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Rebekah Mercer Fights Back

In the U.S., the media establishment has two different ways of responding to rich people who try to use their money to reshape society. One of these approaches is illustrated by the case of George Soros, the twentieth richest American. Arguably, Soros is the main reason why the Democratic Party has lurched so far to the left, becoming obsessed with identity politics, Islam, and illegal immigrants. He champions the undemocratic EU and decried the democratic Brexit vote; he supports immigration policies that would advance Europe's Islamization, weaken its economic power and social fabric, and ultimately destroy its freedom; and he oversees a massive network of organizations that seek, in their various ways, to transform America from a people's republic to a People's Republic. But as far as the mainstream media are concerned, that's just fine. Articles about Soros in places like the New York Times and Washington Post read like press releases: one Times reporter recently described Soros's Open Society Foundations, through which he carries out much of his mischief, as “promot[ing] democracy and human rights in more than 120 countries.” That's world-class whitewashing right there. Last year, the Times actually ran an op-ed headlined “Israel's War on George Soros” -- as if this guy who funds a multitude of groups that demonize Israel and relativize terror were the victim and not the assailant.

By contrast, consider the Koch brothers, Charles and David, who tie for the #6 spot on Forbes' list of wealthiest Americans. While Soros wields direct power over scores of groups that seek to influence public policy, the Kochs tend to spread money around to universities and think tanks over which they have little or no authority, as well as to fund medical research centers, theaters, opera houses, athletic stadiums, and the like. And yet the mainstream media routinely label the Kochs “controversial” (a word they rarely attach to Soros), depict them as puppet masters (again, Soros, the top puppet master of our time, is almost never called one), cast them as right-wing extremists (in fact they're libertarians who support same-sex marriage and legal marijuana), and paint them as mysterious and dangerous figures, huddling in the shadows and usurping the authority of the American electorate. On the contrary, it's Soros, the fervent socialist, who strives to undercut democracy and impose his will on the West, while the Kochs, as noted, are libertarians, using their wealth to try to shore up individual rights and other core constitutional values.

If the Kochs haven't been in the media's crosshairs lately as much as they were a couple of years ago, it's because the mainstream media are now busy beating up on Donald Trump -- and given that the Kochs loathe Trump too, they no longer make suitable punching bags. In their place, however, the media have installed Robert Mercer, a pioneer of computer science and artificial intelligence who went on to make millions as a hedge-fund titan, and his daughter Rebekah, who studied biology, mathematics, management science, and engineering at Stanford. Like the Kochs, the Mercers are libertarians. Through the Mercer Family Foundation, which Rebekah runs, they bankroll the Breitbart website; they also contributed to the Ted Cruz campaign during the 2016 Republican primaries, but threw their support behind Donald Trump when he received the party's nomination. The fact that they're tied to both Trump and Breitbart makes the Mercers the ideal media targets de nos jours, given that the traditional big-time media view websites like Breitbart (and this one) as enemies. Together, these sites form what the Washington Post itself has called “an alternative media ecosystem” -- an ecosystem, one might add, that poses an existential challenge to the old media's news-shaping oligopoly.