Friday, November 29, 2019

Citizen Bloomberg


In 1941, filmmaker Orson Welles created what many regard as the best movie ever made. "Citizen Kane" followed the career of a newspaper magnate who began as an idealist but gradually became ruthlessly obsessed only with power.

In the film, Charles Foster Kane changes from a puppet master who elects and pulls the strings of tawdry politicians into a politician himself. But when he runs to become governor of New York, his opponents use an extramarital sex scandal to defeat him. Embittered, he in old age dies uttering the word "Rosebud," the name of his childhood sled.

The character of Kane had striking resemblance to newspaper giant William Randolph Hearst, although Welles insisted it was a composite character also based on Joseph Pulitzer and other publishing giants.

Hearst prohibited any mention of this movie in his hundreds of newspapers. He attempted to suppress the film, which was a critical success but commercial failure, and to wreck Welles' career. As the saying went in that newsprint-ruled age, "Never offend anyone who buys ink by the barrel."

Michael Bloomberg – who should be called "Citizen Bloomberg" – is one of today's most powerful media magnates. He owns a major interest in a slightly left-of-center news service, a radio and a television network, and Bloomberg Business Week Magazine, a media complex that employs approximately 2,700 journalists and analysts.

Bloomberg also, according to Associated Press, has "extensive business holdings," which "include selling financial data services [that] employ more than 19,000 people in 69 countries" that raise "potential conflict-of-interest questions."

His media empire has earned Bloomberg $52.3 billion in net worth, which makes him at least the ninth-richest person in America and 14th-wealthiest person in the world. Now a declared presidential candidate, this man with "more money than God," according to pollster Frank Luntz, has enough raw cash to buy every available ad spot on every network and major media outlet from now through election day 2020.

Bloomberg could instantly stand head and shoulders above other rival Democrat candidates simply through the power and reach of media he owns.

But days ago his editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait, former U.S. editor of the British magazine The Economist and co-author of the 2004 centrist book "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America," announced that Bloomberg outlets would during the campaign do no provocative reporting on Michael Bloomberg himself or on his Democratic opponents. They would, however, continue to dig for new information, presumably bad, about Republican President Donald Trump.

Earlier this year, writes AP, Bloomberg "pledged to 'separate myself' from his foundation and private businesses should he launch a campaign." Now, however, he has as yet offered no firewall that would keep him from using his media outlets in the presidential campaign, nor has he agreed to sell his media companies if elected. Can he ethically be both an elected president and a media baron?

This raises hundreds of legal and ethical questions. Can those reporting for Bloomberg's media empire be fair and objective if their boss is a candidate? He has said: "I don't want the reporters I'm paying to write a bad story about me."

Can reporters elsewhere who might someday need to seek a job with Bloomberg's empire be truly impartial, or would they be afraid of being put on his "enemies list" and censor themselves?

Although Micklethwait says that Bloomberg media will not attack Democrats, will rivals fear this, or fear getting little or no coverage at all, and therefore pull their punches at Citizen Bloomberg? "A Bloomberg campaign," reported the New York Times, "would represent a seismic disruption in the Democratic race."

America's media are supposed to be a "watchdog" over politicians and government wrongdoing. But Bloomberg has just promised that his media will report no wrongdoing by himself or other Democratic presidential candidates. Does this destroy the credibility and trustworthiness of his empire?

To cite one example of what his media will not report: The New York Times on Nov. 14 told of Bloomberg speaking about his company's computer terminal able to "do everything," including a demeaning erotic act. "I guess," the Times quoted misogynist Bloomberg as saying, "that puts a lot of you girls out of business."

Bloomberg allegedly has a long record of stop-and-frisk close encounters with female employees, as the New York Police Department under his 12 years as a firearms-confiscating mayor did disproportionately with African American and Latino males. He has recently apologized for both behaviors, but this raises the question of who Citizen Bloomberg, 77, is becoming.

Lowell Ponte is a former Reader's Digest Roving Editor. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other major publications. His latest paper co-authored with Craig R. Smith, "China's Top Secret War," shows how to rethink several areas of investment to protect and grow your savings against the little-known economic threats the People's Republic of China poses. For a free, postpaid copy, call toll-free 800-630-1492.


The post Citizen Bloomberg appeared first on WND.