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The Great Media/Legal Rich-Hunt
Yesterday, I noted Chrystia Freeland’s criticism of business journalists for explaining systemic economic events with tales about “malfactors of great wealth.” Freeland seemed to think that such journalists were motivated simply by the desire to attract an audience. But a broader focus shows that such muckraking journalism is but one small part of a much broader attack on businessmen, which I call the Great Media/Legal Rich-Hunt. Journalists are joined in this attack by feature writers, novelists, “investigatory” television programs, and film-makers, among others. And their motive is not just to attract an audience by personalizing economic stories. They also seek to draw in the machinery of the law to prosecute those they hate. In turn, anti-business prosecutors, plaintiffs lawyers, regulators, and legislators feed the media misinformation in order to stimulate public opinion against the businessmen they wish to see destroyed.
All of which is by way of introducing the story of a suit against Chevron that is now being pursued in Ecuador. Note the differences in the way it is reported by the California Civil Justice Association and by the New York Times. The CCJA story was written on the basis of a column (reg. req’d) by Michael D. Goldhaber, Senior International Correspondent for American Lawyer and an adjunct law professor at Fordham. The Times story, which is originally from Reuters, names no correspondent, but whoever wrote it attempts to portray Chevron’s exposure of legal corruption as itself sinister and then plays the “poor little guy” angle to the full.