David Carr of the New York Times has covered media moguls Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg extensively, and observes, “These are extremely successful businessmen who spend many hours on the noneconomic parts of their businesses. They do it for two reasons: Because they can, and because it’s fun.”
As heads of the most powerful media houses, their words tend to carry weight, and more than just donation dollars. Mitt Romney blinked at the idea of the third presidential run when Australian-born Rupert Murdoch, who has a fascination with American politics that more than borders on the obsessive, declared Romney would be a “terrible candidate” and implied Romney’s unsuccessful 2012 run was a “calamity.” As owner of the Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch’s witholding his blessing might have made Romney feel a bit like Esau to Murdoch’s Isaac, and one wonders (if one has to wonder), or rather, pretends to wonder, who is the Jacob holding the birthright of a potential nomination and Murdoch’s blessing.
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Bloomberg has gotten his hands all over politics, after having served as mayor of New York City. He returns to his namesake media creation, and continues to donate hugely to political campaigns. There was chatter that he might buy the New York Times, if indeed it is for sale, but if not, Bloomberg news service still moves markets and is an opinion maker. Bloomberg has flitted between parties, and sides with as many Democratic causes, like gun control as Republican issues.
Carr points out rightly that even as these two seek to extend their media empire, their ultimate goal is not to increase their wealth, but to expand their influence.