In recent days, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has become a beloved press figure as a result of his unshaking support for the Ground Zero mosque.
Isn't it fascinating how in this environment where rich people are being demonized at every turn all you need to do is a support a popular liberal cause and your financial sins are instantly forgiven?
With this in mind, the good folks at Big Journalism have uncovered some rather startling financial connections between this media mogul and the Arab world that haven't raised any eyebrows from journalists that love to follow the money when there's a conservative at the other end of the smoking wallet.
Consider the uproar last week surrounding News Corporation's contribution to the Republican Governors Association.
As you read Mondo Frazier's marvelous piece "Follow the Money: Could Mayor Bloomberg's Media Business Interests in the Middle East Have Anything to Do with His Support of the Ground Zero Mosque?" ask yourself why the seemingly always curious press have ignored any examination of this billionaire's motives:
On October 2, 2009, The Dubai Chronicle reported Chairman and President of Bloomberg LP Peter T. Grauer met with UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Maktoum's Emirate office. According to the Dubai Chronicle, Grauer gave a presentation of Bloomberg future expansion plans in the ‘area of business information' in the United Emirates, North Africa, and India. Grauer stated the UAE was a great place to expand, the UAE's "logistic facilities" the ‘biggest incentive for investors and companies to expand their businesses in the country and the region beyond'.
"Particularly since the meltdown of the western capitalist system, there has been an increasingly large focus on the virtues of Islamic finance. Today, there is no one single provider of information that caters to the Islamic finance market. So by Bloomberg being here, we are in the process of building out an Islamic finance product. We are very confident that we can build a product that meets the needs of the market right now."
-Max Linnington, Regional Head of Bloomberg Middle East and South Asia on the company's plan to build a Bloomberg hub in Dubai at the Dubai International Financial Centre(DIFC), October 29, 2009
But there's more:
On March 10, 2010, the Khaleej Times reported Bloomberg Set for Dubai expansion in bid to double revenues by 2014.
"Bloomberg, a leading global provider for financial data and news services, plans to "significantly boost regional operations from its Dubai hub as it is bullish about growth prospects of the emirate as a global financial center, a top executive said."
The coincidences continue: the Mayor's company is banking on "doubling revenues by 2014″ in a region that just happens to be largely populated by Muslims.
As I said at the top, this is the kind of smoking gun the press would normally attack like a pack of hungry wolves.
Couldn't all the international publicity Bloomberg is now getting for being America's foremost supporter of this mosque be doing wonders for his position in the Arab world? Mightn't that dramatically help his media company's push into this region?
Why hasn't this gotten the kind of coverage News Corp's contribution to the RGA got last week?
After all, the point made by folks on the Left was that News Corp's reporting can't possibly be taken seriously if it's making such a large donation to one political Party.
Shouldn't the same be true for Bloomberg? If his media company has recently invested time and money in the Muslim world, and could benefit tremendously from the favorable publicity he's getting concerning his advocacy of this mosque, shouldn't his veracity be similarly questioned?
This seems especially the case given further revelations about News Corp's connections to Saudi billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal.
For those that missed it, former Bush administration official Dan Senor was on Fox & Friends Monday, and he made a comment about Al-Waleed's financing of the Ground Zero mosque.
This led liberal media members - including Comedy Central's Jon Stewart - to point out that Al-Waleed is the biggest shareholder in News Corp.
Missing in this newest Fox News gotcha was that it actually demonstrated FNC's ability to separate the interests of its largest investor from its reporting.
Think about it: if Fox was doing Al-Waleed's bidding, its hosts and contributors wouldn't be attacking a mosque their largest investor was funding. That would quite literally be biting the hand that feeds them.
Quite the contrary, as the news outlet that has been the most outspoken against the location of this Islamic center, Fox has taken a position that can't be at all popular with its largest shareholder.
Maybe someone should inform Stewart and all the other Fox haters in the media of this delicious dichotomy.
Which brings us back to New York's mayor: if the press think FNC is incapable of separating its reporting from its political contributions, shouldn't they have similar concerns that Bloomberg can't separate his business interests from his mayoral decisions?
Or do such conflicts of interest only arise for conservatives?