The paper owned by Amazons CEO, Jeff Bezos, has relentlessly investigated the president and Trump is out for revenge
Donald Trump’s savage attacks on Jeff Bezos and Amazon mark a sharp escalation in the president’s attacks on the free press. Trump v Bezos is really a proxy war: the president’s ultimate target is the Washington Post, which Bezos purchased from the Graham family in 2013.
The Post’s return to financial health since 2013 has been good for the media, which flourishes on healthy competitor. Since Trump became president, the Post and the New York Times have engaged in a thrilling, old-fashioned newspaper war, with each trading off, day after day, with deep reported stories and scoops that hold the Trump administration to account. The Post has been relentless in investigating the Trump administration’s abuse of power and the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.
Bezos isn’t known for ideological ardor or partisanship. He dedicated donations to support gay matrimony in his home nation, the other Washington, but hasn’t had a high political profile. Since the 2016 campaign, when Trump began attacking him on Twitter, Bezos has displayed restraint.
Despite the intensifying bitterness of Trump’s tweets about him, Bezos has avoided being positioned as Trump’s nemesis. To preserve its freshly recaptured global credibility, the Post can’t be seen as the opposition party.
Of all of Trump’s assaults on Bezos, the most poison lie is that he uses the Post to lobby for Amazon. When Bezos bought the paper, he did so with personal funds, to keep the newspaper’s interests and mission completely separate from Amazon’s. The Grahams would not have found him a fit owned if they supposed Bezos wanted to use the Post to wield influence.
According to the many journalists who work there, Bezos has had a light touch as owned, focusing on areas in which he can make a difference, such as improving the paper’s technology. He has entrusted the running of the paper to Marty Baron, hired by the former publisher Katharine Weymouth, whose contributions to safeguarding her inheritance have been insufficiently credited and appreciated.
If newspapers were originally foreign to Bezos, the Post’s special place in the history of American journalism has come to have great meaning for him, according to several close associates. In 2017, he purchased an antique clothes wringer, which is now displayed in a conference room at the Post’s downtown Washington DC headquarters that is dedicated to the Graham family.
The significance of the wringer is known by any student of Watergate. Furious over the Post’s coverage of Richard Nixon’s criminal cover-up, the then us attorney general, John Mitchell, threatened that “Katie Graham’s gonna get caught in a big fat wringer” if the Post continued publishing its Watergate tales. For years, Katharine Graham proudly wore a charm of a wringer on a necklace as the golden symbol of her defiance.
Graham risked fiscal wrecking by standing up to Nixon. Bezos, too, has much at risk. After a week of assaults from the president, Amazon considered its stock cost drop sharply( though it afterward recovered somewhat ). Bezos’s stratospheric net worth also took a reach.
There is real reason to fear that Trump can win his war against the press. He has significant friends, including Rupert Murdoch’s Fox empire and Sinclair Broadcasting, which controls local television stations across the country and is seeking to acquire more through a planned buy of the Tribune Company.
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