Trump calls the paper the “Amazon Washington Post” and its attempts to say that he’s lying are not convincing.
Politico admits in a headline that Trump is right to call Jeff Bezos’ paper the Amazon Washington post. While the column is filled with anti-Trump statements, it concedes the basic point that Amazon and it’s founder, Jeff Bezos, are the reason why the Washington Post still exists.
Jack Shafer, Politico’s senior media writer, writes, “Trump Is Right. It Is the Amazon Washington Post.”
President Donald Trump’s insistence on calling the Washington Post the “Amazon Washington Post” riles the newspaper’s executive editor, Martin Baron, to no end. He wants one and all to know that the online retailer and the newspaper are distinct corporate entities.
“There isn’t anybody here who is paid by Amazon,” Baron told the New York Times on Monday. “Not one penny.”
Further distancing Amazon from the Washington Post, Baron said that the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, involves himself only in the paper’s business doings, not its news coverage. “He’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story,” Baron said.
I have little doubt that this is true, but Baron’s argument is a distinction without a difference. Bezos became the world’s richest person through his labors at Amazon, which he still controls. He purchased the Post in 2013 with $250 million of his Amazon pin money. While it might be more accurate to call the newspaper the “Bezos Washington Post,” seeing as Bezos and Amazon are joined at the hip, it’s not ridiculous to speak of the paper—at least in the vernacular—as the Amazon Washington Post. If Amazon didn’t exist, it’s unlikely the Washington Post would exist in its current form.
The column also casts a shadow on Donald Trump by claiming he is trying to get around the First Amendment to hit back at Bezos.
Why drag Amazon into his grudge against the Post? To do media organizations real harm, Trump understands that he must threaten some aspect of their business not protected by the penumbra of the First Amendment.
So far, all Trump has done is talk, but the government has been going around the First Amendment to draft the corporate media into the state media for a long time before Trump. For example, read this 2009 column about GE, owner of NBC, and how they benefited from the Wall Street bailout and would benefit from Obama’s Cap and Trade. When NBC propagandized the criminal Wall Street bailout to their audience, they posed as neutral journalists, never admitting that they were direct corporate beneficiaries.
Trump is disrupting the cozy relationship between the media and the regime. I believe in the First Amendment but I’m cynical about the media’s appeal to it against Trump.
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