New York Times Can’t See Past Miriam Adelson’s Israeliness
A front-page New York Times news article, under the headline, “They Spent $55 Million To Tighten G.O.P.’s Grip,” describes Sheldon and Miriam Adelson as “the biggest spenders on federal elections in all of American politics, according to publicly available campaign finance data.”
That’s misleading. Not mentioned in the front-page Times article is Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and a possible 2020 candidate for president himself. Axios reported, “Michael Bloomberg’s spending on House races in the midterms has passed the $80 million he promised for the cycle and is heading toward $100 million as he sees an increasing chance for Democrats to win control.”
The election cycle isn’t over yet, but if Bloomberg spends $100 million and the Adelsons spend $55 million, readers might reasonably wonder why Times editors judge the Adelsons’ spending, but not Bloomberg’s, worthy of a front-page Times article. A hint of a possible answer comes in the Times reference to Adelson’s wife: “Dr. Adelson, who is Israeli.” Dr. Adelson is also an American, which is how she is legally allowed to donate to American political candidates. The Times, alas, doesn’t seem to be able to see past the “Israeli” part. (The Times CEO, Mark Thompson, is British, and its largest economic owner, Carlos Slim, is Mexican, which makes Dr. Adelson more American than either one of those two, if the Times is going to start throwing around these national origin identifiers.)
Instead, the Times article tries to make it seem like the Adelsons are buying Trump’s positions on things such as the Jerusalem embassy and the Iran nuclear deal in a kind of quid pro quo, using phrases like “return on investment” and “deliver major, long-sought policy victories for conservative Jews like the Adelsons.” The Times says, “More than a dozen people who know the Adelsons professionally or personally, some of whom are also friendly with Mr. Trump, said in interviews that the durability of Mr. Adelson’s relationship with the president hinges not on any personal affinity between the two, but on a mutual appreciation for something both men have built their careers on: the transaction.”
Maybe, if the Democrats retake the House, the Times will write front-page articles in this same tone about Speaker Pelosi pushing gun control, abortion rights, and strict environmental regulations. This story might describe such actions as Bloomberg getting a “return on investment” for his political spending. We may have a chance to see. Until and unless that happens, though, it sure looks like the Times is putting political activity by some donors under a microscope that that the newspaper doesn’t apply to other donors.
The Adelsons own The Las Vegas Review-Journal, a newspaper that I have written for in the past.
Ira Stoll is the former managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. More of his media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.