Elsewhere online
January 06, 2016

Opinion: How to Report on Giving by the Superrich

The New York Review of Books examines how the media reports on large-scale philanthropy by billionaire financiers, tech titans, and corporations in the second of two articles on coverage of the "1 percent." Author Michael Massing writes that outlets often carry laudatory reports of major donations and philanthropic efforts but do not sufficiently address issues such as the social impact of how donors amassed their fortunes and the ideological and business goals that may underpin their giving.

While he cites numerous cases of reporting that dug deeper into particular donations and giving approaches, such as corporate funding of think-tank research and university programs, Mr. Massing argues for a more comprehensive approach, proposing an investigative website to delve into how the superrich gain and deploy their wealth. Such a site, he notes, would almost certainly require philanthropic funding, asking, "Is there perhaps a consortium of donors out there willing to fund an operation that would part the curtains on its own world?"