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Jeff Bezos buys Washington Post – does it matter?

August 5, 2013
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Jeff-Bezos-640x359Fresh on the heals of Boston Red Sox owner John Henry buying the Globe  for a reported $70 million, we hear that the Patrick Stewartian Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos (pictured) is shelling out a quarter billion (i.e. one-fourth the price of instagram) for the iconic Washington Post. Here’s the New York Times’ take.

Like all multi-billionaires, Bezos is a bit of a weird bird. He is reportedly spending “at least $42 million” on a clock inside a mountain that is supposed to last 10,000 years.

Like all multi-billionaires, he is also a consolidator and integrator of businesses—as these selections at Long Reads will make clear.  (the top link doesn’t work; sorry. The main point is: vertical integration and wiping out competition).

Politically, Bezos leans just slightly Democrat, according to the tallies done by Open Secrets.  But, like all multi-billionaires, he pays his workers no more than he is forced to—and often a bit less than it takes for a human being to fully function in a first world economy. There were a spate of stories about the conditions inside Amazon.com’s warehouses (this Mojo piece, which does not specify the company warehouse it exposes, epitomizes the genre)  and this class action lawsuit shows the story has legs.  It stands to reason that, whatever grand plan Bezos has for integrating WaPo into his burgeoning web-based empire, one should not expect to read in that paper many exposes about Amazon.com’s pay and working conditions.

After all, when was the last time you saw a tough story on Kaplan in the Washington Post?

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