Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

Where Are All the U.S. Oligarchs With Links to Washington?

By       Message Jeff Cohen       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Well Said 3   Supported 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 4/11/18

Author 1530
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

From Truthdig

From commons.wikimedia.org: Brian Roberts Comcast CEO {MID-278480}
Brian Roberts Comcast CEO
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org))
  Permission   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

TV news shows are good at getting viewers riled up. Day and night, I hear the anchors on CNN and MSNBC getting us riled up about the schemes of this or that "Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin." I've heard that phrase incessantly in recent weeks.

And plenty of others have heard the "Russian oligarch" phrase. Merriam-Webster.com reported that "oligarch" was one of its most searched-for words on April 5 "following reports that Robert Mueller had questioned Russian businessmen to whom this descriptor applies."

But here's a phrase I haven't heard from any of the purportedly progressive hosts on MSNBC: "A U.S. oligarch with links to Washington."

- Advertisement -

That avoidance is revealing when one considers an indisputable fact: U.S. oligarchs have done far more to undermine U.S. democracy than any Russian.

Take, for example, Brian L. Roberts -- who certainly fits the dictionary definition of "oligarch" as "one of a small group of powerful people who control a country or an industry." As chair and CEO of Comcast, Roberts runs the company his dad founded and has sole voting rights over one-third of the corporation's stock. His annual compensation last year of $28.6 million was less than what 14 other U.S. oligarchs -- I mean, CEOs -- "earned." His net worth is estimated to be over $1.65 billion.

Does this oligarch have "links to Washington"? In one recent year, Comcast devoted nearly $19 million to lobbying, second only to military-industrial firm Northrop Grumman. Last year, Comcast spent more than $15 million. And oligarch Roberts has been a top D.C. power player for decades, having gotten his way with one president after another -- from President Clinton's deregulatory, anti-consumer Telecommunications Act of 1996 to President Trump's current effort to end net neutrality on behalf of Comcast and other giant Internet providers.

- Advertisement -

Clinton's pro-conglomeration Telcom Act and Trump's net neutrality assault have both undermined U.S. democracy. No Russian had a hand in it. (You may have heard that the Trump-propagandist Sinclair Broadcast Group will soon own more than 200 local TV stations; until the Telcom Act, a company could legally own no more than 12.)

You've got to hand it to U.S. oligarchs. So many of them stay on top no matter which party runs Washington. They sure have greater staying power than Russian oligarchs -- who, we're constantly told, end up dead or in prison if they fall out of favor with President Putin.

Roberts certainly has the lifestyle of an oligarch. He maintains a seasonal dacha -- I mean, second home -- in Martha's Vineyard where he keeps his custom-built Sparkman & Stephens sloops, and where he has hosted President Obama, including at an A-list cocktail party thrown for Obama in August 2013. And Roberts reportedly just built a sprawling mansion in North Palm Beach, not far from Trump's Mar-a-lago.

But his primary residence is in Philadelphia. Obama has been a regular presence at Comcast mansions there as well. In 2013, speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser in the Philadelphia home of Roberts' top lobbyist, President Obama commented: "I have been here so much, the only thing I haven't done in this house is have Seder dinner."

While Russian oligarchs are often passionate game-hunters, Roberts is an avid golfer, carrying an impressive 8 handicap. Obama has famously golfed with him "on the lush fairways of the Vineyard Golf Club."

There's one last factoid I need to add about Roberts. As Comcast's CEO, he is the ultimate boss of those allegedly progressive hosts on MSNBC. Which may help to explain their silence about U.S. oligarchs, since it would be difficult to bring up the topic without mentioning their boss.

- Advertisement -

I really shouldn't single out Roberts. Nor the MSNBC hosts he employs. Because the problem goes way beyond this particular oligarch and that particular corporate news outlet.

Roberts is just one of dozens of powerful U.S. oligarchs. They compose a "U.S. ruling class" and preside over a "corporate state" -- a couple more phrases one virtually never hears in mainstream U.S. media. One reason these oligarchs get little critical coverage and no systemic scrutiny is because -- as in Russia -- oligarchs are owners or major sponsors of mainstream media.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 3   Well Said 3   Supported 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Jeff Cohen was director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he was an associate professor of journalism. He founded the progressive media watch group FAIR.org in 1986.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Mystique of “Free-Market Guy” Obama

Snowden Coverage: If U.S. Mass Media Were State-Controlled, Would They Look Any Different?

RootsAction.org: New Independent Progressive Group

Stepford Republicans: All Caught on Tape!

Obama is NOT "Caving" to Corporate Interests

How Do You Know When President Obama is Lying? MSNBC Won't Tell You