Russia Has 'Oligarchs,' the US Has 'Businessmen'
In 150 NYT, CNN and Fox articles, 'oligarch' seems reserved for
Even in corporate media, you will occasionally see references to the
United States as an "oligarchy." That is the judgment of former
President Jimmy Carter, of peer-reviewed academic studies, and even
opinion pieces in our most prestigious media .. Just three men hold
more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country combined, and the
richest people in society use their money to influence media, society
and the government.
But if the US is an oligarchy, then who are the oligarchs? ..
"Oligarch" is a loaded term used exclusively for the elite of enemy
foreign countries, and not our plutocrats. ..
Yevgeny Prigozhin, Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg, Victor Pinchuk,
Roman Abramovich, Aras Agalarov: That is the full and distinctly
Slavic-sounding list of people identified by CNN as "oligarchs." ..
.. All from Russia or former Eastern Bloc countries. .. In the 150-
article sample, Russia was described as an oligarchy in 89, while
Ukraine was labeled as such in 35. The word was also used in
connection to other ex-Eastern Bloc states in 13 articles: Those
states were Moldova (6 times), Kazakhstan (twice), Hungary (twice),
Georgia (twice) and Azerbaijan (once). .. In all, 98% of countries
referenced in connection to oligarchs were either Russia or formerly
In contrast, only 1% of articles mentioned the US in connection with
oligarchs, which is all the more remarkable, considering all the
outlets in the sample are US-based and devote vastly more time, space
and words to US issues than Eastern European ones. / The fact that
oligarch has taken on ethnic connotations was made doubly clear ..
While not labeling its own wealthy and powerful elites as "oligarchs,"
US corporate media do, as noted, occasionally acknowledge that the
United States itself is an oligarchy. But even those admissions are
few and far between, appearing for the most part only in articles
devoted to arguing exactly that point. Otherwise, the US is
overwhelmingly presented as a democracy and a force for good .. What
a strange country the US is - an oligarchy without any oligarchs.