Writer pleads for the Post’s new owner to explain his politics
Jeff Bezos, new owner of the Washington Post, is regarded as a secretive man. But newspaper proprietorship inevitably intrigues the public. Well, to be honest, it is much more intriguing to journalists.
But Bezos, rather than Amazon, has bought the paper. So it’s his own character, most notably his politics, that are under the microscope. The latest example is a piece run by the Post and written by Allan Sloan, Fortune magazine’s senior editor-at-large, who formerly worked for the Post.
“Call me naive,” writes Sloan, “but I think that if you’re going to own a high-class journalistic enterprise like the Post, whose job is to call powerful forces to account, you should expect to be called to account yourself.”
He continues with that argument:
“As long as Bezos was doing nothing but running Amazon, there wasn’t much reason for people to care about his politics…
But when you’re about to become a major force in the political life of Washington by buying a diminished but still immensely powerful outlet like the Post, that’s a different story.”
No matter what Bezos says… he’s almost certain to begin imposing his standards and beliefs on the Post, or at least on its opinion pages.”
So Sloan, unable to gain an interview, but eager to know Bezos’s “business and personal philosophies” and to test the claim of Bezos’s alleged libertarianism, pleads for the man to step forward:
“A core belief of libertarianism is that ideas will prevail in a free marketplace. And if you know about markets, you know the key to making them efficient and fair is for as many players to have as much information as possible.”
He concludes with a mention of Rupert Murdoch. When he acquired the New York Post in 1976 from its liberal owner, Dorothy Schiff, “he assured the paper’s staff that he’d retain the Post’s essential character as a serious newspaper.” Sloan adds: “And we all know how that turned out.”
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