Global News Blog: Mexican Influences NYT?

February 2, 2009  

Posted by Eric Van Steenburg

If you think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet are the richest men in the world, you’ve probably never heard o f Carlos Slim Helu. This Mexican industry mogal has so many business holdings that some believe almost $1 out of every $7 spent in that country ends up in his pockets. But now the multi-billionaire has “loaned” The New York Times $250 million. Why? Well, it’s no secret that the print media is struggling today, facing dwindling readers, a lack of advertising revenue, and a bad economy. Add to it that the NYT just moved into a new building a year ago that it owns, and you start to understand the debt the newspaper is facing.

So in comes Slim (pronounced SLEEM) with his big buck bailout. The problem is, the NYT editorial department, which operates independantly from the news department, has been critical of Slim in the past, even calling him “a robber barron.” With Slim as their newest benefactor, though, will the NYT be quick to call him down in the future? In other words, has Slim bought himself some relief from public scrutiny by one of the most influential media outlets in the world? If so, should the NYT ever have accepted his donation? And what does his “gift” do to his reputation in Mexico, where many are critial of the man on a regular basis?

Hear the story by NPR’s radio show “On The Media” by clicking here.

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