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When Billionaires Control the Media

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The New York Times wrote  about the control of the mass media by billionaires, an issue that should concern us all. Not only do they own the media, some use it to promote their financial self-interest and political ideology.

 

This is is not an entirely new phenomenon, the story notes, mentioning William Randolph Hearst as an example. But Hearst co-existed with thousands of community newspapers. In this age of concentrated ownership of the media, a handful of moguls own the news.

 

Jim Rutenberg, the reporter, points out an ominous development. Billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled a lawsuit by wrestler Hulk Hoganagainst Gawker.com, a gossip website, as payback for Gawker’s report that he was gay. Hogan won $140 million, which, if upheld on appeal, would put Gawker out of business.

 

This is an ingenious way to stifle dissent. If a billionaire doesn’t like a website, he or she can sue it into bankruptcy.

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