Sherman, the so and so's fired me. And I am only
in the first year of my three-year contract. BUT, they cannot do that!"
the media person forcefully exclaimed. "I paid in cash, in front,
the fifteen per cent as required. I bought the job. The money was divided
up on the business agent of the union, this special lawyer that handles
the buying and selling of media jobs, and the balance went to the news
director. I was also of course the right age and look. Hey, the job belongs
to me. They cannot fire me!" he emphasized.
He outlined to me how this system works throughout the
media industry. He offered other examples, some of which we already knew
about from talking to other media people.
"I'll try my best to help you and keep all this
confidential. After all, you and your pals have in the past given me the
lowdown on several suppressed scandals, and gave me the rundown on the
inside dirt at your outlet. So I owe you one." I told him.
"I bought the job, that's the system. They cannot
fire me!" he repeated, his voice showing his anger.
In my most compassionate manner, I quietly told him.
"Well, you are unfortunately in the same category, I am sorry to tell
you, as a bank robber on the way from the stick-up. A crooked cop beats
you up and rips off the loot for himself. And you want to sue for brutality
and recovery of your property. Such a lawsuit is not allowed. It is, the
courts say, against public policy, since you bought the job. It is against
the public good to be buying and selling jobs, such as in the mass media."
I showed I understood his plight.
"Listen, as an alternative, what kind of dirt do
you have on the celebrity lawyer, the union business agent, and the news
director? Maybe that would pressure the bastards to leave you alone."
"Why? You think I should turn them in to the IRS
with this? The so and so's do not report the job pay-off money on their
taxes." He responded.
"Aw, come on now, don't be silly. Right before the
April 15th each year, the media honchos go along with the IRS and report
a few evaders the IRS has fingered. So as to scare the rest of the public
into sending in their form 1040 without question, just like it is required
instead of actually, voluntary. The media bosses seldom go on the air with
IRS corruption like we dig up." I told him.
No lawyer would undertake to sue for him. So, he went
on to some other line of work. Being handsome and personable, he was suitable
for being a friendly, productive salesman.
Some long-time network reporters that confided in me
were worried about their jobs and their pensions. A foreign outfit was
trying to take over the news operation division. I gave them some inside
data we compiled on the sharks trying to grab their section of the network.
So, all of a sudden the veteran correspondents were sneaking by some hot,
political assassination type items, during the night on the radio end.
Sort of to scare a few would-be network grabbers. It worked.
In the process of all this, we found out the requirements
for network correspondent to cover, for example, the White House:  As
a woman, they have to start out about 40 years old. The networks push away
women White House reporters if they are over 58 years old. Men, however,
can cover the White House even if they are over 60, but not women. It is
a form of known discrimination. Network news anchor faces usually do not
have their contracts renewed if they approach 60 years old. Once in a while
there is an exception.
Some of the younger reporters for networks that cover
the White House, are actually assets of foreign intelligence agencies.
One such reporter keeps track of all of the President's phone calls and
meetings with persons in the White House. Hey,how is that done? Supposedly
for a price, he will share the data with a reporter working on piecing
together some supposed White House scandal.
In the 1960s and 1970s, I was often on the commercial
TV for 40 seconds or so, talking about the voting cases that I brought
in the federal courts being I am self-educated in law. I was called "Mr.
One Man, One Vote" referring to the numerous election district reapportionment
cases that I brought and won on behalf of myself and all voters similarly
situated. But in 1988 I got put on the crap list for being too outspoken.
I had confronted Don Hewitt, top honcho of CBS's "60 Minutes"
Program. I gave him a lot of specifics about the buying and selling of
media jobs. I was naive, I now realize, to believe that "60 Minutes"
would expose this dirty business.
Don Hewitt screamed all over me and in so many words,
told me I will never again be allowed on the TV anymore. After that, the
only time you could see me on the TV as starting in 1991 when I became
a regular panelist, later moderator/producer, of a non-commercial, public
access weekly Cable TV Show in Chicago, called "Broadsides".
The media types, by the way, are absolutely forbidden to mention that our
popular Cable TV Show exists, or, for that matter, that I exist.
So, you want to be on the air on commercial TV, huh?
Fine. Be the right type and look and buy your job with cash in front. It
is the system and so far, no one in authority is prepared to change it.
Since 1958, Mr.Skolnick has been a court reformer. Since 1963,
founder/chairman, Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, disclosing
certain instances of judicial and other bribery and political murders.
Since 1991 a regular panelist, and since 1995, moderator/producer, of
one-hour,weekly public access Cable TV Show, "Broadsides", Cablecast on
Channel 21, 9 p.m. each Monday in Chicago. For a heavy packet of printed
stories, send $5.00 [U.S. funds] and a stamped, self-addressed business
sized envelope [4-1/4 x 9-1/2 #10 size] WITH THREE STAMPS ON IT, to
Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, Sherman H. Skolnick,
Chairman, 9800 South Oglesby Ave., Chicago IL 60617-4870. Office, 7
days, 8 a.m. to midnight, (773) 375-5741 [PLEASE, no "just routine
calls]. Before sending FAX,
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