The Secret Masters

Billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Tom Steyer

The timing of a story by the campaign finance reporters of the New York Times, and its placement in the paper’s national edition, is fraught with meaning. Articles in which the totemic names “Koch” or “Adelson” appear have a habit of being published in the prime time of an election cycle, and share the uncanny ability to float, bubble-like, to the front-page. Stories that deal with the liberal moneymen who finance the Democratic Party and its affiliates, by contrast, tend to appear after the fact or when nobody is looking, and, like ballast, fall to the back of the A section, obscured by ads for Tiffany’s, Burberry, and Zegna. I wonder why.

Medieval Times

Zuckerberg, Bezos, Musk, Bloomberg / AP

Looking for a distraction from the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate? I urge you to read Vanity Fair’s latest advertisement for “The New Establishment,” a list of “50 Titans Disrupting Media, Technology, and Culture,” the century-old magazine’s annual mash-note to the rich and powerful and self-satisfied. These disrupters innovate technologies, set the trends, define the limits of acceptable conversation in culture and politics and society, and pour money into the network of liberal foundations and Democratic campaigns around which our world is increasingly organized. They are the winners in the cognitive lottery that is the New Economy, the men and women creating and shaping, by accident and by design, the “New Feudalism” described so well by Joel Kotkin in The Daily Beast. It’s good to know their names.

Welcome to the Jungle

Jeff Bezos / AP

The day after Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, one of the paper’s columnists, Eugene Robinson, appeared on “Morning Joe.” Robinson is a reliable voice for conventional liberal opinion, and on this particular day, Tuesday, August 6, 2013, conventional liberal opinion held that Bezos’ purchase of the Post for $250 million was an act of bravery and humanity comparable to the Marshall Plan.