Charles Pierce, the resident radical-left political pundit at Esquire magazine — that intellectual powerhouse best known for its Sexiest Woman Alive award — is lamenting the role of Steve Bannon in electing President Trump, as well as Trump financial backers "Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the reactionary New York gozillionnaires."
Pierce wanted everyone to read about a lawsuit filed in May (news that's almost half a year old is "breaking" if the targets are conservatives) by a former Bob Mercer employee named David Magerman who, reportedly against company policy, felt compelled to tell The Wall Street Journal that his boss had "contempt for the social safety net" and wanted "government be shrunk down to the size of a pinhead." (Horrors!) In his lawsuit, Magerman upped the ante and claimed that Mercer held racist views.
Full disclosure: The Mercers are not just supporters; they are friends. That kind of repugnant slur is undeserving of a response and will get none here.
Magerman is irrelevant. That lawsuit being described as "news" is silly. So, why the story? It's all about "gozillionaires."
Left-wingers in the media believe gozillionaires are a malignant force in politics — unless they are on the "right side of history." The Mercers get an amazing amount of media ink — most of it predictably negative — because they aren't. They are conservatives. Worse, they are rich conservatives. Their wealth is dangerous. They are dangerous. They must be exposed!
But check out the Forbes list of top billionaires. At the top of the pile sits Bill Gates, a liberal. Next in line is Warren Buffett, who's also a liberal. He's followed by Jeff Bezos, another liberal. No. 5 is uber-liberal Mark Zuckerberg. No. 10 is Michael Bloomberg, another leftist. George Soros, a radical leftist if ever there was one, registers at No. 30. In fact, there are liberals all over the Forbes World's Billionaires list.
You won't find the Mercers in the top 1,000.
Quick: When was the last time — or when was there ever a time — you remember a media story that focused on the controversial views of Gates, Buffett, Bezos, Zuckerberg, Bloomberg or Soros?
It's quite the opposite. A few months ago, the very same Esquire writer mocked the Trump people for objecting to liberal gozillionaires. According to Pierce, conservatives thought anti-Trump protesters in Washington, D.C., were "some sort of a plot concocted by George Soros." To object to political activity by wealthy people on the left is to dabble in cockamamie conspiracy theories, this being just another one of them.
Except it was true. The Media Research Center documented that Soros and his Open Society Foundations had contributed $246 million between 2010 and 2014 to 100 of the 544 groups listed as partners of the Women's March on Washington the day after the inauguration. Did the liberal media care? Were they alarmed? They yawned. Soros is on the "right side of history."
These self-righteous attacks on the Mercers are nothing new. Before Bob and Rebekah Mercer, there were David and Charles Koch. And before them, there was Richard Mellon Scaife, dubbed the "godfather of the vast right-wing conspiracy" by some liberals. Twenty years ago, Time magazine's list of the 25 most influential people identified Scaife as a "conservative agitator" who controlled foundations that help subsidize "rabidly anti-Clinton magazines." Pages later, Time described Soros as a "philanthropist" with an "iconoclastic critique of free-market capitalism."
Liberal gozillionaires are hailed as Time's "Persons of the Year" (Bill and Melinda Gates) or get a Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Obama (Buffett). It doesn't hurt that liberal journalists can often thank these billionaires for jobs — or be grateful that their colleagues are employed by them. Buffett, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg and Bezos are all in the left-wing media business now.
The same trend applies to leftist foundations like the Ford Foundation (with a $12 billion endowment), The Pew Charitable Trusts ($5 billion-plus endowment) and the Rockefeller Foundation ($4 billion-plus endowment). Toss in the Carnegie Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and so many more. Is there controversy? Anywhere? Conservatives have nothing to match any of them.
As we type these words, it has just been announced that Soros has transferred a cool $18 billion to his radical Open Society Foundations in recent years, making it instantly the second largest foundation in the world after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
But it's still all about the Mercers.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.