Why Mainstream Media Represents the View of Billionaires … Instead of Average Americans

We noted yesterday that the Washington Post is owned by one of the world’s richest guys, worth $72.8 billion  … and who may soon become THE world’s richest.

And you probably won’t hear it from the New York Times, but the largest shareholder of the Times  is the sixth wealthiest guy … worth $54.5 billion.   He used to be THE richest person, but he’s slipped a little in the rankings.

It’s not just the Post and the Times …

Forbes reported last year:

Billionaires have long exerted influence on the news simply by owning U.S. media outlets.

Some billionaires, like Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg are longtime media moguls who made their fortunes in the news business. Others, like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, bought publications as a side investment after building a substantial fortune in another industry. Billionaires own part or all of several of America’s influential national newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, in addition to magazines, local papers and online publications.

Several other billionaires, including Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, own or control cable TV networks that are powerful but not primarily news focused.

Here’s a look at some of the billionaires who own news media in the United States:

Michael Bloomberg – Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Media

Michael Bloomberg, the richest billionaire in the media business, returned to his eponymous media company in September 2014, eight months after stepping down as mayor of New York City. One notable sign of his influence on the publication: Michael Bloomberg doesn’t appear on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. FORBES pegs his net worth at $45.7 billion. Bloomberg cofounded his financial data company in 1981 with Charles Zegar and Thomas Secunda, both of whom are now billionaires as well thanks to their minority equity stakes in Bloomberg LP. The company expanded into business news coverage and has more than 2,000 reporters around the world. In 2009, Bloomberg LP bought Business Week magazine from McGraw Hill for a reported $5 million plus assumption of debt.

Rupert Murdoch – News Corp

Rupert Murdoch, former CEO of 21st Century Fox , the parent of powerhouse cable TV channel Fox News, may well be the world’s most powerful media tycoon. He is executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox with his son Lachlan and is also chairman of News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal and other publications. Altogether, his family controls 120 newspapers across five countries. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal also owns 1e of News Corp, after cutting down his holdings from 6% in early 2015.

Donald and Samuel “Si” Newhouse – Advance Publications

Donald Newhouse and his brother Samuel “Si” Newhouse inherited Advance Publications, a privately-held media company that controls a plethora of newspapers, magazine, cable TV and entertainment assets, from their father. Advance owns newspapers in 25 cities and towns across America and is the country’s largest privately-held newspaper chain. Conde Nast, a unit of Advance Publications, publishes magazines including Wired, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Vogue. Si stepped down as chairman of Conde Nast in 2015.

Cox Family – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cox Enterprises , owned by the billionaire Cox family, counts The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a number of other daily papers among its many media investments. James Cox, the company founder and grandfather of current chairman Jim Kennedy, bought his first newspaper, the Dayton Ohio Evening News, in 1898. The Cox Media Group Division today owns the Journal-Constitution and six other daily newspapers, more than a dozen non-daily publications, 14 broadcast television stations, one local cable channel and 59 radio stations.


John Henry – The Boston Globe

Billionaire Red Sox owner John Henry purchased the Boston Globe in October 2013 for $70 million. Henry agreed to purchase the Globe just days after Bezos acquired the Washington Post. The Globe was previously owned by the New York Times for twenty years. At the time of his purchase, Henry said he didn’t plan to influence the paper’s sports coverage.

Sheldon Adelson – The Las Vegas Review-Journal

In December 2014, Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson secretly bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper’s  own reporting outed the billionaire buyer, who reportedly arranged the $140 million deal through his son-in-law. Since then, there have been reports of Adelson influencing coverage of himself at a newspaper that in the past was often critical of the billionaire.

Joe Mansueto – Inc. and Fast Company magazines

Morningstar CEO Joe Mansueto made his $2.3 billion fortune at the investment and research firm he founded in 1984. One month after taking Morningstar public in 2005, Mansueto bought Inc. and Fast Company magazine from G&J USA.  In a statement at the time, he wrote, “I wasn’t looking to buy a magazine. Or two, for that matter….I bought them because I’m passionate about their missions. Their past, present, and future contributions.”

Mortimer Zuckerman – US News & World Report, New York Daily News

Real estate billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman is the owner of both US News & World Report and the New York Daily News. Zuckerman serves as chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report, which he bought in 1984. In the years since, US News & World Report has made a name for itself with its lucrative rankings, including Best Colleges, Best Graduate School and Best Hospitals lists. Zuckerman bought the Daily News out of bankruptcy in 1993 and unsuccessfully tried to sell the tabloid newspaper for six months in 2015.

Barbey family – Village Voice

In October 2015, investor Peter Barbey bought the Village Voice, a New York City alternative weekly, through his investment company Black Walnut Holdings LLC for an undisclosed price. Barbey is a member of the billionaire Barbey family, which made its fortune in textiles and manufacturing. In 1989, John Barbey started the Reading Globe and Mitten Manufacturing Company in Pennsylvania. His son J.E. Barbey took the company, which was then known as Vanity Fair Silk Mills, public in 1951 and the family still owns nearly 20% of the company. The family has also owned a local Pennsylvania paper, The Reading Eagle, for generations.

Stanley Hubbard – Hubbard Broadcasting

Media mogul Stanley Hubbard is CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, which has 13 TV stations, including a number of ABC and NBC news affiliates in the Midwest, and 48 radio stations. In August, Hubbard bought a stake in PodcastOne, a one-stop shop app for podcasts, through Hubbard Broadcasting. Media runs in Hubbard’s family; his father started Minnesota’s first commercial TV station in 1923.

Patrick Soon-Shiong – Tribune Publishing Co.

On May 23, Tribune Publishing Co. announced that L.A. doctor and pharmaceutical billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital was investing $70.5 million into the media company, making Soon-Shiong the second-largest shareholder. He is now the vice chairman of the media company, which owns papers like The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune.  In an interview with CNBC, Soon-Shiong described his investment as an “opportunity to actually transform this newspaper world into this next generation.” In 2014, Tribune Publishing Co. was spun out of Tribune Company , which changed its name to Tribune Media Co. Tribune Co. had previously been owned by billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell, who took control of Tribune Co. in 2007. Less than a year later, the company went bankrupt. Four years later, Tribune Co. emerged from bankruptcy after being bought by Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co and JPMorgan Chase.


Warren Buffett – regional daily papers

Warren Buffett, as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has invested in a number of small newspapers and owns about 70 dailies today. In 2012, Berkshire Hathaway acquired 63 daily newspapers and weeklies in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama from Media General for $142 million.

Viktor Vekselberg – Gawker

Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg’s investment arm, Columbus Nova Technology Partners, bought a minority stake in Gawker in January 2016 for an undisclosed amount. The online media company took outside funding for the first time in anticipation of legal fees incurred by a lawsuit brought by wrestler Hulk Hogan, according to a leaked memo from Gawker founder Nick Denton. Hogan sued Gawker after it published a sex tape. In March a jury awarded Hogan $140 million in damages. Gawker aims to appeal the ruling.

Even the New York Times notes:

[There is] 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.


Billionaires do not become billionaires by being passive about their own interests. In other instances, once wealthy individuals are involved, those interests can appear to take over.


And long before Mr. Murdoch, there was one William Randolph Hearst, who defined what it meant to be a media mogul.

Noam Chomsky points out that big status quo-loving corporations own the media, cater to other big status quo-loving advertisers, and filter out stories which question the status quoExtreme media consolidation has made the problem worse than ever before. And see this.

Thing have only gotten worse since this chart was prepared in 2004:


And Matt Stoller points out that monopolization is the problem behind “fake news”.

Is it any wonder that the mainstream corporate media reflects the views of the oligarchs, and not average Americans?

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  • Zartan

    You have 7-Billion people being ruled by a fraction of 1-million people, so who cares? Millions, perhaps, BILLIONS, die in Poverty, Wars and Neglect because nobody will raise their fists to those in governments(s).

    Short of a “Mega Disaster” ( Nature must clean up) nothing is going to change “anything,” and it will only get worse. I can only say, in prayer, Dear Lord, Please Re-designate my origin, because I would rather be an Insect than have any relation to mankind.

    I feel sorry for you, Dear Lord.

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  • artguerrilla

    1. much like the intertwined issue of capitalist-imperialism, there is no ‘mistake’, there are no ‘problems’, there is nothing to ‘fix’, everything is working just fine…
    ….if you are a one percenter ! ! !
    2. since The System is PURPOSEFULLY and OPENLY set up for money to control it (both the gummint and media), then what are y’all bitching about ? ? ? Empire is working Perfectly ! ! !
    money/power is our most important ‘virtue’, and therefore the wants/needs/lives of mere human beans is meaningless in such a system, as night follows day, that will ALWAYS be the end result of such a system… simply obvious to those who refuse to wear Empire’s rosy glasses…
    when our highest aspiration is profit uber alles, who is surprised worthless 99 percenters are shit on ? ? ?
    how can it operate any other way ? ? ?

    • beard681

      Without bailouts, central bank currency manipulations, falsification of rates and markets, capitalism would work the way it is supposed to. The 1% can’t make any money if the other 99% doesn’t have money to spend. It is undeniable that without the bailouts, all the crony capitalist enterprises like Goldman Sachs would have ended up on a slab next to Lehman Brothers back in 2008.

  • ICFubar

    Makes one wonder how an alt media broadsheet would sell? Of course such an enterprise would have to be impeccably funded. Then perhaps some cohesion of the people against the plutocrats would quickly develop and I’d bet the advertisers would do well.

  • Carl_Herman

    Great documentation, GW; thank you. An origin to this condition is J.P. Morgan’s apparent purchase of 25 leading US publications’ editorial boards in 1917: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/01/1917-j-p-morgan-bought-us-corporate-media-to-be-1s-lying-sacks-of-spin.html


    “Congressman Oscar Callaway lost his Congressional election for opposing US entry into WW 1. Before he left office, he demanded investigation into JP Morgan & Co for purchasing control over America’s leading 25 newspapers in order to propagandize US public opinion in favor of his corporate and banking interests, including profits from US participation in the war. Mr. Callaway alleged he had the evidence to prove Morgan associates were working as editors to select and edit articles, with the press receiving monthly payments for their allegiance to Morgan.

    One of the leading papers, The New York Times, printed the story of Congressman Callaway’s call for investigation from Washington, D.C., but the editor chose a curious obfuscating headline:”

    • mark

      thanks very important insights

  • Disqus-helpsGOVTbreaklaws&kill

    Monsanto..the news is what we say it is

  • seconnecticut

    That’s why we have a government that is not responsive to the people.
    Polls show what people would like:
    Expand background checks for gun purchases (92%)

    Americans who believe it is important for the US to maintain an active role in the UN (88%)

    Support Net Neutrality (80%)
    Allow Government to Negotiate Drug Prices (79%)

    Give Students the Same Low Interest Rates as Big Banks (78%)

    Universal Pre-Kindergarten (77%)

    Fair Trade that Protect Workers, the Environment, and Jobs (75%)

    End Tax Loopholes for Corporations that Ship Jobs Overseas (74%)

    End Gerrymandering (73%)

    Let Homeowners Pay Down Mortgage With 401k (72%)

    Debt-Free College at All Public Universities (Message A) (71%)

    Infrastructure Jobs Program — $400 Billion / Year (71%)

    Require NSA to Get Warrants (71%)

    Disclose Corporate Spending on Politics/Lobbying (71%)

    Medicare Buy-In for All (71%)

    Close Offshore Corporate Tax Loopholes (70%)

    Believe in climate change (70%)
    Green New Deal — Millions Of Clean-Energy Jobs (70%)

    Full Employment Act (70%)

    Expand Social Security Benefits (70%)

    • Jonathan Mailer

      And of course that whole socialist agenda is why pure democracy (government by the stupid) is a very bad idea. LOL: “allow government to negotiate drug prices.” Why not get rid of the government-protected Big Pharma cartel that’s gouging us?

    • ? Billionaire Media always pushed for more government.

      Tell imperialcapital leave us alone!

      Make peace not war!

    • Capn_Mike

      In other words, socialist slavery? Oh boy, give me the billionaires!

    • beard681

      LOL. A laundry List of giveaways, vague nanny-state protections and impossibilities. (End Gerrymandering? Replace it with what?) I notice there isn’t anything on immigration on the list. How about tax credits or vouchers to get the universal Pre-K?

      Require NSA to get warrants? Without the NSA spying on the Trump campaign for Obama, where would the DNC’s Russia-gate narrative be?

  • Jed Grover

    Recall when monopolization use to be illegal but that’s okay they all self regulate ….. right? I recently claimed a plot of land on Mars and its For Sale. Now where can a man find an ounce of truth around here in Rogue USA, Inc. HQ for the Global mafia Bilderberg style as they continue to extort us of tax dollars … for what? Our military is fighting the wrong enemy. Thanks for enlightening WB.

  • Mr. Blair M. Phillips

    1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LVsiP0s33A
    2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3wyaEe9vE
    3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWJIod5Z4Rg
    If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck and walks like a duck…it’s probably a duck.

    Mr. Blair M. Phillips
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Retired Autoworker

  • L Garou

    I don’t begrudge the dirty rats their filthy billions, I begrudge their subversion and sedition.
    The M$M is nothing more than a traitorous Fifth Column (poorly) disguised as the Fourth Estat..
    On down the road, when their trials begin, their very own words will convict them..

  • Michael Ponzani

    I like the phrase, “can appear to take over.” The special interests can give the APPEARANCE

    of taking over, or Show Up to take over.

  • abinico

    Why? It’s capitalism.

  • DAS

    All these bastards care about is keeping their riches and get even more wealth. Influencing public opinion and buying politicians are the means of doing that.