News Release

Bloomberg: Buying Up Airwaves; Why Isn’t he Running as a Republican?

Ryan Grim of The Intercept noted at end of January: “Just before jumping into the race, @MikeBloomberg gave $325,000 to the DNC [Democratic National Committee], on top of the gobs he spent on ads this month. Totally normal system.” And contrary to popular belief, Bloomberg is courting high-dollar donors. He’s just directing them to give money to the DNC, instead of his campaign. This was followed by the DNC changing its debate rules to help Bloomberg. He is thus expected to take part in the NBC organized debate on Wednesday.

A picket was formed outside ABC following the last debate, organized by Accuracy2020, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy, noting: “while the DNC and corporate-media-coproduced debates have excluded serious candidates at times, they have just changed their own rules to include billionaire Bloomberg. Last night, ABC injected him into the debate. Not the words of candidates of color who have been forced out of the debates — Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker or Julián Castro — but Bloomberg.” See report on The Real News: “Activists Demand Public Control of Presidential Debates.”

ROBERT McCHESNEY, rwmcchesney at gmail.com
McChesney is research professor at the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His books include Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America and Rich Media, Poor Democracy, The Political Economy of the Media. He is also co-founder of the media reform group Free Press.

McChesney just wrote the piece “If Bloomberg Wants to Buy an Election, He Should Run as a Republican Against Trump — Not Sabotage Democrats,” which states: “Bloomberg could spend $100 million every single day on his presidential campaign between now and election day in November … and he would still have a net worth greater than $30 billion. He would remain one of the 30 richest people in the world. …

“Bloomberg may well be successful. He has already made media corporations hugely profitable by flooding the airwaves with his expensive and slick advertising — he has shown something corporate America knows well: carpet-bombing advertisements works if you can afford it — and this is just the beginning. … He has a large chunk of the political class on his payroll, with many more to come. He will accordingly get terrific mainstream press coverage, the type any other candidate would like, and Bernie Sanders can’t even begin to imagine.”

McChesney added that Bloomberg “could have done everything possible to expose Trump and to locate and encourage anti-Trump Republicans. He could have supported primary challengers on the Republican side to defeat Trump’s allies and enablers. He could have built up a parallel party apparatus employing thousands of Republican operatives at big salaries. He probably would have lost, but you never know for sure until you try. Bloomberg could outspend Trump 20 to 1. He would have been able to force public attention to this issue, and keep it there. He might have made Trump completely crack up. At any rate, he would have had an enormous impact that might have helped to slow and begin to reverse the Trumpian drift.”