Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Times of Hillary Clinton

After the economy crashed in 2008, Wall Street got bailed out by Main Street. And the New York Times got bailed out by Carlos Slim, one of the world's richest men.

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 Extracting Sharing Economy.

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.


Pearl said...

The fight for Bernie's political revolution is not over

Pearl said...

Amazing article, Karen. Is the information about the NYTimes benefactor known because it seems to be a most interesting report on how they prostituted their principles completely.
Is nothing sacred anymore?
I am glad I contribute nothing to the NYTimes but sneak articles via google. I wonder how your article will be received and can you get it printed in some decent journal like Truthout,Counter Punch etc. as I don't believe this is well known information and could help destroy what little reputation they have left.
If people like Krugman and Blow know about Carlos Slim I wonder how they feel about the newspaper that prints their articles. In case they don't I suggest you send your article to them. How do you find all this interesting information?
I just read a column about the l0 happiest countries in the world. First was Denmark and Canada was included in that group but the U.S. dropped down to 13, below the top ten. I wonder why.
I will send your article to Bernie if it works and hope someone passes it around.

annenigma said...

Blow said Clinton voters were less likely to be 'serial commenters who commandeer comments sections'. That struck me as rather snide. Those are his most loyal readers. Ingrate.

Kat said...

anne-- if I could request my email be sent to you your comment made me think of something funny (but personal).

Karen Garcia said...


I wrote about nothing new. Info on Carlos Slim's financial ties to the Clintons and the Times has been public for years. I simply tied a few threads together to establish the Clinton/Times/Slim/NAFTA nexus as a possible explanation for the paper's abysmal treatment of Bernie Sanders. The maxim "follow the money" is usually a pretty good explanation for the otherwise unexplainable.

And of course there doesn't have to be a specific quid pro quo for bribery and corruption to exist. The Clintons don't have to directly appeal to the Times to get what they want. With so much money at stake, constantly changing hands, it is a tacit "understanding" among all the parties that creates the Times's de facto policies. They can always use plausible deniability when confronted with their corruption. Shit happens, mistakes were made, whoever could have predicted... etc, etc, etc.

Pearl said...

Once People Feel the Bern... The Fire Will Not Go Out -

annenigma said...

If the more progressive Western states voted before the stodgy, Old World traditionalist states, Bernie would actually be ahead right now.

If the Democrats wanted a good turnout, they went about it all wrong. Who in the Western states cares much about voting when it's already wrapped up for Hillary? That's probably why the turnout has been so low already - people don't even realize she has anyone running against her. Who's Sanders? When I've had occasion to mention his name I get blank looks.

All we've heard for the past couple of years is that Hillary is the presumptive nominee, and without much exposure for Bernie, many people probably never tuned in.

I know I'm starting to tune out.

r2d2r2 said...

My comment to the NYT article about Obama's remarks to the mega-donors.

"Obama's statements to the wealthy donors, which was conveniently "leaked", and then the White House confirming it, serves two purposes for the Democratic Party establishment/ Clinton/ corporate donor machine:

1. Reinforces the establishment narrative that Hillary is inevitable, you crazy Bernie idealists need to give it up, get "pragmatic" and get with the DNC program.

2. Sends a dog whistle reassurance to Wall Street, BigPharma, BigOil, and the rest of the global plutocracy. No need to worry, we've got your backs, all your mega-donations will be honored, and we are going to push Hillary into the White House whether the "little people" like it or not.

After all, this is the guy who, when Trudeau was in town had all the wonderful promises about how we are getting tougher on climate change, then two days later released a plan to open the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico to more drilling.

Hillary and Obama, two peas in the same DNC pod. Make no mistake, this is how Hillary would govern, just like Obama has. Tell you what you want to hear, all the time selling out to the big donor oligarchs."

Btw, as of today, Friday, Hillary has 47.7% of elected delegates needed to win, Bernie has 34.6%. Bernie has the momentum and a plan for the convention. Tomorrow at our Boulder County Democratic convention there will be many demands made on the super delegates in attendance.

Meredith NYC said...

Did you know about journalist Ben Bagdikian? He just died at 96—his obits are interesting. He’d written books on the bad effects of media monopolies.

Obit clips:

“Ben H. Bagdikian, a journalist and news media critic became a celebrated voice of conscience for his profession...

He obtained the Pentagon Papers for The W. Post, bringing a suitcase to meet Daniel Ellsberg, physically delivering them to the home of editor Benjamin Bradlee.

In 1983, he wrote “The Media Monopoly,” re “the growing concentration of news outlets in the hands of a few large conglomerates. The book helped inspire a variety of watchdog groups and reform efforts.”
Later he wrote “The New Media Monopoly”.

“The worst thing that can happen to a journalist is to become a celebrity,” he said.

“Never forget,” he told his students ... “your obligation is to the people. It is not, at heart, to those who pay you, or to your editor, or to your sources, or to your friends, or to the advancement of your career. It is to the public.”

One obit includes this line (to be ‘fair and balanced’?) -- “Journalists, scholars, corporate officials and the public (all of these??) STILL DEBATE THE DRAWBACKS AND MERITS OF LIMITED MEDIA OWNERSHIP.” (!)

I wonder, what merit could there be in ‘limited’ media ownership?
For drawbacks, see Rupert Murdoch.

Der Trumpf is so convenient for the press to make the Dems and Hillary look good. Media concentration has aided this.

The Times and other media are conforming to the centrist zeitgeist. Left wing has been redefined. The rw gets more power, using the opposing party which appears to be on the side of democracy. The status quo of the money flow—always in the deep background, but rarely discussed.

Meredith NYC said...

The UN report just said Denmark is the world’s happiest country. In the debate Hillary proudly riposted to Sanders, , ‘America is not Denmark!’. Only in America, with it's uninformed voters could she get away with that. Nobody bothered to explain the real differences (including Sanders, I might add!)

The media keeps it dark that America is one of the unhappiest of the world democracies-- for the majority.
We do have the happiest elite class in the world

Kat said...

I don't think the NYT is doing anything particularly out of the ordinary. I remember the disdain they had for the idea that there were "two Americas" per the Edwards campaign.
I would just say sometimes they have some useful reporting, but for the most part to expect them to be anything more than a pro business, pro establishment paper is wishful thinking. There really was no golden age for the big national papers as far as questioning the official government line:
They did have a good article about the pro business/ anti consumer and worker turn of the SCOTUS and how the Democratic picks aren't all that much better than the ideologues of the right on the court the other day. It was buried in the paper.
On the other hand, did anyone read the article in the business section about the worldwide "pension crisis"? It seems that the Republicans will be introducing a bill to address this.
read it and weep:

Kat said...

Interesting piece about the FARC fighters in the jungles of Colombia. Here are some actual revolutionaries! It is about as evenhanded as you can expect of the NYT. I guess they can be now that they've humped for Plan Colombia enough.
Here is the Clinton role in their downfall:
shameful, shameful. Maybe she can get Sheryl Feinberg to swoop in and help the ladies of FARC make the transition to entrepreneurs.

annenigma said...

Remember the admonition to vote for Hillary, or any Democrat, because 'Supreme Court!', implying that a woman's right to choose would be protected?

It's not abortion that's the real litmus test for neoliberal Democrats. It's 'national security', aka the power of the Military-Industrial-Security Complex. That appears to be what's behind Obama's choice of yet another white man, Harvard trained lawyer Merrick Garland. The end of this article by Dan Savage is most telling.

Kat said...

Sandberg, not Feinberg. Doh!

annenigma said...

Charlie, not Dan, Savage. Duh!

annenigma said...

The Military-Industrial-Security Complex (lets just call it The Beast), is the most powerful special interest group in this country and world, not the banksters who play an essential supporting role.

The Beast has Five Eyes - essentially the British-American Empire: USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It has one silent partner which plays a key role in our elections. Do I dare speak it's name? Israel.

Any Presidential candidate who doesn't pass their sniff test (by stinking dirty, privately to them) is going nowhere. Bernie Sanders, despite being a card-carrying member of the war club, has already proven he won't play dirty. He won't even do so to win against Hillary - a truly worthy cause! That makes him a sanctimonious purist and enemy of The Beast. Bernie would also respect the laws and rules as well as our rights under the Constitution, that drag of the past that is an obstacle to abusing power. They don't care who supports gay marriage or immigration, They just want Presidents (and Supreme Court Justices) to be on the right side about issues of power. Bernie voted against the Patriot Act, which ruled him out long ago.

Donald Trump was recently given his sniff test when he spoke to AIPEC. Even if he passed and sounded like a player, he's still a wildcard, accustomed to giving orders, not taking them from the Pentagon. He might decide to do what's he's said and spread the wealth at home on infrastructure which helps contractors, small businesses, and overall employment instead of the Beast's specialized defense industries and the money hole of maintaining so many military personnel and bases. He's already spoken against the waste of expensive fighter jets nobody but defense contractors and their partners in Congress want. I doubt Trump will betray himself to support their agenda, but who knows. He's a businessman accustomed to at least checking the price tags, unlike typical politicians. He's great at sabre rattling, but that's part of the wheeling and dealing and campaigning.

Since Hillary looks iffy for winning the Presidency (unless they rig the results), the brains of the Beast might just order General David Petraeus to show up at a brokered Republican convention to save the day. They know he stinks but he stinks pretty, with all his shiny medals. He would also save them from having to do any dirty deeds later if Trump wins and won't play nice. They have a Texas size bag of those.

My bet is on the best warmonger money can buy. With the corporate media playing their essential role to power, it's a sure bet.

Neil said...

Excellent post Karen. Hillary is certainly a sell-out to the People, and a shameless supporter of special interests.

Pearl said...

Don't Be 'Absurd': Sanders Rejects Establishment Calls to Drop Revolutionary Bid -

Pearl said...

Beyond the Bern: How Progressive Movements Leap Ahead of Electoral Politics via @truthout

Pearl said...

Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Must Take a Stance on "Citizens United" via @truthout

I guess when Obama told us how hard he searched for the best possible nominee for the Supreme Court among both parties and legislative officials, he must have met with all his neocon supporters.

voice-in-wilderness said...

The dealing with Carlos Slim was peculiar from the get-go, such as the 14% interest rate on his original loan. If you want a reminder of just how sweet all this maneuvering has been for Carlos Slim, Bloomberg has a summary here:

Pearl said...

voice-in-wilderness: Thank you for the article with the financial dealings regarding Carlos Slim. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual situation and gives one a glimpse of how people with money operate in our current corrupt system. This of course unsurprisingly, includes the Clintons' money making schemes that includes their Family Foundation.

See article below.

Investigator Pearl said...

The Clinton Foundation: A cauldron of conflicts and cronyism

Lengthy but very revealing which more voters should know about.