Phillip Anschutz: The Most Powerful Billionaire You Have Never Heard Of
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 11:31:47 AM EST
He's been dubbed the "stealth media mogul," labeled "America's greediest executive," by Fortune magazine, and was added to "The 12 Most Powerful Christians in Hollywood" list on Beliefnet. He has also been described as "secretive" and "reclusive," given that he reportedly hasn't spoken on the record to the press since 1974. Nevertheless, he is identified as an active supporter of Christian and conservative causes.

He may not be directly tied to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), but he appears to be single-handedly accomplishing at least one of the goals of NAR's "Seven Mountains Mandate": taking control of the "mountain" of entertainment.

He's Phillip Anschutz, one of the wealthiest men in America that most Americans have never heard of, and he clearly desires it that way.

Denver, Colorado-based devout Christian billionaire

A devout Christian, Anschutz, a Denver, Colorado-based billionaire who has made a chunk of his fortune in railroads, telecommunications, and the oil and gas businesses, has, through his Anschutz Entertainment Group, taken the entertainment industry by storm.

Anschutz owns the Regal Entertainment theater chain; movie making enterprises such as Walden Media, which co-produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,"(that grossed more than 1 billion in ticket and DVD sales); arenas, such as Los Angeles's Staples Center; a number of sports teams, including one-third of the LA Lakers basketball team, and stakes in the LA Kings hockey team and the LA Galaxy soccer team; and, Anschutz Entertainment Group's (AEG) concerts division promotes tours for pop stars like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Jon Bon Jovi.

Anschutz also owns, The Examiner chain of conservative newspapers, and last year, Anschutz added The Weekly Standard (bought for a reported $1 million from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation), an influential conservative magazine, to his ever-expanding quiver.

Anschutzing Los Angeles

For nearly 16 years, from the time that both the Raiders and Rams left Los Angeles, the city has been without a National Football League team. Now, thanks to Anschutz, within the next few years that could change.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles city council, "unanimously approved tentative plans by AEG to build a new NFL-quality stadium on the site of the outdated and underused LA Convention Center," Forbes magazine's Christopher Helman recently reported. "The deal still requires a raft of further approvals before construction can begin, but it shows that Anschutz is moving assuredly towards the goal of bringing pro football back to LA. And what Anschutz (net worth: $7.5 billion or so) wants, Anschutz usually gets." (Anschutz comes in at #34 on Forbes' list of "The Richest People in America.")

According to Helman, Anschutz's AEG, "would put up all the expected $1.2 billion to build the stadium, to be called Farmers Field. It would seat 72,000 and could be completed as soon as 2016. The only cost to LA taxpayers would be some $275 million in tax breaks."

Anschutz's stadium plan was aided by the California legislature. As the Los Angeles Times reported in September 2007, "One of the last things lawmakers did before they adjourned ... was to pass a measure that would make Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of Staples Center, eligible for millions of dollars in state funds to improve the downtown area around its arena."
Last year, in a Forbes article titled "The Man Behind the Curtain" Helman pointed out that Anschutz has treasured his anonymity, which has earned, "him a reputation as one of the most secretive moguls in America." Helman described Anschutz as "Thin, fit, about 5 foot 8 inches, [and] not easy to pick out of a group."

Helman reported that the Kansas-born Anschutz's, "holding company has just sold its oil and gas fields in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and the Bakken Shale of North Dakota for roughly $3 billion--the biggest payday of his life."
Now, his "chief theater of operations is [the] privately held Anschutz Entertainment Group, with estimated revenue of $2 billion. Through AEG he controls 120 entertainment venues around the world, including Staples Center in L.A.--part of his just-completed $2.5 billion L.A. Live complex, which includes the Nokia Theater and a 1,101-room hotel tower."

According to Helman, "AEG, in partnership with Ryan Seacrest, soon plans to launch a new music-and-lifestyle-themed TV network that will bring viewers into the likes of LA Live, Shanghai's new Mercedes-Benz Arena and [England's] O2 [arena]."

The Odd Couple: Michael Jackson and Anschutz

Perhaps the strangest of Anschutz's business relationships revolves around the late Michael Jackson. Anschutz's AEG was the prime promoter of what was to be the "King of Pop's" spectacular comeback tour.

According to Portfolio.com's Matt Haber, the deal was, "potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars," as Anschutz's AEG Live, "would promote the 45 London Jackson events, ... at London's O2 arena, which ... [is] owned by AEG Worldwide. AEG was so committed to keeping the event on track, it paid Dr. Conrad Murray to act as the singer's personal physician. Dr. Murray is ... at the center of a police investigation into Jackson's overdose from the anesthetic Propofol."

AEG Live also partnered with Jackson's estate to release This is It, a movie put together from "more than 100 hours of footage of Jackson preparing for the concerts." Since its release, This Is It has become the highest grossing concert film in history, with over $250 million in worldwide sales and nearly $45 million in US DVD sales.

Political Activism

Anschutz's voice of choice appears to be The Examiner chain of free newspapers. According to The Examiner's Karen Holt, "His instructions to the editorial staff was simple - the editorial page would be composed only of conservative columns by conservative op-ed writers. " Amongst the regular contributors are "Byron York (National Review) - chief political correspondent; David Freddoso (author of The Case Against Barack Obama) - investigative reporter; and Michael Barone (Fox News) - senior political analyst." Anschutz "also owns Examiner.com - which offers hundreds of journalists the opportunity to create hyperlocal dispatches from the comfort of their homes."

According to newsmeat.com, Anschutz has donated nearly $550,000 to political candidates and causes, including $301,000 to special interest groups and $223,000 to Republican Party candidates and committees.

As I reported in a November 2007 story, Anschutz supported Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2, a ballot initiative designed to overturn a state law giving equal rights to gays and lesbians. He helped fund the Discovery Institute, a conservative philanthropy-supported "think tank" based in Seattle, Washington that promotes intelligent design and critiques some theories of evolution.

He has also contributed to Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, the New York-based Institute for American Values, another conservative philanthropy-supported organization that campaigns for marriage and against single parenting, Enough is Enough, whose President and Chair of its Board of Directors is Donna Rice Hughes (the major figure in the sex scandal that ended the 1987 campaign of Gary Hart, in the Democratic presidential primary), and which claims to be "Lighting the way to protect children and families from the dangers of illegal Internet pornography and sexual predators," and Morality in the Media, established in 1962 "to combat obscenity and uphold decency standards in the media."

One way that Anschutz expresses his political/Christian beliefs is through Walden Media films. According to the website Moria, "As with much of Walden Media's films, The Dark is Rising [adapted from a popular series of young-adult fantasy books from British author Susan Cooper] comes with an underlying conservative Christian agenda -.... director David L. Cunningham, who previously made the heavily conservative-biased The Road to 9/11 (2006) mini-series, which tried to blame 9/11 on the Clinton administration, is an evangelical Christian - indeed, Cunningham's father [Loren] is founder of the Christian youth organization YWAM [Youth With A Mission] and David has lectured on presenting a Christian message on film.




Display:

WWW Talk To Action


How The Election of Trump Made My Life Easier
I might be one of a select few who didn't vote for Donald but would have to say Trump's election made my life easier...I......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
The Bakke Plot To "Infiltrate" Secular Institutions
Back in 2012-2014 I did a lot of writing and research on The Gathering, the yearly meeting of elite evangelical right philanthropists who collectively......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
The Term "Alt-Right" is All Right
There is a misguided effort underway to not use the term "alt-right."  The effort, currently led by the Center for American Progress, claims that......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
A refresher on dominionism will probably come in handy over the next little while. -- FC I am pleased to report that the task......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
The New Kochs: Anthology of DeVos Support, Funding of School Privatization and Religious Right
This post from 2-14 will be a helpful resource in the days ahead. -- FC Mother Jones' January/February issue includes an article titled "Meet......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
This post about the long term strategy for privatizing the public schools takes on fresh importance in light of the nomination of Betsy DeVos......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (18 comments)
Did God Engineer Trump's Win?
Political analysts have postulated a number of theories to explain the victory of Donald J. Trump in the presidential election: Hillary Clinton failed to......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Some thoughts for a Sunday post-election reflection:
Emancipation, Reconstruction, Redemption, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow The struggles of the Civil Rights Movement took us two steps forward Now the "Second......
By Chip Berlet (0 comments)
On The Ridiculous Charge Of Clinton Anti-Catholicism
Julian Assange has been busy lately trying to sabotage Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's run for the Presidency. As part of his vendetta, he has......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
From Russia Without Love
It was less than two years ago but it now seems like a lifetime ago that I wrote about how Russia appeared to be......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Northwest Arkansas, A Hotbed for Anti-Semitism
Three organizations in Northwest Arkansas are deeply interwoven into the most rabid Anti-Semitic teachings in the nation.  Gerald Smith, buried at the base of......
By wilkyjr (5 comments)
Joseph Cella is Back - Taking the Opposite Tack from Pope Francis
Joseph J. Cella has had a change of heart since he joined with those conservative Catholic activists who signed a declaration during the Republican......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Radcliffe Sucker Punched by Right-Wing Propagandists
The prestigious Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard College will host a panel on Monday, Oct 17, titled "Righting the Record: Conservatism and......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
Celebrating Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is the venerable annual celebration of the right to read and the highlighting of efforts by cultural vigilantes of various sorts......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)

"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (0 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.