Eric Alterman in The Nation (June 18) notes that the New York Sun, a daily that costs its wealthy neoconservative sponsors millions of dollars a year, has a paid circulation of less than 15,000 and apparently exists only as an exercise in vanity. But Alterman wastes too much of his energy on attacking the paper's support for Israel, and thus misses the real story: how the Sun has become the chief drumbeater for a Presidential run by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in spite of the fact that the Sun's and the mayor's politics have very little in common.
The op-ed rich and advertising poor daily previously had wanted Dick Cheney to run in 2008. Now it's locked into boosting a candidate (if he is a candidate) who vehemently disagrees with conservatives on family values, gun control, and global warming; wants to pass out payments to welfare families for attending PTA meetings; is so lukewarm about Israel that during last year's war on the Lebanese border he made a point of visiting...Ireland; and responds to the stubborn anti-Semitism of his allies Lenora Fulani and Fred Newman by stuffing their pockets with ever more money.
Almost every day for months, the Sun has been pushing the mayor to run-run-run, while praising his achievements and talents to a degree that would be regarded as unseemly by any normal politician (or any normal newspaper) this side of North Korea.
Sun publisher Seth Lipsky and his backers may be trying to massage the mayor's ego so he'll hopefully serve as the Ralph Nader-style spoiler against the Democratic candidate in 2008. On the other hand, they may simply be out for Bloomberg donations (and lots and lots of campaign ads) to keep their paper afloat. I note how Lipsky apparently also has an eye to ongoing support from Conrad Black, as suggested by those incessant Mark Steyn dispatches from Chicago re Black's trial. (Steyn is entertaining and persuasive, but there's little doubt he's basically a mouthpiece for the defense.)
Whatever the truth about the Sun's relationship to Bloomberg--and I urge Alterman to pursue this angle in a future column--the grovelling of LIpsky's neocon clique before our billionaire mayor can only confirm the suspicions of many that the so-called neoconservative movement is basically fueled by old-fashioned opportunism.