This is an extraordinary article, not only because of what it reveals, but because it appears in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, which has been a reliable cheerleader for our billionaire mayor.
Investigative reporter Tom Robbins details how Mayor Michael Bloomberg used his billions to silence critics and to win the support of or intimidate almost every civic and cultural group.
In other times and places, people worry that big money will buy the mayor’s support. In New York City for the past dozen years, the mayor has bought the support of almost everyone who might have been a critic or might have an independent voice. One of his favorite gambits was to cut the budget of a group that is heavily dependent on city funding, then make an allegedly anonymous contribution to the same group. The media often printed long lists of these “anonymous” contributions, acknowledging that they came from the mayor and were dispersed through the Carnegie Corporation.
This strategy made all the groups he “saved” dependent on his personal largesse. He was truly the Lord of the manor.
Robbins did not discover every trick the mayor used to buy support and silence critics. He has no way of knowing which influential intellectuals and power brokers are on the Mayor’s personal payroll, because the mayor is under no obligation to disclose his private spending.
It may be years before Mayor Bloomberg finds his Robert Caro. Caro writes in-depth biographies of famous people. In time, it will happen, and we will learn how Michael Bloomberg employed his vast fortune to win support, to intimidate once-independent critics, and to buy off activists from various communities.
Until then, Tom Robbins has pulled back the curtain in Oz. There is no magic; just a whole lot of money. Like, $27 billion.