Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the corporate coup orchestrated and signed into existence by the Clinton administration, Slim had been able to corner the market on Central America's and much of South America's cell phone industry and extract billions of dollars from the Mexican people, whose lives and livelihoods have been irreparably damaged or even destroyed by NAFTA.
When Wall Street later crashed and burned as a direct result of the deregulation frenzy that reached its zenith during the Clinton-Bush years, The Times was very much part of the collateral damage. Management watched helplessly as its ad revenue poured down the tubes at a horrific rate.
And then lo and behold: NAFTA beneficiary and world-class oligarch Carlos Slim swooped across the Rio Grande just in time, with a multimillion-dollar loan package designed to keep the Gray Lady in the style to which she had been accustomed.
A year ago, Slim doubled his holdings at the New York Times company, becoming its largest shareholder. His total stake in the Gray Lady is now valued at more than a third of a billion dollars.
So why shouldn't the Times shill for Hillary Clinton? After all, were it not for a special clause in NAFTA expressly greasing the skids for his crony capitalist seizure of the entire Latin American telecom industry,Times Sugar Daddy Carlos Slim never could have vied with Bill Gates for the title of the richest man on the planet.
For the trickle-down NAFTA beneficiary New York Times to endorse Hillary Clinton before the first primary vote had even been cast, assigning a full-time political beat reporter to her before she even announced her run, are very small prices for the newspaper to pay for a lifesaving cash infusion of a third of a billion dollars -- and counting. The fact that the Times occasionally runs critical pieces on Clintonoid financial chicanery and war crimes is similarly a small price for Hillary to pay for the privilege of her coronation. After all, the Clintons have thrived off their self-imposed victimhood for many decades. That "vast, right wing conspiracy" has paradoxically worked as a protective shield for them all these years. It has also acted as a magnet, attracting liberal supporters who might otherwise have found their behavior reprehensible.
The Times can, for example, run a scathing piece on how Hillary ruined Libya and then boast about how balanced their coverage is. Hillary's operatives, for their part, can kvetch about the "unfair" Times coverage about her family charity/slush fund and rake in even more sympathetic dollars from the billionaire donor class and sympathetic votes from the Democratic veal pen.
To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, even on her worst day Hillary doesn't seem as bad as the Republican nihilists on their best day.
Carlos Slim, meantime, is not only sinking his ill-gotten gains into the New York Times, he is funneling millions of dollars into the Clinton Foundation. Even as Hillary was starting her presidential bid in 2014, she traveled to Mexico for a buckfest with one of her favorite oligarchs. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another presidential wannabe before defecting to the Born-Again Trumpians, joined the gluttony to make it a truly attractive threesome. (As a non-U.S. American, Slim is not allowed to personally contribute to U.S. political campaigns, but the dark money enabled by Citizens United has taken care of that little roadblock very nicely indeed.)
|The Empress and the Oligarch|
Of course, there's been that minor glitch from the Left named Bernie Sanders and his populist uprising. That he has made criticism of NAFTA, the TPP, and other trade deals a centerpiece of his candidacy really must have ticked those Times people off. If, as odious Times columnist Paul Krugman suggests, the "demagogic" Sanders were to tear up NAFTA upon his election to the presidency, global chaos would ensue. In other words, Carlos Slim might lose a few bucks. His telecom monopoly might even be in danger of a permanent break-up. The continued cash flow into Times Square might dwindle down to a dangerous trickle.
At the very least, thanks to the Sanders campaign, the global plutocracy and its inhumane job-destroying free trade deals have come under some rare scrutiny.
You see, we weren't supposed to notice that what Krugman once called the "beautiful thing" of NAFTA is actually a version of the shock doctrine.
It created a serious crisis, and the serious people of the Neoliberal Thought Collective didn't let it go to waste.
Crises were created, farmers fled their lands, factories were shuttered, too-big-to-fail/jail banks extracted their due, and only the little people on both sides of the border have suffered.
We weren't supposed to find out that the "externalities" of NAFTA cited by Krugman and other neoliberal economists-for-hire are actually human beings who lost their homes, jobs and in some cases their very lives. Beginning in those bubble-icious Clinton years, it became the duty of both the Mexican and the American media to mold public opinion into an abject acceptance of their lost jobs and plummeting wages and rising prices -- not to mention the violence spawned by government-enabled/sponsored narco-trafficking.
So the fact that the New York Times has been alternately ignoring and denigrating Sanders should come as no y-u-u-ge surprise. Bernie is a clear and present danger to neoliberalism and to the Clintonoid extreme center of which the Times is an integral part. He is a clear and present danger to the plutocracy-serving and plutocracy-enriched Paper of Record itself. His agenda threatens the bottom lines of investors and wealthy advertisers.
Desperate Times calls for desperate measures. Thanks to technology -- and a very astute blogger going by the name of Broken Ravioli -- the stealth shadow re-editing of a Times story by Jennifer Steinhauer has been outed in real time. The exposé was picked up and expanded upon by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and other prominent writers. The subsequent special pleadings of the Times' editors: that such editorial manipulation goes on all the time, is eerily reminiscent of Hillary Clinton's insistence that just because she takes bribes doesn't mean that her bribers will necessarily get what they pay for.
Departing Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has the detailed synopsis and all the links that are fit to print right here.
It should come as no huge surprise that Times editors apparently conspired to deliberately mangle a rare favorable straight news story about Sanders's legislative accomplishments into just one more blatant hit piece of an op-ed. The fact that the vast majority of commenters are rightly upset about the paper's journalistic corruption, some even cancelling their subscriptions in protest, has apparently made no impact on the paper's management and its anti-Bernie agenda.
Compared to the hundreds of millions they rake in from high-end advertisers and the largesse of Carlos Slim, they apparently view reader subscriptions as slim (sorry!) pickings in the grand scheme of things. Besides, for every click on the popular readers' comment section, the Times makes money. It's an integral part of the new
Apparently mildly stung by the recent criticism, however, a few Times writers are now proceeding to the next stage of their neoliberal propaganda agenda: the awarding of the booby prizes. Timothy Egan, one of Bernie's more peevish centrist critics, suddenly wants him to stay in the race, just for old times' sake, seeing as how the campaign is Part Three of "Weekend at Bernie's." Charles Blow, pivoting from his own castigation of white "Berniesplainers," now admits that there has, in fact, been a Bernie Blackout going on in TimesWorld. Even Krugman, Bernie-basher bar none, is hypocritically walking back his own role in NAFTA, in perfect sync with Hillary Clinton's own purely temporary anti-trade posing.
This sudden attempted rapprochement with, even fawning over, Bernie supporters now that Sanders has little to no chance of defeating Hillary Clinton, is of course too little and too late. The motivation obviously is to herd all the disappointed millions of millennials into Hillary's pen, in the interest of party machine solidarity and anti-Trumpism. Yet, despite all their alleged writing talents, these hacks just never learned how to do nuance and psy-ops very well at all.
"Obama Quietly Signals That It's Time to Unite Behind Clinton," grossly blares the latest above-the-fold New York Times headline.
It is so painfully obvious that they want to be retroactively "caught trying" for the sake of their own tattered journalistic reputations.But judging from the outpouring of outraged reader commentary, people are no longer buying what they're selling. Especially since relatively few people even have the money to scale a paywall every bit as ridiculous and classist as the Great Wall between Trump's America and the global south.
"Read not The Times. Read the Eternities." -- Henry David Thoreau.
** Update: The aforementioned Charles Blow was impelled to post a Facebook video instructing us mere mortals about the differences between opinion-writing and news-writing. Incidentally, he disdains to even glance at the published reader comments appended to his articles. But, he sneers, "knock yourselves out" writing comments anyway, because lots of comments contribute to his job security at the Times. Click, click, click.
I couldn't even stand to watch his whole condescending video lecture. Rima Regas has posted it on her blog, though, in case you're in need of a sardonic laugh or two.