During the 2016 election both during the primaries and general election, Donald Trump called any mainstream media outlet at will and was sure to get on the air. Why is that? Money?
According to the New York Times, the mainstream media gave Donald Trump over $2 billion of free advertising. An what is the result? President Trump.
Robert Reich points out, sadly, that the same thing is happening with former Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz.
America is the only place in the world where any citizen over the age of 35 can run for president. No experience in government necessary. No support from a political party necessary. You don’t even have to have any ideas or policy proposals.
Take Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks whose most notable achievement to date has been the Mocha Frappucinno.
Last Tuesday, CNN made Schultz a Serious Presidential Candidate by giving him an hour-long “town hall” in which he fielded questions from an audience.
Why did CNN do this? Because Schultz is worth over $3.6 billion.
In today’s America, someone with this much money can buy so much advertising and self-promotion that he automatically becomes a SPC just by virtue of wanting the job and having the capacity to self-finance a campaign.
Ironically, CNN and other major media are giving Schultz free media now because he can afford an almost infinite amount of paid media later.
Leslie Moonves can appreciate a Donald Trump candidacy. Not that the CBS executive chairman and CEO might vote for the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he likes the ad money Trump and his competitors are bringing to the network.
"It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," he said of the presidential race. Moonves called the campaign for president a "circus" full of "bomb throwing," and he hopes it continues. "Most of the ads are not about issues. They're sort of like the debates," he said.
"Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? … The money's rolling in and this is fun," he said. "I've never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going," said Moonves. "Donald's place in this election is a good thing," he said Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.
"There's a lot of money in the marketplace," the exec said of political advertising so far this presidential season. Beyond politics, Moonves said ad sales in general are strong because there's not a lot of places beyond The Big Bang Theory where advertisers can reach 20 million people all at once.
Robert Reich post reminds us that Howard Schultz kept $1.9 billion offshore to insulate it from U.S. taxes that could have been spent in America to aid the poor. Ironically, he uses Starbucks as a vehicle to give a semblance of social responsibility while his lobbyist nudge politicians for more giveaways.
Billionaires Howard Schultz, Donald Trump, and every billionaire to some extent share more in common than most think. Their money causes similar entitled behavior. As responsible citizens who believe in an egalitarian society, we must break through the attachment to celebrities. It starts by being aware of our pathology and first making a change from within and then from without.