Thomas “Tom” Glocer (born October 8, 1959) is an American business executive who has held positions in various companies including Merck, Morgan Stanley, and Afiniti. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at Columbia University and his Juris Doctor degree at Yale Law School. After which, he started working as a merger and acquisitions lawyer for Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, Paris, and Tokyo.
Thomas Glocer’s stay at Reuters and Thomson Reuters
In 1993, Glocer first joined the international news organization Reuters Group PLC as part of its legal department. He then held senior leadership positions, including being the president of the company’s offices in Latin America and the U.S. before he was appointed as the CEO of Reuters in July 2001.
News regarding the remuneration that Glocer received from the company became the center of controversy in 2004. According to a report published in The Guardian, the then-CEO received a whopping 12 million pounds in salary and perks. This consisted of his basic salary of 816,000 pounds, an 800,000 pound bonus, which increased by nearly a third since the previous year, and benefits including the rent for his 20,000 pound west London house. This information was revealed just a year after one in four of Reuter’s shareholders voted against the company’s remuneration policy, with some of them calling it “offensive.” To reduce shareholder anger, Glocer later agreed to ditch his two-year pay deal, calling it a gesture of goodwill to U.K. investors.
Thomas Glocer played a key role in the negotiations for the acquisition of Reuters by Thomson Corporation before the global financial crisis. By 2008, the two companies merged to form Thomson Reuters Corporation, which allowed them to enjoy years of cost savings. However, the merger also caused the company to struggle with rolling out Eikon, a financial services product that unified the many financial products of the two legacy companies.
After serving as the company’s CEO for 11 years, Glocer stepped down unexpectedly from his post in 2011 and was succeeded by then-Chief Operating Officer Jim Smith. When Glocer left Thomson Reuters, he walked away with more than $37.7 million in pay and shares.
Thomas Glocer and the Publicis Groupe
Glocer became involved in many companies following his stint at Reuters. He became the Director of Merck & Co., serving as the Chair of its Compensation Committee, and the Lead Director of Morgan Stanley. He also served as a Director of Publicis Groupe, which is one of the biggest communications groups in the world.
The company, which was founded by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet in 1962, is divided into four major components that are referred to as solution hubs. These include Publicis Communications, Publicis Sapient, Publicis Media, and Publicis Health. Through these divisions, they are able to cater to the needs of their clients which include top pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer, and Bayer Monsanto, as well as food corporations like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Kraft Heinz, and Burger King. In addition, Publicis Company works with the government of Australia and Saudi Arabia.
Qorvis is one of the subsidiaries under Publicis Groupe, which has been the center of controversy due to its relationship with Saudi Arabia. For years, the two have worked together to improve the kingdom’s image in the U.S. Their relationship started after the September 11 terrorist attacks when the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia paid them more than $14 million to counter accusations regarding the country’s potential involvement with terrorism. Qorvis was also responsible for promoting Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen, which was touted as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” by the United Nations. Moreover, the company exploitated military veterans so that amendments in favor of Saudi Arabia would be made to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) of the U.S.
Thomas Glocer and the Atlantic Council
Glocer also serves as a Director of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-founded Atlantic Council. The goal of this organization is to “shape policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world.”
In 2018, Facebook gave the Atlantic Council power over media censorship in Facebook, the largest social media network in the world. This partnership is meant to bring more objectivity and neutrality to the process of removing fake accounts on social media that are potentially involved with nefarious foreign states. However, a look at the Atlantic Council’s top donors makes it difficult to believe that the organization will do its task without bias since it is funded by different branches of the U.S. government, Middle Eastern autocratic regimes, and manufacturers of arms.
The Atlantic Council has received criticism for supporting questionable stands on controversies like military engagement in Syria, military confrontation of the “Russian threat” in Eastern Europe, and allowing Ukraine and Georgia to be part of NATO. In addition, the organization advocated on behalf of Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was one of its donors, and even gave George W. Bush a “Distinguished International Leadership” award.
Thomas Glocer involvement with the Council on Foreign Relations
Glocer has also been involved with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), serving as its Director and member. This think tank was established in 1921 and since then it has had a long list of prominent members including former government officials, Wall Street investors, lobbyist lawyers, university presidents and professors, Supreme Court Justices, Federal Judges, Wealthy entrepreneurs, and NATO and Pentagon military leaders. Over time, the CFR has developed a reputation for its elitism, which could affect its ability to provide unbiased service.
In 2018, the Swiss Propaganda Research Center revealed that the CFR, which is known for promoting endless war, has ties to approximately 90 percent of all U.S. media. This implies that even if there are over a hundred channels, websites, or news outlets available, Americans only have an illusion of choice since most media come from a single source. Furthermore, the ties between the CFR and these media outlets can allow them to push their propaganda on most of the population.
According to former Army Major Todd Pierce, the CFR works by using “psychological suggestiveness to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the U.S. population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.”
Thomas Glocer and NewsGuard
In 2018, Glocer became one of the major investors of NewsGuard, a news rating agency that aims to fight fake news through old school journalism. This company was established by Steven Brill and Louis Gordon Crovitz with the $6 million that they raised in funding from companies such as the Publicis Groupe, Blue Haven Initiative, and the Knight Foundation, as well as wealthy individuals like Glocer and John McCarter.
NewsGuard uses a green-red rating signal to indicate whether a website is credible or if it publishes fake news and propaganda. To achieve this, NewsGuard employs a team of journalists who rate websites based on nine journalistic criteria, like publishing false content, stating conflicts of interest, revealing financing, and publicly correcting errors. Furthermore, the agency claims that their use of humans allows them to give websites who fail to meet all of their criteria a chance to comment on the issue.
Since its establishment, NewsGuard has already faced criticism for its ratings. The whistleblower website WikiLeaks is one of the websites which has blasted the news rating agency for its incorrect ratings. NewsGuard gave the website a red rating for supposedly failing to “maintain basic standards of accuracy.” However, a closer look at the warning label given by the news rating agency reveals that the information published on WikiLeaks has “never been shown to be fake” and that there are no confirmed cases of published documents that are doctored.
NewsGuard also gave the website RT a red rating for “raising doubts about other countries and their institutions” through its critical reports of the U.S. government and its allies. On the other hand, websites that have been proven to publish fake news like CNN and The Washington Post received green ratings. Similarly, the Voice of America, a U.S. state-funded media outlet, also received a good rating even if it publishes news that support national security objectives.
A quick look at the people behind NewsGuard can explain why NewsGuard exhibits obvious bias in giving its ratings. The agency’s founder and CEO Crovitz is known for his repeated use of wrong information on his articles for the Wall Street Journal, including one on National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance. In addition, Crovitz is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, like Glocer. He is also involved as an editor and contributor of books by the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, two of the most prominent neoconservative think tanks in the U.S. and major supporters of the War on Terror.
NewsGuard’s advisory board also supports the idea that the agency was created to serve the interests of the American oligarchy. Its members include Tom Ridge, who was the Secretary of Homeland Security during George Bush’s administration, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and NSA Director Retired General Michael Hayden, and the chairman of PBS and Burson Cohn & Wolfe Don Baer, who is also the former White House communications director and adviser to Bill Clinton. The advisory board also includes former Time editor Richard Stengel who is a “distinguished fellow” at the Atlantic Council and the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy for former President Barack Obama, a job which he described as being the “chief propagandist.”
NewsGuard’s investors also raise a red flag. Its third biggest investor, the Publicis Groupe, has many powerful clients that could cause a potential conflict of interest since some sites could generate bad publicity for their accurate reports on these companies. Meanwhile, its other investor, the Blue Haven Initiative, is associated with the wealthy Pritzker family who owns the Hyatt hotel chain and were the second biggest contributors to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Although the use of NewsGuard is still voluntary, the people behind it are continuously working to make more people use it. To do this, they are talking directly to state governments so that the NewsGuard browser extension would be installed on all computers in state public libraries, with Hawaii being the first one to join this initiative. Furthermore, the agency has partnered with Microsoft to make their app a built-in feature for the Microsoft Edge browser on IOS and Android mobile devices. Through this partnership, they are also looking to make NewsGuard a built-in addition to Microsoft browsers on computers that operate on Windows 10.
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