Anand Giridharadas @AnandWrites @TIME editor at large. Author of @WinnersTakeAll, THE TRUE AMERICAN, & INDIA CALLING. MSNBC political analyst. @PriyaParker's man. Father. Rhymes with "almond." Jan. 14, 2019 2 min read

This says it all about America today.

So you have a faux billionaire who rides a wave of populist anger all the way to the White House.

And you have the world’s richest man, an actual billionaire, who has become a monopolist asphyxiating much of the rest of the economy.

Now, the faux billionaire president is a complete product of the media. The press made him, fueled his rise.

But he decides to make the media that made him his enemy. Fake news.

However, he turns one network into a de facto state propaganda arm.

Meanwhile, the faux billionaire president is ensnared in a criminal investigation for possibly colluding with a tabloid to “catch and kill” the stories of women he allegedly had affairs with. The case calls into question the legitimacy of his election.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, the world’s richest man is getting ever richer.

He makes a big splash about giving back philanthropically. It is later revealed that, at that very moment, he was running a Bachelor-style contest to get cities to give him tax breaks instead of repair roads.

Now, being a plutocrat-monopolist, the world’s richest man has the chance to become a media baron, too. He buys the Washington Post.

This isn’t unusual, because even as he’s buying it, billionaire owners are taking control of The Atlantic, Time, The Los Angeles Times, and more. And Mike Bloomberg, an existing billionaire media owner, is eyeing his own presidential run. Just because.

Now it turns out the world’s richest man is getting divorced, which might make him no longer the world’s richest man, but could make his wife the world’s richest woman.

And the tabloid that the media-made, media-hating, catch-and-kill faux billionaire president is accused of colluding with now smears the world’s richest man, publishing sexts that instantly prove that billionaires aren’t any slicker than you or me.

So this is our republic now.

Billionaires rule the economy, the media, even the presidency.

They squabble with each other over their right to rule us.

Life becomes a competition among them over us. And the truth, the facts of our societies, become weapons in their jousting.

It is possible to build another kind of society that isn’t defined by billionaires’ fights, media properties, monopolies, and power grabs.

It is up to us to make it come true.

You can follow @AnandWrites.


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