Hashtag Philanthropy


Anyone who spends time on social media will have encountered one of those posts in which the writer uses a life cycle event to expound on how wonderful his family and, by extension, he is. The occasion of a spouse’s birthday, or of the birth of a child, triggers an outpouring of sentimental and bathetic pap meant to demonstrate the depth of feeling, the trueness of heart, the purity of intention, the nobility of status possessed by the writer.

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.