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January 19, 2009

Would-Be Savior May Step In To Bail Out the NYT; Of Course, the NYT Called Him a Robber-Baron Thief 18 Months Ago

If this deal goes through, I don't think they'll be calling him a robber-baron again.

The NYT's editorial on Mexican media magnate/monopolist thief Carlos Slim Helu (called "Mr. Slim" instead of "Mr. Helu;"):

Mr. Slim is richer even than the robber barons of the gilded age…. It takes about nine of the captains of industry and finance of the 19th and early 20th Centuries — [John D.] Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John J. Astor, Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Stewart, Frederick Weyerhaeuser, Jay Gould and Marshall Field — to replicate the footprint that Mr. Slim has left on Mexico.

But the momentous scale is not the most galling aspect of Mr. Slim’s riches. There’s the issue of theft.

Like many a robber baron — or Russian oligarch, or Enron executive — Mr. Slim calls to mind the words of Honoré de Balzac: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.” Mr. Slim’s sin, if not technically criminal, is like that of Rockefeller, the sin of the monopolist.

Slim is wealthy enough to bail out the NYT precisely because he enjoys the near-monopoly they fret about. Notice, however, they're not unwilling to accept the money of a monopolist thief. They can rail about how horrible this ill-gotten loot is, but when push comes to shove, they want some of it themselves.


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posted by Ace at 01:49 PM

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