Have you ever wondered why Bloomberg is perpetually portrayed as an uber-popular mayor, despite consistent polls to the contrary, and despite barely winning reelection after grossly outspending his little-known opponent? Have you ever wondered how Bloomberg could be glowingly billed as a moderate liberty-loving hero even as he has trampled civil liberties and freedom in ways that would make a banana republic’s dictator blush? Have you ever wondered why the mayor of New York is a ubiquitous guest on most major news programs, even though he is but the mayor of one city?
All of that has to do with fear and desire. Simply put, there’s a fear among many in the media that Bloomberg may one day buy out their employer, and that if they don’t treat him well, they’ll be out of a job. Likewise, there’s a desire among many to get a high-paying job from Bloomberg when that buyout moment happens, or to get a fat paycheck at one of the outlets he uses to convert has-been pundits and politicos into his loyal ideological spokespeople.
Fueling rumors of Bloomberg’s impending purchases, then, simply stokes that fear and desire — which consequently expands Bloomberg’s overall influence over the media. Hence, a wildly unpopular authoritarian is typically depicted as America’s beloved “Freedom Mayor,” replete with top bookings on major shows to promote his supposed benevolence. Hence, Bloomberg-ism — read: genuflection to Wall Street, deification of the super-rich and rejection of basic civil liberties — becomes the unquestioned ideological position of many major news outlets.