Tuesday, February 10, 2004

John Kerry In The Arms Of Big Media

Well, I must say I'm a little taken aback this morning. Though I'm a fan of John Kerry, I'm disturbed by this latest article out of the Guardian.
Fresh from his latest win in Maine, the favourite to challenge George Bush for the US presidency has secured the financial support of some of the most powerful media moguls in the world.

As John Kerry's campaign to secure the Democrat nomination - and with it a crack at the White House - continues to gather pace, it has emerged that it is being bankrolled by key executives from News Corporation, MTV-owner Viacom and Sony.

Wow. Before rushing to judgement on this, it would be wise to see the history of these kinds of things, and John Kerry's backing by these companies, but it sure seems to fit into our ongoing theories about Big Media going all out to prevent Howard Dean from getting the nomination.

Unsurprisingly, the donation from News Corp's boardroom came not from chairman Rupert Murdoch, a committed Republican, but from the company's chief operating officer, Peter Chernin.

Mr Chernin, one of Mr Murdoch's most trusted lieutenants, is among several media chiefs who have pledged to raise between $50,000 and $100,000 to support the Vietnam war veteran's campaign for the White House.

Others who have pledged to raise more than $50,000 include the Viacom chief executive, Sumner Redstone, and Sony chairman Howard Stringer, whose name has recently been linked with the vacant chairmanships at ITV and the BBC.

Most of the money raised from these contributors will have to be raised through business associates, relatives and friends as individuals can only give a total of $4,000 each to presidential candidates - $2,000 during the primaries and another $2,000 during a general election.

This certainly deserves more scrutiny. Howard Dean declared that he was going to break up media conglomerates, and swiftly became characterized in the media as a "loose cannon", "angry", and "unelectable". This should have been occasion for the Democratic Party to stand up for its own, and for the benefit of all its candidates, since to condone this behavior is to ignore how it has played negatively against you, and may again in the near future. If not speaking out against this treatment now, please don't bother me with any complaints should it come to you, or to your candidate.

Instead, it seems John Kerry is collecting big money from Big Media, a special interest, yet Kerry claims to be the worst enemy of "special interests", even though he's collected more money than any other senator from special interest lobbyists in the past several years. Odd.