By Rich Danker
It turns out it isn’t just a Gray Divorce. Melinda Gates started hiring attorneys two years ago when news broke that Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein “many times,” including at least once late into the night. Her husband’s friendship with Epstein began after authorities convicted Epstein as a child sex offender in 2008.
If Gates couldn’t explain to his wife what he was doing in Epstein’s mansion, plane, and in Europe, he probably had a tough time explaining these things to the boards of directors of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway, both of which he resigned from a few months before the divorce filing.
At least in the case of the company that generated most of his wealth, Gates didn’t have a choice: Microsoft’s board had already decided that its founder and icon had to go. The reported explanation was a 20-year old affair with a company employee. However, the board’s investigation also began after the news of his Epstein ties broke.
In a leaked story, Gates apparently used Epstein to help him campaign for a Nobel Peace Prize. That story resembled the kind of strategic misdirection of another one about Bill Clinton having an affair with Ghislaine Maxwell,
“While a Nobel Prize would certainly be a great honor, it is false to state that Bill Gates was ‘obsessed’ with the honor, set it as a goal, or campaigned for it in any way,” his spokesperson told the Daily Beast.
Jeff Bezos’s recent scandal shows how the world’s most influential concoct fake news and have the media sell it. What the tech titans can do today resembles what Michael Jordan could do with the sports media in the nineties.
The Amazon founder’s mistress compromised him when she shared their incriminating texts with her brother. Her brother promptly sold them for $200,000 to the National Enquirer. To cover up this embarrassment, Bezos tried to start an international incident. He accused Saudi Arabia of hacking his phone and conspiring with the Trump-friendly tabloid publisher to blackmail him.
It’s chilling to see how far Bezos got with his lie. The media ate up his blog post advancing the conspiracy, in part because he cast himself as a victim for supporting their craft. Bezos said that his role as benefactor of the Washington Post put a target on his back. Now, the Saudis and Trump were coming for him. Heroically, Bezos served as a martyr for the cause:
Even though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my investment. The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission. My stewardship of The Post and my support of its mission, which will remain unswerving, is something I will be most proud of when I’m 90 and reviewing my life, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, regardless of any complexities it creates for me.
Critical institution, or insurance policy against the day the tabloids inevitably caught up to him? Thanks to owning the Post, the media received Bezos as the hero for standing up to a corrupt tabloid. Said tabloid promised to run a dirty story on him unless he withdrew a statement that their sourcing was politically motivated. No less than the dean of political journalism Bob Woodward salivated over it:
Jeff: Proud of you for stepping forward in such a difficult situation. Very gutsy and definitely right. This period reminds me of 1972-1974, perhaps Watergate Redux. So many assaults on constitutional government, common sense and privacy. Let’s hope we all get it right — aggressive but careful and fair. Cheers and best, Bob Woodward
Watergate Redux?! The Enquirer’s version of the story was true all along. The source was his girlfriend’s brother, not Saudi Arabia. Regardless, people forgave Bezos using Woodward and the rest of the media as his pawns. An industry once defined as taking on the powerful now does their PR.
Gates probably wishes he bought the Wall Street Journal when he had the chance. His exposure has the potential to make the Bezos affair look mundane.
People didn’t just catch Gates spending lots of time alongside Epstein. His former chief science and technology advisor, Boris Nikolic, was also close to Epstein. So close, in fact, that days before his death he named Nikolic as a backup executor of his will. It looks like a breadcrumb from beyond the grave. Another former close technical advisor to Gates was Melanie Walker. She got her start out of college in Epstein’s world after he dangled a Victoria’s Secret modeling audition.
What propels the Epstein story is how he supposedly conned so many savvy people for unpersuasive reasons. Gates wanted a Nobel prize. Bill Clinton wanted philanthropic money. Leslie Wexner and other billionaires needed Epstein to manage their finances. Somehow Epstein was indispensable to the wants of people richer and more famous than him. But what for exactly?
The media has more riding on Gates surviving infamy than Bezos. Gates has been their go-to authority on the topics they insist require no debate. Topics like vaccines, contraception, foreign aid, national education standards, and gender inequality.
As recently as two years ago – and one month before the Epstein ties were first reported – a fawning documentary series from Netflix seemed to complete Gates’ two-decades reinvention from sullen software monopolist to world saver. He was above the traditional boundaries of nation, politics, industry, and culture: the chief globalist.
The media and other elite institutions can’t lose Gates as their authority figure. If they do, it would cripple their roles as brokers of expertise. Gates is not a replaceable showman like Harvey Weinstein who they can afford to pile on after protecting for years. He is more important than Bezos, even if Bezos eclipsed him as the world’s richest person in 2017.
Bezos is too closely associated with Amazon, the way Gates once was with Microsoft. No one will hold him up as the great altruist of our time. A full account of Gates’ time with Epstein could also cause the dominos to fall on other powerful friends like Bill Clinton.
This is why we can expect the media to cover for Gates on Epstein until the point of no return. Having run with Bezos’ DIY effort to stir international mayhem, the media seems ready to accept all the possible non-Epstein explanations for Gates’ divorce. This includes rehashing stories of how he liked to party, pursued women at work, and took vacations with an ex-girlfriend.
Or that he only searched out Epstein because he needed the convicted sex offender as his Nobel Peace Prize campaign manager. Or that Epstein offered him a shoulder to cry on about his “toxic” marriage.
The media will probably ring up the story that Microsoft’s board decided to kick out its founder over a long-ago affair as a profile in courage of the #MeToo era. But it is highly unlikely that it’s the whole of it. Many roads lead Gates to Epstein. We may only find out why if the media stops covering for him.
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