January 6, 2016

Freedom of the Press - for Billionaires

Billionaires play an outsized role in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Half of campaign contributions come from a mere Handful of the mega-wealthy. There's Donald Trump, of course. But also Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas gambling magnate.Mr. Adelson has been in court to answer questions which revolve around his operations in Macau, including links to organized crime and prostitution. Most surprising was his behavior in court, where he refused to answer routine questions and argued with the judge, Elizabeth Gonzales.

Then Mr. Adelson bought Nevada’s largest newspaper. Reporters at the paper were told to monitor all activity of three judges, including Ms. Gonzales. Meanwhile, an attack on Judge Gonzales, appeared in a small Connecticut newspaper owned by one of Mr. Adelson’s associates. "O.K., but why do we care?" asks economist Paul Krugman. "Because Mr. Adelson’s political spending has made him a huge player in Republican politics — so much so that reporters routinely talk about the 'Adelson primary,' in which candidates trek to Las Vegas to pay obeisance."

Here's another gem about the mega-rich to ponder: media mogul Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News, has bought the venerable National Geographic. Why? Well, it's clear that something has to be done about the NG taking climate change seriously, and showing how energy companies are spoiling our land, air and water. That will have to change. And Rupert has the bucks to do it.

Freedom of the press, a pundit once declared, is only for those who own one.
Note: Sheldon Addison is well known here in Spain. Two years ago he tried to create Europe's biggest gambling complex just outside Madrid. The notoriously-corrupt conservative regional government laid out the red carpet for him, salivating over all the graft that it could involve. However, Addelson pulled out once he realized that Spanish labor and tax laws could not be bent enough for his greedy appetite. The public's reaction was palpable: Good riddance!

No comments: