United States Press Politics in Austria
All news is views.
-- George Gerbner, Ideological Perspective and Political Tendencies in News Reporting ( 1964)
The control, reform, and reorganization of Austria's press doubtless stood at the center of (cultural) political reorientation programs of the victorious powers. All four allies founded newspapers and issued licenses to politically acceptable publishers. However, U.S. information officers were far more successful than the press officers of the other nations in significantly influencing--directly and indirectly--the Austrian media landscape. They did so not only in the short term, as U.S. press reforms affected Austrian media in many important areas in the long run. This was a result of more intensive planning and material superiority as well as of the internal structure of the Austrian media. Therefore, the great majority of the Austrian press--the most important intensifier of opinions during the first years of the Cold War--became tools for achieving the goals of U.S. information politics.1
In spite of its initial total monitoring, the control of the Austrian press was less radical than the plans for the press in Germany. Nevertheless, the first and foremost goal of American press officers was to expropriate all information apparatuses, to rid them of their Nazi functionaries, and to revamp the function of the journalists and the basic workings of the entire press system according to the U.S. model. During the first phase of occupation, the concept for surmounting all fascist remnants certainly also included the former representatives of Austro-fascism. However, these more radical plans were quickly dropped. Such was the case, for example, in the appointment of Gustav A. Canaval, a former chief editor of the newspaper of the Austrian Sturmscharen Sturm über Österreich, as copublisher and senior editor of the Salzburger Nachrichten. U.S. plans to exclude former Austro-fascists faced total opposition from the ÖVP leadership and the Catholic church and had to be abandoned.2
Yet another, more important point was the banishing of all German influence in the new press, or the "de-Germanization" of the entire information machinery. This goal was achieved in the area of personnel. If we look, how
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Publication information: Book title: Coca-Colonization and the Cold War:The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War. Contributors: Reinhold Wagnleitner - Author, Diana M. Wolf - Translator. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 84.
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