Thanks to the Bent Yellow Fruit Law of Journalese — which prohibits repeating an important word in one sentence — the use of magnate, as in “real estate magnate” to identify Donald Trump, has became a reporter favorite in recent years. It’s Trump as a magnate magnet. Thus we see people identified as magnates in just about every business and enterprise in the world: casinos, autos, brewing, construction, energy, aluminum, railroads, sports, media — you name it: there’s a magnate. A quick check of The Boston Globe archives, produced 757 usages, a large percent in stories about Trump. That’s peanuts compared with the New York Times, which produced 11,889 hits, including this one: “Richard Basciano, Times Square Pornography Magnate, Dies at 91.”
What brings this up is an item in the Globe political roundup, “Capital Source,” June 30, 2017, with this headline, and I’m not making this up: “Out-of-state garbage magnates give to Butler.” The story lede: “A Connecticut family whose wealth is rooted in a garbage hauling and Dumpster rental company are such avid political supporters of Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito that they are pouring tens of thousands of dollars into their campaign accounts.”
The Globe reports it could not find out why. Hey, a Connecticut garbage magnate doesn’t need a degree from the Harvard School of Business to figure out where to dump a load of green to help expand business into Massachusetts. The best place to start is at the Governor’s office.
One businessman you’ll never see The Globe identify as a magnate is John Henry, publisher and owner of The Globe. Henry qualifies for the titles of a professional sports magnate (as owner of the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool soccer, and a NASCAR team), or as a commodities trading magnate (where he made his original billion), or as a media magnate.
File under: The real estate magnate as the magnate-in-chief.
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