Snarky coverage of Mark Zuckerberg's gift to Newark demonstrates just how cynical media have become. The Facebook founder decides to donate $100M to Newark’s public schools, one of worst systems in the nation, and he gets trashed for trying to buy good PR ahead of the release of “The Social Network.” The sex, drugs and rock & roll movie depicts the founding of Facebook and suggests that Zuckerberg stole the idea from somebody else. Zuckerberg says he isn’t going to watch the film and Facebook has dismissed it as entertainment based on lies. Geez, can’t we at least give the guy a high-five for helping the 40K kids in Newark’s schools. That's the real world.
Of the timing of the announcement, Bloomberg reports that the official unveiling of the contribution—set for tomorrow on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”—was driven by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Zuckerberg has forged a relationship with both men over the last year as he dug deeper into the needs of America’s public schools.
The Facebook chief should be hailed for making the donation at the tender age of 26. He could have very easily followed the Warren Buffett model of donations granted during one's “golden years.” Thousands of schools across the land are in dire financial need. Zuckerberg has a lot of time and money (Forbes just listed Zuckerberg’s wealth at a cool $6.9B, up 245 percent over the past year) left.
If he spends the next 50 years funding education, just imagine the legacy that awaits. Zuckerberg will be remembered more for philanthropy than for Facebook. He could be the first Andrew Carnegie of the Internet age. Zuckerberg will have an image based on a lifetime of good deeds, rather than PR.