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Today in the New Gilded Age

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US gaming tycoon Sheldon Adelson gesture

Sheldon Adelson buys newspaper to plant fake stories about a judge with the temerity to try to enforce the law against Sheldon Adelson.

I also like this detail about the fake journalist created by Adelson’s lackey to plant the story:

Edward Clarkin holds himself out to be a reporter for the New Britain Herald, a small paper in Connecticut with a circulation of about 7500. Prior to this month, Clarkin’s only articles for the New Britain Herald were four effusive restaurant reviews published in 2011. “If A Taste of Poland is anything like Warsaw or Krakow, I’m buying an airplane ticket tomorrow,” Clarkin wrote.

Gee, I wonder if A Taste of Poland purchased advertising in “Edward Clarkin’s” newspaper? More on the sale here.

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  • c u n d gulag

    On the plus side, “Citizen Adelson” isn’t running for office himself.

    He just finds willing sycophantic sociopaths to take his money to run for office, and then doing his bidding.

    Let those chumps get germs from kissing babies and glad-handing the riff-raff.

    • Nobdy

      I am sure after watching the Donald there are plenty of billionaires who are getting ideas.

      • Hogan

        That’s just about the only new feature of the New Gilded Age. In the old days elected officials were the hired help.

        • mikeSchilling

          Never heard of Governor/Senator Leland Stanford?

          • Hogan

            He’d been active in politics before he became a robber baron, and winning the senate seat over Huntington’s handpicked candidate was apparently what caused Huntington to have him removed as president of the SP. His senate career had something of a Populist flavor. I’d call him the exception that proves the rule if I didn’t know what that expression actually means.

      • efgoldman

        I am sure after watching the Donald there are plenty of billionaires who are getting ideas.

        Not snark: I wonder how many of these old billionaires are losing/have lost competence, and are just acting on whim? I’ve got to think Adelson’s spouse/kids (if there are any) have to be, as the papers say, “viewing with alarm” as he pours money down these ratholes for no return – he can’t even get his candidates within spitting distance of a nomination.
        The Kochs, at least, on their own and through ALEC, are getting an awful lot (of evil) done at the state and local level.

        • Nobdy

          Eh when you have multiple billions what’s a few hundred million on a hobby?

          For him spending $15 million on Newt is the equivalent of my step-dad springing for a nice steak dinner for himself. Hard to begrudge.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Adelson’s main issue is pushing the Republicans to be more militantly pro Israel, pro settlement. IIRC he’s actually funded settlement construction.I don’t know what his return on investment is but you can’t say they’re moving away from that.

          I also just have a gut suspicion he thinks he’s can get the estate tax repealed, but that’s just my gut.

          • Hogan

            I’d say his main issue is keeping gambling legal and making it as unregulated as possible.

        • DrDick

          This assumes, contrary to all actual evidence, that they ever had any competence at anything other than making money.

    • Derelict

      As I once explained to a client, “It is much better to be king-maker than be king.” All of the benefits, none of the responsibility.

    • Captain Oblivious

      It’s worse than that. He’s been running vicious smear campaigns against political opponents for decades. He’s not content to simply buy the odd judge or politician.

      • Nobdy

        The man is 82 years old. You’d think at a certain point and a certain wealth level it stops being worth your time to run around getting into stupid fights. I guess not. I guess it’s what he likes to do.

        • muddy

          I’d think that at a certain point and a certain wealth level these idiots would not dye their hair orange when they are way too old to carry it off. I know not everyone can go Raygun Black, but orange is just not on in the elder.

          Orange is the new Raygun Black?

          Anyway I find it very offensive, speaking as a ginger cat.

          • Rugosa

            Back in the day, Reagan was rumored to have been dying his hair. Gerald Ford quipped, “Of course he doesn’t dye it – he’s just prematurely orange”.

    • efgoldman

      Hi gulag. Hope you had a good holiday.

      • c u n d gulag

        You too! :-)

  • Nobdy

    The thing that boggles my mind most about this affair is why anybody thought planting a hit piece on a judge from Nevada in a no-circulation paper in Connecticut would be effective.

    I understand “The Internet” and the fact that it can be linked to and promoted, but it’s so obviously fake. Small local papers just don’t do investigative journalism about far away locals. That’s what they have wire services for.

    Also shouldn’t it be “If Warsaw or Krakow are anything like A Taste of Poland I’m booking a ticket…’? The point is that the restaurant reflects well on Poland, not that Poland reflects well on the restaurant.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The thing that boggles my mind most about this affair is why anybody thought planting a hit piece on a judge from Nevada in a no-circulation paper in Connecticut would be effective.

      Indeed, although we are talking about a guy who gave $15 million to Newt Gingrich. It would be scary to think what Adelson could do if his evil was more competent.

      • efgoldman

        we are talking about a guy who gave $15 million to Newt Gingrich.

        Did he at least use the paper for a good purpose before he flushed it down the toilet?

      • muddy

        Again, anyone who chooses that hair does obviously not make good decisions.

        • efgoldman

          Again, anyone who chooses that hair does obviously not make good decisions.

          His wife is 15 years younger (b. 1946). Maybe she talked him into it.
          Or maybe not.

          • muddy

            Are her own hair choices reasonable? Is she a kind person? These would inform the answer I think.

            • twbb

              Apparently she may have been the one who pushed him into Likud-worship.

    • Murc

      The thing that boggles my mind most about this affair is why anybody thought planting a hit piece on a judge from Nevada in a no-circulation paper in Connecticut would be effective.

      They didn’t, I don’t think.

      This was Michael Schroeder trying to toady to his master. He ran the hit piece in a no-circulation paper in Connecticut not to be effective, but to demonstrate loyalty and subservience. If there’d been a higher-profile venue available, he’d have chosen that, but the New Britain Herald is what he had, so that’s what he used. “Look Mister Adelson sir, I couldn’t get it into the Review-Journal, but I got it into another paper at least! Aren’t I a good boy?”

      That’s my read on it, anyway.

    • Matt

      The thing that boggles my mind most about this affair is why anybody thought planting a hit piece on a judge from Nevada in a no-circulation paper in Connecticut would be effective.

      Rat-fuckers gonna ratfuck, yo.

      For a bunch of people who insist “GUBMINT SHOULD BE RUN LIKE A BIZNESS”, it’s remarkable how often they forget ROI to just be nasty. It’s like they don’t even know how to business properly.

  • MacK

    Will Adelson now demand that the Judge recuse herself from his case on the basis that, since she may have a defamation claim against him (direct or indirect) with pretty strong evidence of actual malice(one way past the “public figure defense”) she has a conflict of interest …..?

    • Bitter Scribe

      IANAL, but I think this might fall into the category of “invited error.” Basically, if you do something to induce prejudice against yourself, you can’t turn around and make that the basis for a claim of prejudice.

  • joe from Lowell

    I’m really starting to not like this guy.

  • This is extremely small fries as far as Adelson and newspaper shenanigans are concerned. For years now he’s published a free daily paper in Israel (as in, it employs an army of people to stand at bus stations and other public places and hand it out every morning) whose sole editorial directive is to hallow the name of Bibi Netanyahu and drag any and all of his detractors through the muck. There were even rumors that the reason Bibi called for elections earlier this year (when all the polls suggested the results would not be in his favor) was to forestall a law that would have made life difficult for Adelson’s paper (which, among other things, is killing the other, for-pay dailies).

    • Murc

      It’s precisely his mouthpiece in Israel that had me convinced this was Adelson before it was confirmed. A lot of people were going “Murdoch? Wynn?” and I was like “Murdoch wouldn’t care about keeping it a secret and Wynn has better things to do with his time. Adelson has been selling Israel’s leading propaganda rag at a crippling loss for decades. This is alllllll him.”

    • Nobdy

      People’s excitement over free things, even when they are of terrible quality, has always baffled me.

      “I got a free newspaper”
      “Okay, but it’s propaganda by a narcissistic foreigner.”
      “But it’s free!”
      “Do you want to get a real newspaper with actual news by journalists?”
      “Nope! This FREE paper full of lies and malice is all I’ll EVER need!”

      • What gets me is that everyone I’ve spoken to about it knows that it’s pro-Bibi propaganda (there’s even a pun about it that doesn’t translate into English). But still the people in my office bring it into the breakroom every day, because apparently it’s too much trouble to bring up a news site on their computer or something.

        But then, these are the same people who will wholeheartedly agree with you that Bibi is stupid, corrupt, useless, and warmongering, but will still tell you that they’re going to vote for him because the left is worse somehow. So I have no idea.

      • Mike G

        People who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. They’d rather have cheap crap than pay a bit more for something of quality.
        Like $1 for a real paper was really going to break the budget.

      • Humpty-Dumpty

        I use it to wash glass. The quality of the paper isn’t affected by what’s printed on it. Which is lucky because I have lots of windows.

  • No idea what this would mean, but Clarkin-Schroeder just bought the Block Island Times, giving him a stable of five papers, four Connecticut and one Rhode Island. He must have made the down payment from Sheldon’s tip. Also, in January 2014 he vouchsafed his own paper an interview that began

    Continuing that tradition of journalistic integrity is former Newsday executive Michael E. Schroeder, who purchased the two papers from Journal Register five years ago this week.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Can’t figure out the angle in that area.

      Indian casinos? Real estate?

      • Hogan

        Rhode Island seems especially supererogatory. You can probably buy the entire state legislature for less than the cost of a newspaper.

        • efgoldman

          You can probably buy the entire state legislature for less than the cost of a newspaper.

          Twice. But why bother? All you have to do is offer “jobs” in exchange for, or, a $75 million loan guarantee for your :::ahem::: video game company, if you’re a famous major league ballplayer.

  • AMK

    Right, because the molders of public opinion in 2015 are local newspapers. It’s like the Kochs buying a carriage horse breeder to corner the transportation market.

    Beyond this, Adelson and his ilk are traitors in open conspiracy with a foreign power who should have been hauled in by The FBI/DOJ years ago. The failure to do so is a stain on the country.

    • humanoid.panda

      First off, the American constitutional definition of freedom is not what you think it is.

      Second, were you pining to have,say, Irish politicians arrested for being IRA symphatizers, or is that only reserved for Jews?

      Third, as Abigail pointed out, there is much more evidence that Adelson is telling Israeli politicians what to do than the other way around.

  • mikeSchilling

    Hmm, a reporter with no birth records who’s named “Clark”. Do you think it could be …

    • Sev

      Orange hair something something kryptonite?

  • Bitter Scribe

    I think I would find Adelson less annoying if he had made his pile providing goods or services that actually benefited anyone. He got rich through gambling, the most parasitic legal activity on Earth.

    It’s like Rupert Murdoch riding to fortune on the breasts of his tabloids’ Page 3 girls. Guys who get rich doing skeevy things tend to be skeevy. Funny, that.

    • efgoldman

      He got rich through gambling, the most parasitic legal activity on Earth.

      Money has no morals.

    • DrDick

      Name anyone in business who ever got rich any other way. There is not honest way to become a billionaire.

  • Warren Terra

    Sheldon Adelson buys newspaper to plant fake stories about a judge with the temerity to try to enforce the law against Sheldon Adelson.

    So far as I know – which admittedly isn’t much – she hasn’t even done that yet, she’s just tried to get him to comply with the process that might eventually lead to the law being enforced against him.

    Though, she did fine his company $250K – as in, about 0.2% of what he spent buying the local paper to smear her – for failing to clear even that minimal bar.

    • DrDick

      Further proof that the MOTU are not really very smart, just ruthless. It also seems that at some point it stops being about the money and becomes all about winning, no matter what it costs.

  • “And now the Tangiers is proud to present the Sam Rothstein Show, starring Sam Rothstein!”

  • Davis

    Citizen Adelson: “I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.”

  • Malaclypse
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