Behind the Scenes, Billionaires’ Growing Control of News

One of these days more rich conservatives will realize that this is one of the most important battlefields in the information war (see links below for more). Here is Jim Rutenberg writing at the New York Times:

At first blush, the secret support that the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel provided for Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker is a salacious yarn about money, power, gossip and revenge.

But it is also about something more important: an aggressive bid by the very wealthy to control the American news media at a time when it is in a financially weakened state, struggling to maintain its footing on the electronic frontier’s unstable terrain.

Speaking with Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times on Wednesday, Mr. Thiel said he had financed the Hogan lawsuit — which resulted in a $140 million verdict against Gawker — not only because Gawker Media wrote in 2007, against his wishes, that he was gay, but also because he had determined the gossip site had too often operated with “no connection to the public interest.”

His verdict rendered, Mr. Thiel had the resources to swap his judge’s gavel for an executioner’s sword. Should the $140 million verdict stand up to appeal, Gawker Media will most likely cease to exist as we know it. And if too much of Gawker survives, Mr. Thiel, with an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion, indicates he will keep financing anti-Gawker lawsuits to kill off whatever is left.

Mr. Thiel’s campaign is in keeping with the pledge his favored candidate for president, Donald J. Trump, made to ease barriers to lawsuits against journalists. But it is actually the flip side of the media realm’s new coin. Many of his fellow billionaires have gained control of news organizations by buying them or starting them.

Read more: New York Times

For more on this general topic, follow these links:

Liberal Wealthy Politically Smarter Than Conservative Wealthy

More Evidence: Liberal Wealthy Politically Smarter Than Conservative Wealthy

Many Conservative and Libertarian Wealthy Slow to Learn

Conservative and Libertarian Wealthy Have Much to Learn Politically

Conservative and Libertarian Wealthy Should Only Fund Fighters

Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor: We’re Not There Yet

Image credit: Cartoon by A.F. Branco.