The Times’ and the Clintons’ Converging Conflicts of Interest
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The apparent conflicts of interest that the various Clinton family initiatives create constitute a shameful example of media complicity with the left and the Democratic Party. Accuracy in Media has written time and again about the incestuous relationships forged between the Clintons and the media. For example, George Stephanopoulos recently interrogated the author of a book critical of the Clinton’s pay-for-play foundation activities without revealing to his viewers, or his employer, that he had donated to the Clinton Foundation and participated in some of their events.
As we have documented, many media corporations also donate to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Yes, the Clintons do some good work through their various projects, but the Clinton Foundation itself spent only 9.9 percent of its funds on direct charitable grants between 2011 and 2013, according to The Federalist. What purposes, therefore, do the other parts of its spending support, besides their five-star lifestyle?
The latest revelations to turn up in this mutual backscratching world of the Democrat-Media Complex was reported by The Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman, who happens to be a former AIM intern.
“A little-known private foundation controlled by Bill and Hillary Clinton donated $100,000 to the New York Times’ charitable fund in 2008, the same year the newspaper’s editorial page endorsed Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, according to tax documents reviewed” by the Free Beacon, Goodman reports.
Mrs. Clinton received the Times’ endorsement in January 2008, over then-candidate Barack Obama. The Times has refused to tell Goodman when in 2008 the donation was made.
Was this donation it made before, or after, the endorsement? Did one of them affect the other?
There may be no smoking gun to find, no email that actually says, “We, the Clinton Foundation, will donate to your foundation, and in return, you will endorse Hillary’s presidential campaign.” However, one might argue that a pattern of behavior is emerging with the Clintons. In fact, this pattern of behavior goes back many years.
Questions might also be asked about the actions of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, and his relationships with The New York Times and the Clintons. This year Slim increased his share of Times shares from 7 percent to 17 percent. Back in September of 2008 Slim and his family acquired a 6.4 percent stake in the Times.
“Mr. Slim has a history of buying depressed assets he can later sell at a profit, and several analysts familiar with his investments say they see the purchase of the Times Company stock in that vein,” reported The Times in 2008.
Slim has been a long-time contributor to Clinton Foundation causes. On June 21, 2007, President Bill Clinton, Slim, and Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra worked together on the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI). Both Giustra and Slim committed $100 million apiece.
Giustra has been the subject of controversy following revelations about the Uranium One deal, which resulted in the Russians acquiring 20 percent of America’s annual uranium production capacity.
The Times’s coverage of the Uranium One deal mentions the CGSGI and a number of other donors—but it leaves Slim out.
“As if to underscore the point, five months later Mr. Giustra held a fund-raiser for the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project aimed at fostering progressive environmental and labor practices in the natural resources industry, to which he had pledged $100 million,” reported Jo Becker and Mike McIntire. “The star-studded gala, at a conference center in Toronto, featured performances by Elton John and Shakira and celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Robin Williams encouraging contributions from the many so-called F.O.F.s—Friends of Frank—in attendance, among them Mr. [Ian] Telfer.”
So many people were mentioned, but not Slim, and his pledge—even though he was featured in the Clinton Foundation press release. Was that not relevant to the Times investigation, or their article?
However, Slim “lent the Times Company $250 million, at an interest rate of 14 percent, in 2009; at the time, with the world economy struggling and credit tight, the company looked to be in peril,” reported the Times earlier this year. “The loan was repaid in 2011, more than three years before it was due.”
The Telmex Foundation, founded by Slim, “provided between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by Hillary Clinton,” reported The Washington Post last month, regarding previously undisclosed Clinton Foundation payments. The article said that the Clinton Foundation revealed “that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups.”
Even Politico’s Dylan Byers is crying foul at this point, and implying hypocrisy by the Times. “The Free Beacon story is preposterous from start to finish,” Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told him.
“The Times is no stranger to reporting on possible lines of influence without hard evidence of causation,” Byers writes, referring to Schweizer-inspired stories.
“Yet the Times’ response—or lack thereof—to the Free Beacon’s inquiries suggests that the paper of record holds little regard for [the Free Beacon’s] brand of journalism,” he writes. “In both cases, the Times did not respond to Free Beacon reporters when they emailed requesting comment. Then, following publication of the articles, the Times responded to inquiries from the On Media blog while continuing to disregard emails from Free Beacon reporters.”
“NO donation to The Neediest Cases Fund has ever had any impact on a Times endorsement,” Murphy told the Free Beacon. “We’re not commenting further.”
The Free Beacon later reported on Slim’s connections to the Times, and noted that additional Clinton Foundation donors may include James A. Kohlberg and Mark Thompson. The former is on the Times’ board of directors, and the latter is the CEO of The New York Times Company. Murphy told the Free Beacon that Thompson told her directly that he had not given anything to the Clinton Foundation, but one “Mark Thompson” is listed within the Post’s searchable database of foundation donors, as is one “James A. Kohlberg.”
ABC’s spokeswoman, Heather Riley, who managed Stephanopoulos’ public relations crisis, turned to none other than Byers to manage the ABC host’s scandal. The Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles then exposed on May 15 that Riley had “worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000,” including serving “as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.”
“This is what happens when you have a corrupt media that don’t play fair, but instead put their thumb on the fairness scale to tilt it towards their partisan interests,” I recently wrote.
It is also said to be a problem when corporations try to influence elections.
If the left gets their way, all corporations, except those in the media business, would be severely restricted from supporting candidates or issues. Only corporations like The New York Times Corporation, or NBC Comcast Universal would be allowed to offer round-the-clock, unlimited support for their favorite candidates. You see, those are the good corporations, not motivated by greed or self-interest, or a political agenda—only by the public good, which in their collective wisdom means electing nearly all Democrats—and the more left-wing, the better.