Bloomberg Seeks to Dominate World of Opinion
Over the last year, representatives of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg [net worth; $17 billion] quietly reached out to a handful of the country's top journalists with an intriguing job offer: Divine and distill his unique brand of political philosophy and disseminate it around the globe for an annual salary of close to $500,000. In interviews inside a grand Beaux-Arts town house on the Upper East Side, he spoke with candidates about education reform, post-partisan politics and urban affairs. And in a slightly startling admission for a man of abundant self-certainty, he acknowledged that there remained essential areas where he had yet to develop convictions. "I don't know what to do about Afghanistan," he said during the process, according to a person familiar with that conversation.
After conquering Wall Street in the 1970s, crushing competitors in the information-technology industry in the '80s and reigning over New York City politics for the past decade, the ever-ambitious Mr. Bloomberg now wants to dominate a new sphere - the world of opinion.
At the mayor's urging, his giant media company will soon make a splashy foray into opinion, churning out columns and essays on issues as varied as gun control and deficit spending. At the center: up to two editorials a day that channel the views of Mr. Bloomberg himself.... As with all of his undertakings, Mr. Bloomberg is sparing no expense. Offering outsized salaries, Bloomberg View has hired editors away from a variety of national publications, like The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Week. And it has begun recruiting a stable of well-known contributors, like Peter R. Orszag, President Obama's former budget director, who briefly wrote a column for The Times last year.Orszag's first two columns for the New York Times were comically bad sub-Gladwellian sermons:
Success in most arenas of life is thus not a reflection of innate skill but rather devoted effort.When readers cuffed him around badly in the comments section, Orszag huffily replied:
Indeed, the examples we have of individuals who put in 10,000 or more hours of dedicated practice and fail to achieve stunning levels of performance is quite limited - because most people are not willing to put in that time and effort.When the first name of a hotshot pundit you leak is Peter Orszag, you're just reinforcing assumptions that you aren't in the opinion business, you're in the business of providing sinecures for future high ranking government officials.