“This Campaign To Make Democracy Extinct”

One luxury of being fabulously wealthy is that you can throw your weight around and distort reality. You can sometimes bend it to conform to your own agenda.

This morning I heard a disturbing report on NPR that detailed the efforts of Sheldon Adelson, who made his billions in the casino bidness, to throw his weight around by launching “a free newspaper in Israel in 2007” that “has close ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The result of the American billionaire’s efforts is that other Hebrew newspapers, including ones not in the pockets of Adelson and Netanyahu, are struggling, since they cannot compete with a business willing to give its product away, charge advertisers much less than market rates, and thus operate at a considerable loss.

Adelson’s newspaper venture, called Israel Hayom, is obviously designed to quiet any opposition to right-wing thinking and, more important as a war with Iran looms in America’s future, right-wing actions.

Here’s how McClatchy reported on the issue:

The economic crisis that’s hit the newspaper industry in the United States and elsewhere is threatening some of Israel’s most influential publications and could soon leave the country with virtually no liberal-leaning printed newspapers…

Publishers say that competition with the Internet, as in the rest of the world, is one reason for their decline. But they say a far bigger influence has been the cost of competing with Israel Hayom, a free-distribution newspaper that American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson founded five years ago.

In Israel, the right-wing paper is known as “Bibi Press,” for its “often-fawning articles about Netanyahu.” The free paper is hurting all newspapers, not just left-leaning ones. The McClatchy article ends this way:

Popular Israeli columnist Ben Caspit wrote Friday in Maariv that outside forces were driving Israeli media outlets out of business.

“An enormous power, uncontrollable and unstoppable, arrives from outside and destroys the local forces one after another, like in a futuristic film. The local forces are us: Maariv, Haaretz, Channel 10, Globes, afterwards it’s Channel 2’s turn and in the end also Yediot Ahronot. No one of these has enough power to even tickle Sheldon Adelson,” he wrote.

“I think not so long from now we will all understand that we are in one boat. That they are taking over our country. That this is a war. . . . We need to unite and to explain to Bibi, so that he’ll understand, that he must not continue with this campaign to make democracy extinct.”

Noam Sheizaf of the web magazine +972, called attention to how Israel Hayom inserted itself into American politics. He published a story in July titled:

Romney uses Adelson’s free paper to criticize Obama

Sheizaf noted that during Romney’s visit to Israel this year, he violated the longstanding practice of not criticizing a sitting American administration while abroad. And he did so not in a left-leaning newspaper that interviewed him, but in Adelson’s rag.

For the record, the bloated billionaire is also throwing his bloatedness around here in other ways, notably:

Mr. Adelson has already contributed more money to defeat Mr. Obama than anyone: over $50 million has gone to the 2012 campaign, including $10 million to a “super PAC” backing Mr. Romney and $10 million to Crossroads GPS, which has run millions of dollars of advertisements against Mr. Obama.

Adelson has pledged to spend $100 million or more, and it remains to be seen whether he can buy enough votes for Mitt Romney to win and thereby represent the billionaire’s interests and help with his agenda. But we have seen enough already to make us realize that in an important way the election in November is about more than Obama and Romney.

It’s about whether rich folks can continue to openly get away with distorting reality.

It’s about whether the wealthy can bend the electorate’s will enough to keep advancing the exclusive interests of the moneyed class.

It is about whether Americans will continue to allow fat-cat bully-billionaires like Sheldon Adelson to push them around.

6 Comments

  1. Treeske

     /  October 18, 2012

    One wonders how much of our tax money goes toward this evil man’s goals?

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  2. Jane Reaction

     /  October 18, 2012

    Adelson is merely the end of a line begun by Moses.

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  3. I wonder, often, if — in dire frustration — the radical Arab and Muslim elements in the Middle East will just go all in regarding the loud insanity that is the Jewish Right Wing, and take a deep breath and say “Enough! We cannot defeat the United States. We will pay a high price to destroy our oppressors in Israel, but this we must do.” And so they will. And 100-times as many Arabs and Muslims will die. And lots of peaceful Jewish progressives will die. And all those nations will be decimated and American Fundamentalists will have the Armageddon they so long for — and the world will not end and Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Rick Perry will all say (in unison), “Well,shit! Now what are we gonna do?”

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  4. Treeske

     /  October 19, 2012

    Just a question: Why did this particular blog arrived in my junk mail? None of the others have.

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  5. @Jane, I think we should be careful about not taking this blog entry about an extremist as justification for anti semitic rhetoric.

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  6. I agree with Dawn that this should not be attacking religion. However, the proper issue does concern religion. The Founding Fathers probably were more successful than any other government in history in separating religion from politics. Or maybe I should say “less unsuccessful” because it is religious issues that have powered today’s Teavangelicals to a point that has paralyzed Congress and needlessly undermined national confidence in government.

    Overseas, the same issue is even worse, as Duane’s post makes clear. It is religious hatred that’s at the root of all the hot conflicts. Suni’s and Shiites are killing one another in Iraq and Syria, and now I see in the paper that is spreading back into Lebanon after a 4 year hiatus. The animus the two sides have for one another is exceeded only by their hatred for the Jews.

    I sure don’t have a solution to this, other than to endorse this post’s condemnation of Sheldon Addelson’s activism. His right-wing demagoguery only exacerbates passions on both sides, ironically in contravention to the tenets of all three great religions which claim a preference for peace.

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