Memo to Post staff: Effective immediately, no AC in newsroom, 13 hour shifts, work schedules at OUR discretion, metal detectors. Love, Jeff
— billmon (@billmon1) August 5, 2013
The Amazon-Bezos underbelly, like Graham and Kaplan. Allentown Call could get Pulitzer. http://t.co/9na4TJb2dL
— Thomas Edsall (@Edsall) August 6, 2013
Via Billmon, Ian Welsh:
… Even though newspapers don’t have the reach television does, they determine the stories of the day—they control the news cycle more than any other part of the media. More than that, newspapers are intelligence bureaus. Rupert Murdoch, no fool, would spend hours on the phone with beat reporters, picking their brains…
Andrew Ross Sorkin, professional bankster suckup at the NYTimes, is just grateful Bezos is distracting everyone’s attention from his own employers’ deeply-discounted sale of the Boston Globe:
… If it wasn’t clear that newspapers have become trophies for the wealthy with an interest in journalism or power — or a combination of both — it should be now.
“These deals don’t make financial sense,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst at Outsell, a research and consulting firm for the publishing industry.
He suggested that Mr. Bezos’s valuation of The Washington Post was a generous gift. “It is a combination of good will and real estate,” he said, before adding, “I mean good will in the moral sense, not the financial sense.”
Mr. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon.com, is paying cash for The Washington Post out of his own personal wealth, currently estimated at more than $25 billion. The Post will cost him roughly 1 percent of what he owns in Amazon stock alone.
Some billionaires like cars, yachts and private jets. Others like newspapers.
“Newspapers have gone from the public markets to the hands of a relatively few billionaires who have an appetite for social, civic and financial roles,” Mr. Doctor said…
NYMag made a collection of tweets from WaPo employees:
Apparently Jeff Bezos is "here for the right reasons," which is a thing they really respect on "The Bachelor."
— Lindsay Applebaum (@lindsapple) August 5, 2013
So we (and by we, I mean even the political junkies in the family) googled Bezos, and his hobbies.
Outcome Mirky, Ask Again.
Jeebus – it will cost him 1% of part of his net worth?
I just can’t… it isn’t even the Bezos, it’s the fucking Bozos masquerading as reporters… I mean, how much ghastlier could the WaPo be? They’ve been ghastly for years.
Not really sure why folks are getting riled up about the sale.
Everyone agrees traditional newspapers are in decline and require change, retooling and internet savvy.
Which takes money.
If someone with or with ready access to the scratch necessary comes knocking, why not?
Wouldn’t be surprised to see the new regime have WaPo mutate into a different name (The American Post?) and attempt going national as a competitor to USA Today (the WaPo offices/building were not included in the sale).
And the other entities included in the sale can be given a shot in the arm and spun off and sold separately down the line. As mentioned earlier, the Spanish-language paper that comes with the sale is prime for investment to make it into a salable property on its own, bringing an excellent return on investment.
@NotMax: Some of the things Bezos seems to be interested in Could mean he’s not insane and might have some redeeming features. I mean, if he wants to discover FTL drive, go for it, guy.
He’d be a fool to change the name. Sigh, of course the WaPo has been pushing RW crap for years, and what’s terrifying is that even actually intelligent ppl who grew up with it often don’t get the sliminess of the paper’s editor now…
Villago Delenda Est has it right. Srsly. Probably we should pay attention to the Spanish language paper’s treatment…
Sorry to be falling over (PDT here, yawn)
@NotMax: So if the offices/buildings were not included, I guess in the near future, when we see one of the WP folk on the TV, they’ll be in a warehouse over by Dullas.
The proof will be found in what the editorial page looks like a year from now. If Jennifer Rubin and Charles Krauthamer are gone, this will be a net positive. If they’re still around spewing Islamophobic bigotry, then probably a net negative (as a neocon paper in the hands of a robber baron can only get worse).
That memo says “expect layoffs, pay cuts, automation, and being replaced by cheaper younger workers”.
I do believe he’s telling the truth about not going to get too involved in the day to day. But it’s clear he’s going to downsize, outsource, and race to the bottom.
Might not be a bad thing overall for the village fatcats at the Post. Hopefully he’ll start with the Sally Quinns and the overfed op-ed cruft.
Nothing like getting a real first-hand experience of getting shanked by the invisible hand of free-market capitalism to shake up the villagers. If Bezos invests in reporters and fires all the overpaid bloviators, he’ll have done some good for society. Remains to be seen, however.
Bezos is a skimmer, a guy who will use any trick to screw his competitors and suck value from the economy. An avowed Libertarian who frequently tells the horrified editorial board of the Seattle Times that he owes Seattle and Washington state nothing – nad-zip-zero – for the low cost, low tax petri dish that made him $25billion. Hi sole civic contribution has been to finance charter schools initiatives and fund the fight (against Bill Gates Sr.) against a state income tax.
The really interesting thing about this is that the WaPo, even more than the AIPAC house organ, is the Newspaper of Record for Defense contractors. If we get some improvement on those two fronts, great. Because other than on those two issues, the dude is pure, white Koch.
James E. Powell
I’m not hearing or reading people riled up. I’m reading a lot of guessing about what Bezos intends to do with the Washington Post. I think there is general agreement that, as a newspaper, it cannot get much worse.
Whether there is any good that can come from a new owner is debatable. Bezos might be a genius with good intentions, a lot of great ideas, and a list of talented people he intends to hire. But the Washington Post is still a newspaper.
Do newspapers still determine the stories of the day? Maybe it’s summer, maybe I’ve become a little estranged from politics lately, but I don’t really think so anymore. I believe that this development is not very important. TV is more important than newspapers. The paper editions will die, almost all of them. Some online editions will survive. 2 days ago, Paul Krugman wrote about Nate Silver and the brand he built for himself. This is probably the future of journalism. Journalists will mostly work on their own, turn into brands, maybe cooperate in some way so you can access several people by a single mouseclick/fingertip. Social media will do the rest. New journalists will emerge from covering local events. Academic professionals will attempt to earn a nice extra by converting scientific articles into mass-digestible pieces. The brain-pooling function of newspapers is going to be picked up by the web.
Rather than “riled,” then, how about deeming it knee-jerk negativity?
The comments at the NY Magazine link are pretty funny. The staffers’ tweets are what one would expect from Post people – a mix of sucking up and “surprise”. The fact that they seem to think they would be immune from what normal American workers experience on a daily basis tells us everything we need to know about our Village Elite (but I’m sure no one at this site is surprised!)
@James E. Powell:
I don’t believe that. The post has always been a local newspaper first and a national paper second. People outside of DC don’t read the metro section, or see local stories on the front page on the news stand.
When the gutting of the post continues, the local coverage will probably suffer worst at the hands of an owner that isn’t local.
Fred Hiatt shown the door?
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Dollared: So sounds like the typical libertarian game of buying a soapbox to lecture everyone else on how wonderful they are. yawn
So are we gonna see “Boycott Amazon!!” from the wingers?
It seems that Katherine Weymouth is being kept on. I understand that it might help with the transition but she is a large part of the problem at the WaPo so I hope she goes.
People can kvetch about rich men owning the papers but I don’t think it did anything good for the newspapers themselves to be owned by publicly traded companies either.
Yup, Katharine Weymouth’s got to go. She can find some other DC power job. She only looks like her grandmother.
I read the expose on Amazon warehouse conditions that’s linked by Thomas Edsall.
Deplorable treatment of employees and particularly temps. Setting a pace that’s not humanly possible; writing the workers up for any possible offense.
It’s Dickens in the internet age. Bangladesh in the Lehigh Valley, in a building that’s less likely to fall down.
From The Morning Call, in PA’s Lehigh Valley, published in September 2011: Inside Amazon’s Warehouse
Makes me ashamed to order from Amazon (and I shop for used books regularly).