Questions about when and how the Times would cover Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu have been floating in the ether ever since the telecom magnate acquired a stake in the paper this December. This weekend, the paper finally tackled the subject, in a front-page business-section profile that pointedly acknowledges the dark side of Slim: That he is “notoriously thin-skinned,” has reportedly threatened to withhold advertising from media companies in Mexico that criticize him, and runs what is basically a monopoly. The lede even contains an anecdote in which Slim is asked by “a journalist” about the most unwholesome-seeming aspect of his personality, which is that he is a very very rich man in a very very poor country.
But we were disturbed that reporter Marc Lacey chose to ignore what we think is the really weird thing about Slim.
For instance, though they quote one critic as saying Slim has been known to “throw his weight around” and refer, at one point, to the man’s “avuncular persona,” they do not directly address the question that’s been on everyone’s minds, which is, of course: Isn’t it hilarious that he is called Slim when he’s kind of fat?
The Reticent Media Baron [NYT]