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Billionaire’s Big Donation Receives Small Press Coverage

By Thomas J. Stanley on Feb 23rd, 2012 in Current Events

News stories and editorials which define the rich as “evil” greatly outnumber those which tell the other side of the story.  Even those newspaper stories that do mention the good deeds done by the rich are rarely on the front page.   As an example, consider the following newspaper [print version] headline:


As a Disease-Fighting Fund Struggles, Bill Gates Donates $750 Million


Somehow the way this headline is written separates the magnanimous and extraordinarily generous character of Bill Gates from the millions of third world recipients of this generosity.  His gift is much more than funding a fund.  Ultimately his donations will help save millions who would otherwise contract diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.


In a show of faith in the faltering Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Bill Gates donated $750 million to the fund on Thursday.


How much news coverage does a $750 million donation receive?  According to my calculations, a full print page in The New York Times is approximately 220 square inches.  The amount of space devoted to the Bill Gates story was 25.5 square inches or less than 1/8 of a page.  Further the article was positioned not on the front page, but at the very bottom of page A-4.  


Just how generous must one be in order to generate any type of positive press about the rich in America?  Think of it this way.  Those 25.5 square inches cost the equivalent of $29.4 million per square inch of coverage in this story.  Yet many of the 99 percenters received front page coverage for merely holding up signs and occupying parks.

6 responses to “Billionaire’s Big Donation Receives Small Press Coverage”

  1. Cor Aquilonis says:

    So:

    if Multi-billionaire gives a a significant donation to a worthy cause they are deserving of massive news coverage and the praises and supplications of a grateful nation, no, world.

    if a huge group disenfranchised citizens create the largest nationwide peaceful protest this country has seen in 40 years, agitating for significant changes in public policy, wait, why are we talking about this again?

    You’re too educated to be glaringly obtuse about what is and is not newsworthy. Why are you really posting this tripe?

  2. Galen Masdon says:

    Excellent story. Good to see stories of the rich giving to the poor.

    Cor Aquilonis- By “disenfranchised citizens”, are you talking about the “Occupy Wall Street” protests? Are you implying they didn’t get enough news coverage? Because they most definitely did.

    Maybe if they lived below their means, saved for a rainy day, looked for economic opportunities, and diversified their investments…oh you know. Just the things that these evil millionaires do. Maybe then they wouldn’t need to make fools of themselves for ignorantly protesting the land of the greatest opportunities on earth?

  3. Brad L. says:

    Thank you, Dr. Stanley. This is a glaring irony and a point well made.

    As for the original comment, the OWS have not exactly been peaceful. See Oakland. Further, their message has been a muddled version of anti business and anti wealthy rhetoric. Perhaps if they occupied a job interview it would be more productive for them and the country.

  4. Rhonda says:

    Does anyone remember the shock and awe from the press three years ago?
    http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_unplugged.html

    He received more news coverage when he released 750 million mosquitos to raise awareness on the spread of Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, . Clearly Mr. Gates is passionate for this issue. “For where your Treasure is, there your heart will be also.-Luke 12:34”

    Thank you Dr. Stanley, for doing your part to raise awareness on many matters.

    Cor Aquilonis- Please educate yourself and consider following the shining example provided by Bill Gates to raise awareness for your cause, which has little to do with this post.

  5. Karen says:

    Maybe the media is just putting their own financial interests first by publicizing stories that the public wants to read? After all, the public loves to root for David and boo Goliath. If stories about Bill Gates’s sizable donations (which he makes on a regular basis) sold papers, believe me, they’d be on the front page.

  6. Bo says:

    What always amazes me is that when a wealthy person gives money to charity, many say that the wealthy have a moral obligation to ‘give back’ to the community.

    This seems strange considering that the wealth created by the affluent individual usually creates a great deal of wealth for other people as well.

    And as for a moral obligation, it is never moral to obligate a person to do anything.

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