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Jeff Bezos Buys the Washington Post

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the every-supervillian-needs-his-own-paper dept.

The Media 150

schwit1 writes with word that Jeff Bezos decided to buy a news paper. Quoting the Washington Post: "The Washington Post Co. has agreed to sell its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, ending the Graham family's stewardship of one of America's leading news organizations after four generations. Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world's richest men, will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications to the Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses. Seattle-based Amazon will have no role in the purchase; Bezos himself will buy the news organization and become its sole owner when the sale is completed, probably within 60 days. The Post Co. will change to a new, still-undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without The Post thereafter." The WaPo Labs team (including CmdrTaco) were not part of the deal, but from the sound of it they will remain part of The Post Co. and haven't been axed.

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Obligatory: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481611)

"I think it would be fun to run a newspaper"--Charles Foster Kane

Sunday comics: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44483019)

Frame one: Bezos "I think I'll go out an buy a paper..."
Frame two: "...bird cage is getting a little rank."

Wash. Post will have Amazon-quality communication? (2)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year ago | (#44483233)

If you would like to know what sort of communicator Jeff Bezos is, look at Amazon.com. It's an annoying mess.

But maybe Jeff Bezos has a plan? No: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Buys Washington Post for $250 Million [dailyfinance.com] . Quote: "I don't want to imply that I have a worked-out plan, ..."

I joked with my wife about her criticism of me for buying something at a dollar store for $1 without a good plan of how I would use it.

Something about being a billionaire makes people crazy. I guess it's because they have no friends, or they think everyone wants to be with them because of their money.

Another quote from Bezos: "This will be uncharted terrain and it will require experimentation."

It's a sad, sad day for the employees at the Washington Post. It's a sad, sad day for the United States. I love the U.S., and I'm sad.

Better than nothing (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44483275)

I'm not sad. I'm interested to see what form the experimentation will take.

Basically any kind of unplanned seat of the pants experimenting is superior to the existing newspaper plan of trying to have the ship grind down the iceburg until they can pass through.

Re:Better than nothing (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44483363)

A few years ago when the Times bought the Boston Globe a friend and I mused that they could probably give every subscriber an e-reader that updates on a cellular network and/or WiFi and dispense with the dead tree stuff altogether. Of course, old people and some old-at-heart young people still love dead trees, so you sell your press operations with a long-term leaseback on the capacity. If you really execute well, you could even have had a repository for other published works on the same e-reader, and you could make a killing selling people content on their "free" tablet.

The thing that I find amazing is that Bezos is the one to launch a successful e-reader, and he did it the hard way! No subscription base to start from, no content to sell initially. Bezos had to convince people to buy the damn things at or above cost, not get them for free with a subscription they were already paying for. He had some huge disadvantages, but he wasn't stuck in the dark ages, and new he is buying the newspapers with his pocket change... just for his amusement. Adapt or die, indeed.

But, I agree, better than nothing. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year ago | (#44483409)

"The thing that I find amazing is that Bezos is the one to launch a successful e-reader..."

That's not quite how it happened, if I remember correctly. When the first e-reader became available, there was a huge amount of press about the new technology.

Amazon negotiated with publishers. with whom the company already had contracts, for e-books. There are a lot of people who can't or won't carry heavy books. It was easy to see there was a market.

Better than nothing, but not nearly enough. (2)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year ago | (#44483581)

"I'm interested to see what form the experimentation will take."

In my opinion, that does not show sufficient insight into the real challenges.

Jeff Bezos had an idea of selling books on the internet. He hired some people to write the software. He was excellent at believing fully in the idea and doing whatever it took to make it a success. He got enormous benefits from being first. But, that is basically all.

Managing world communications is extremely different. It is necessary to manage the people. It is necessary to appeal to reporters and know how to avoid their excesses. Every writer needs editors. Those editors must have an enormous amount of social insight. Both reporters and editors must be fascinated with the way the world works.

And there are far bigger challenges. A newspaper requires deep, detailed understanding of the world around us. Jeff Bezos does not have sufficient social sophistication. He has never managed anything as complicated as a communication company producing stories throughout the world.

For example, is the present Al Qaeda alert an attempt by people in the U.S. government to sell citizens on the NSA? Why does the media talk about Snowden rather than try to understand if the NSA is doing other things that are being hidden from citizens?

Who will run for president in the next election? It is necessary to start building relationships now.

How does a newspaper manager interest U.S. citizens more in the workings of the U.S. government? Many stories about politics are poorly written and focus on less important issues. What can be done about that?

In my opinion, Jeff Bezos has never shown the kind of abilities that are required.

Re:Better than nothing, but not nearly enough. (5, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44483685)

Are you under the impression that he's buying the company without its staff? Yes, a newspaper needs reporters and editors and printers. Guess what? The Washington Post already has those things!

Have you looked at the state of modern "journalism" in the US? It's a travesty, worse than the official government newspapers of many countries, today's "journalists" are essentially stenographers for the PTB. In many cases what is printed is nothing more than a slightly re-worded version of the official press release. In some cases they don't even bother with a re-write, and yes, I'm referring to "articles" printed in the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times and Chicago Tribune. (Still better than the "news stories" written, recorded, and distributed free of charge by industry and government organizations and broadcast on cable TV, but not much.)

Bezos lacks an understanding of how the world works? What planet are you living on? Here on Earth his company has operations in over 80 countries, is at the leading edge of the cloud computing revolution, has created several different markets for goods and services that never previously existed, has a logistics system that spans the planet, and generates more profit than the tax revenue of most countries.

You object that newspaper owners need to do things like get people interested in how the government works, reveal the reasons for the official spin on certain stories, and the like. Good points, but the CURRENT ownership isn't doing any of those things, and in fact has a history of cooperating with propaganda operations against US citizens dating back to the 1950s. Don't forget that Phil Graham freaking **RAN** the Project Mockingbird for the CIA.

All in all, I don't think that Bezos can do a worse job of running the Post than the Grahams currently are doing. At worst he might bankrupt it a few years earlier, at best he might make it into the sort of newspaper it always claimed to be.

Re:Better than nothing, but not nearly enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44484197)

"and generates more profit than the tax revenue of most countries"

Amazon either makes no profit, or very little profit. That is common knowledge.

See what you think when you consider more detail. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year ago | (#44484397)

It seems that you disagree not only with what I said, but with the staff of the Washington Post. See the WP's own article. [washingtonpost.com] They don't look happy.

You said, "Bezos lacks an understanding of how the world works? ... his company has operations in over 80 countries, is at the leading edge of the cloud computing revolution, has created several different markets for goods and services that never previously existed, has a logistics system that spans the planet, and generates more profit than the tax revenue of most countries."

Everything in that is Amazon's core business, very different from running a news organization. Whoever runs Amazon seems to be doing quite well. But Jeff Bezos is, more and more, distracting himself. Did you know that Bezos has a spaceflight company? [theverge.com] Quoting: "Blue Origin ... has dealt with some difficulties in recent years -- the company hasn't yet put a ship in orbit and suffered a serious setback after a prototype spacecraft crashed in August of 2011."

Another quote from the article: " In the past two years, the Post's uncertain future has led to an exodus of many of its top writers." The Washington Post is doing very badly with its present management, and that management is rapidly becoming worse.

Quoting that article again: "Last week, the Washington Post Company reported an operating loss of $49.3 million in the first six months of 2013, compared to a $33.2 million loss for the same period a year earlier..."

And... Jeff Bezos won't be running the Washington Post. Quoting Jeff Bezos: [theverge.com] ' "I won't be leading The Washington Post day-to-day. I am happily living in 'the other Washington' where I have a day job that I love. Besides that, the Post already has an excellent leadership team that knows much more about the news business than I do, and I'm extremely grateful to them for agreeing to stay on." '

Jeff Bezos says the Washington Post "already has an excellent leadership team..." That team is losing HUGE amounts of money.

Continuing, Jeff Bezos says: "... that knows much more about the news business than I do."

That was my point.

You have disagreed not only with me, but with Jeff Bezos himself.

Re:Wash. Post will have Amazon-quality communicati (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44484169)

The way i look at it is its better that he spend it on local stupid shit as opposed to buying Russian fighter jets like Travolta so he can play "Top Gun 4 Real" or buying some insanely fast sports car that he'd probably total in a month. Of course we all know he might as well have bought an 8-track factory so a fool and his money comes to mind, but considering how much crazy dangerous shit you can buy with that money buying a newspaper? kinda tame actually.

Re: Wash. Post will have Amazon-quality communicat (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44484713)

'buying some insanely fast sports car that he'd probably total in a month...'

Nobody buys them, they rent those. I mean everybody besides Nicolas Cage, he even buys a castle instead of renting a room.

Re: Wash. Post will have Amazon-quality communicat (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44484687)

I guess just deleting the cookies on exit will no longer be enough to read the paper for free when the Internet guys start running newspapers.

Re:Obligatory: (1)

waveman (66141) | about a year ago | (#44484021)

"Poor man wanna be rich. Rich man wanna be king. And the king ain't satisfied till he rules everything" Bruce Springsteen.

Citizen Bezos (1, Offtopic)

hutsell (1228828) | about a year ago | (#44481623)

What's next? Will the mountain side he owns [wikipedia.org] in West Texas for the eternal clock being built by the Long Now Foundation also include a castle?

Haha, poor Taco (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481641)

"Woohoo! I'm going to work at Amazon! Free Prime!"

"So, wait, what, it's not Amazon? Just the owner of Amazon? Okay! Still pretty great!"

"Ummm... guys... it says he's not buying us... we're just left to rot here on the carcass. Anyone known any good jobs sites?"

Re:Haha, poor Taco (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481725)

Amazon employees do not get free prime

Re:Haha, poor Taco (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481743)

You must be a hit at parties.

Re:Haha, poor Taco (1, Funny)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44481803)

He was joking... Is your aspergers really that severe?

Re: Haha, poor Taco (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482039)

False. My aspergers is not that severe, it is that awesome.

Re: Haha, poor Taco (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44483997)

Not getting jokes is awesome.

Re:Haha, poor Taco (0, Redundant)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#44481789)

Hey, come on someone with mod points. This post is funny. Mod it up, up, up.

Shipping. (5, Funny)

harrkev (623093) | about a year ago | (#44481647)

He paid more than $25 for the newspaper. I hope he got free shipping.

Re:Shipping. (5, Funny)

Highland Deck Box (2786087) | about a year ago | (#44481779)

I heard the purchase price was $247 million, but he bought $3 million worth of pens to qualify for super saver delivery.

Re:Shipping. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481881)

He paid more than $25 for the newspaper.

he might have overpaid.

Re:Shipping. (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44482063)

More likely his teen son borrowed dad's iPad that was logged into Amazon.com and accidentally bought the whole newpaper while trying to look up what a "newspaper" was due to the whole one-click thing. I guess that sort of thing happens. After a stern talking to the teen will probably be sentenced to trying to turn a profit on the purchase as an object lesson to be careful touching around on dad's tablet.

Re:Shipping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482935)

Bezos Jr. doesn't even get a Kindle?

Re:Shipping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44483193)

Abject lesson?

Re:Shipping. (2)

c4tp (526292) | about a year ago | (#44483025)

And each edition will arrive 10 days later than he would have liked.

Downhill (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | about a year ago | (#44481649)

Downhill now. Not that it was at great heights. But more safe to ignore.

Cool.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481665)

And i will still rape his data - A win win situation indeed.

good for journalism (2, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#44481671)

The Post has been lagging for years and is often accused of a neo-con bias.

Once it was on par with the New York Times as a 'national newspaper of record' but since the 2000s it has been more like the Wall Street Journal.

I think this sale will be good for journalism because Bezos will bring fresh hype and generate discussion of media ownership and what defines a 'profitable' newspaper. Bezos has shown to have the capacity to see past the horizons that usually limit tech companies...even 'innovative' ones like Apple.

For me Amazon always works. Their mp3's have always had non-DRM options. Amazon EC2 is expensive for what you get but it's legit.

Re:good for journalism (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44481689)

He's keeping the same Chief Editor, so its not clear to me how much it will change.

I expect him to make it free on Kindle. Seems like a long way to go to get content.

Re:good for journalism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481833)

He will keep the same editor as long as he writes what Bezos likes... Well, that is the way Murdoch does it.

Re:good for journalism (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44482583)

He will keep the same editor as long as he writes what Bezos likes... Well, that is the way Murdoch does it.

Murdoch's strategy is to provide content that draws in the masses. Fox News is conservative because he thought he could make a profit on it that way. If you look at Murdoch's political beliefs, in general he seems more liberal (he believes in Climate Change, for example).

In short, Murdoch tells his people to write what makes money. Not what is right. And that's exactly what, for example, Bill O'Reilly does.

Re:good for journalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482669)

Exactly, with the majority of press at least a little bit left leaning there is a huge market for conservative leaning news, whether it's relevant or honest news is beside the point. Bring in people like Hannity and O'Reilly to lead the circle jerk and profits cum surging in. Corporations don't have morals, much like the NSA, they just do what they're good at, it's up to society on how much they're restrained.

Re:good for journalism (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#44481837)

He's keeping the same Chief Editor, so its not clear to me how much it will change.

I expect him to make it free on Kindle. Seems like a long way to go to get content.

I would expect both of those are wrong. You don't buy a company and hire the head of it ... at first. You almost always RIF them once you've got a replacement ready.

And Bezos bought it, not Amazon. Why would he give his content away?

Re:good for journalism (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#44481843)

I would expect both of those are wrong. You don't buy a company and hire the head of it ... at first. You almost always RIF them once you've got a replacement ready.

And Bezos bought it, not Amazon. Why would he give his content away?

Fire, not hire. Damn autocomplete.

Re:good for journalism (4, Insightful)

datavirtue (1104259) | about a year ago | (#44481921)

Simple. Bezos answers to Bezos and Amazon answers to stock holders. Now Bezos can easily afford the post, float the content to Amazon (which enriches him as well, since he owns part of it) and the stockholders and pundits have nothing but good things to say about the whole thing. I would have done the same thing. Had he purchased it with Amazon money a whole freaking slurry of controversy and weeks of discussions would have ensued among various stakeholders and finance media. Who wants that? This may be a result of the trend of the stock market acting short-term. It is much easier for Bezos to purchase it and "sell" the content to Amazon than it would be to field the angst over Amazon purchasing it and trying to monetize it.

Re:good for journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481715)

Their mp3's have always had non-DRM options.

Only because they had the luxury of not having legacy contracts before selling music like Apple did. Steve Jobs was calling for DRM-free music 7 months before Amazon even started selling MP3s.

Re:good for journalism (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481879)

Why does it seem everyone forgets what was legally available before Apple started iTunes? Apple's biggest contribution wasn't that they have music available. It was that they finally convinced/forced the major music conglomerates to license the music for a sensible price, with sensible DRM, on a per song basis.

Before that you had the pirate mp3 sites and file-sharing programs at one end of the spectrum, and overpriced offerings with horrendous DRM from the publishing houses at the other end. That included physical CDs with rootkits.

The other aspect of iTunes I don't see anymore is that a large fraction of the sale price of a song goes directly to the artist. Before this, they were lucky to get pennies per song, with no way to verify numbers sold.

I don't even use iTunes, or digital music hardly at all. I've only recently added some of my CDs to my smartphone, and that only because my car stereo is broken. But I can remember all the praise for Apple when they broke the music industry's death grip on digital distribution.

Posting AC because I have probably offended someone here, and don't need the grief that brings.

Jobs's real innovation (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#44482915)

this:

Apple's biggest contribution wasn't that they have music available. It was that they finally convinced/forced the major music conglomerates to license the music for a sensible price, with sensible DRM, on a per song basis.

I share parent's frustration. I used to tell my students that 'Steve Jobs' "innovation" wasn't making an mp3 player, Creative Labs did that, it was getting the RIAA labels to go along with iTunes'

Re:good for journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44483699)

Why does it seem everyone forgets what was legally available before Apple started iTunes? Apple's biggest contribution wasn't that they have music available. It was that they finally convinced/forced the major music conglomerates to license the music for a sensible price, with sensible DRM, on a per song basis.

Before that you had the pirate mp3 sites and file-sharing programs at one end of the spectrum, and overpriced offerings with horrendous DRM from the publishing houses at the other end. That included physical CDs with rootkits.

It's also worth pointing out that while there were some DRM-free legit online music stores before or contemporaneous with iTunes (albeit with limited selection, like eMusic,) it was arguably the high-profile launch of Amazon's (drm-free) MP3 store that forced Apple to drop DRM in their music store.

Re: good for journalism (1)

carou (88501) | about a year ago | (#44483869)

iTunes had a DRM-free deal with EMI, which was launched as iTunes+, before Amazon launched their MP3 store.

the CEO of a major fortune company is not going (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481795)

Having a CEO of a major fortune 500 company is not going to improve objectivity.

Wapo and WSJ have 'neocon' editorial boards, but if you cant understand the difference bewteen editorial boards and the straight news reporting then, well, i dont know what to tell you.

WaPo was one of the first to break the Tom Drake story. WSJ has done dozens of great stories on the financial fraud that caused the great recession, including basically breaking the Magnetar Capital story.

Under Bezos, none of those stories are going to happen.

no effect? (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#44482951)

Having a CEO of a major fortune 500 company is not going to improve objectivity.

Are you saying that the owner outright of a newspaper doesn't have the ability to affect its content?

Or are you saying that all changes in newpaper leadership always lead to **more** bias?

it has to be one or the other for your argument to be consistent...and neither of those options are valid

ownership matters...even if they 'keep the same editorial staff' or w/e...it matters

will the paper have bias? yes...but all papers have **some** bias...see, the difference is, some view it as their **job** as journalists to eject or minimize bias, other news orgs do not put objectivity as a high priority

Bezos will IMHO make the paper less biased than it is now...an improvement. For the reasons I stated.

Re:good for journalism (1, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#44482007)

Oh noes...a neocon bias. I mean just look, you've got all those other newspapers with a liberal bias including the NYT, and I hear nary a complaint. Then again, considering how hard and fast liberal papers are devaluing that's kind of moot isn't it? Take a look at the boston globe.

Re:good for journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482173)

you've got all those other newspapers with a liberal bias including the NYT, and I hear nary a complaint.

Since when? People bitch about them all the time.

Re:good for journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44484009)

Since the nanosecond before Mashiki himself decided to stard bitching about it. Right wingers, right whingers.

Re:good for journalism (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44482013)

I think this transaction was sort of like my wife coming home with a pair of fancy shoes she would never wear in a million years: "They were on sale."

Re:good for journalism (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44483497)

The subject should have a whole lot of question marks in it. The reason so many MSM companies are flailing/failing is that they all spew the same propaganda and people started to catch on to the game.

No matter what Bezos intentions are it won't fix the Government enforcement of media outlets as propaganda centers, prosecution of whistle blowers, abuse of journalists, and criminal methods of finding sources.

Re:good for journalism (3, Informative)

readin (838620) | about a year ago | (#44484663)

The Post may lean left less than it used to on international affairs, but it is still very far to the left on everything else and is hardly comparable to the Wall Street Journal which actually leans right on most things. As a conservative I long ago learned to live with the fact that most of the news media leaned left. The WP did so, but at least seemed to make an effort to focus on the reporting rather than the propaganda. However their reporting on illegal immigration seemed so deliberately dishonest and manipulative that I was glad to cancel my subscription.

Sad day (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year ago | (#44481711)

Booooo hissssss

I remember (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44481731)

...when newspapers feared the rise of the internet. Now we have all the new money buying one outright. Is Jeff going to keep it going out of nostalgia or dig a hole and give it a quiet burial out of regard for the old guard? Or will it become his personal editorial platform...

Reasons to buy any newspaper:
- Foreign bureau access
- Subscriber base
- Political posture
- Brain trust
- Support a specific community
- Keep a tradition going
- Take control of an adversary or adversarial outlet

I'm going with the political angle on this one...

Re:I remember (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44481749)

"I think it would be fun to run a newspaper." - Citizen Kane.

I choose not to be cynical (4, Interesting)

goldcd (587052) | about a year ago | (#44481851)

The first batch of internet-made billionaires seem to be a reasonable nice bunch (by which I can only mean agree with my ideals).
They made more money than they knew what to do with, and quite a few of them have decided to take that wad and make a mark on the world with it.
I have no f'in idea if Elon will die on Mars, if Bill will eradicate Malaria, or if Jeff can generate unique editorial content to shape his country - but there's a little part of me that's just screaming 'yes'. He's not done it to make money, he's done it because he wants to - god knows, but I want to see what happens when journalists have a platform, the prestige and a backer with large piles of fuck-you-world money.
I just have a feeling that this is a bigger deal than Murdoch buying MySpace for twice the money.

Re:I choose not to be cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481905)

So you believe in working people to death in sweatshops while you bask in your billions?

Re:I choose not to be cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481983)

There are people shoveling asphalt in the sun for less money than those Amazon jobs pay.

Re:I choose not to be cynical (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about a year ago | (#44482079)

yeah, go prison labor!

Re:I choose not to be cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482207)

Nope, actually they don't. Such people on average make $3-5 more than an Amazon warehouse worker.

Re:I choose not to be cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44483547)

oh boo fucking hoo, its their fault for being dumb as a brick and having 2 teeth

Re:I choose not to be cynical (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#44483625)

Don't cry, wait a bit and there won't be very many Amazon warehouse workers to worry about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWNuaPE4DTc [youtube.com]
I'm sure they can eventually have a robot that can replaces those pickers. Right now it might be just a bit expensive.

Amazon owns Kiva:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-19/amazon-acquires-kiva-systems-in-second-biggest-takeover.html [bloomberg.com]

I pity your extreme naivety (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#44482083)

The top .00001% of the world have only grown richer during this past decade of global economic crisis. They have enriched themselves to a greater extent than in all human history combined. The new oligharchs on the planet have the power to buy governments wholesale, just look at the machinations of recent elections in any democracy on the planet....and you think this is all for your benefit? The joke is on you.

Re:I pity your extreme naivety (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44484457)

Hahaha, no. The economic prosperity for the lower classes is pretty anomalous. In the past the rich didn't by government because they defined the government. They were the royalty, the nobility, and the military leadership. Even today, the wealth of the world is still many times more evenly distributed than it was 100 years ago. Things are just reverting to their natural order, which is despotism and feudalism. It'll probably take another world war or something as dramatic as the industrial revolution for that to be changed again.

Re:I choose not to be cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482895)

>> He's not done it to make money, he's done it because he wants to - god knows, but I want to see what happens when journalists have a platform, the prestige and a backer with large piles of fuck-you-world money

Wonder how that is working out for NY Times and Carlos Slim.

Read a newspaper for yesterday's news (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#44481895)

If you want instant, as it happens, look to twitter, the elite blogs of independent journalists on the ground, in the trenches, as they tweet, youtube, and post instant commentary and analysis. The revolution will be recorded in a newspaper somewhere, but it will be a day late, and a dollar more.

Re:Read a newspaper for yesterday's news (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#44482099)

If you want instant, as it happens [...]

Fortunately, "instant, as it happens" is frequently inaccurate and generally a waste of time.

I'm not in Venice, CA. No one I know is in Venice, CA. So I don't really need "instant, as it happens" information on things that happen in Venice, CA [latimes.com] . I can certainly wait until the next day to find out what happened. I'd rather have accurate information the next day than misinformation now.

Re:Read a newspaper for yesterday's news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44483381)

Tried to have this discussion with my brother-in-law. He insisted instant was better even if it was inaccurate. I'm not even sure how you continue the conversation at that point when someone tells you point blank they'd rather have information now that's completely wrong than wait for something that's accurate.

I'd like to say it's just an age thing, but I really do think we've managed to raise a complete generation of idiots (not that I think he's specifically an idiot, but twitter in general has managed to make "social media" even worse than it was before).

Re:Read a newspaper for yesterday's news (2)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#44483633)

Even on Slashdot many people post before reading or researching anything ;).

And it's not like the editors make submissions more accurate - sometimes it seems as if they add errors to get more useless posts.

Re:Read a newspaper for yesterday's news (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44483399)

Yes, I think I agree. While I have the same impulse as any other human to want to know what the hell is going on right now, I have come to realize that I'm probably getting dumber by watching "real-time coverage". Unless the event is happening near me, I probably don't need to know until they get it all sorted out. The Boston bombing coverage was just... awful. CNN kept reporting that they had suspects in custody and whatnot and then retracting it. Terrible.

Re:Read a newspaper for yesterday's news (1)

superdude72 (322167) | about a year ago | (#44482789)

As a former print / online journalist who quit the business because he didn't want to take a second job at Denny's to pay the bills, I'll venture a guess that most of these "elite bloggers" would welcome the opportunity to work at an organization that can afford to pay them what they're worth and provide them the resources to do their jobs.

Whether Bezos will offer that remains to be seen. He certainly could afford to do so, if he chose.

On the other hand, Amazon isn't exactly a shining beacon of progressive business and labor practices.

On the other hand, plenty of plutocrats who were not exactly friendly with organized labor have run journalistic enterprises that did MOSTLY good work. I can't think of a single newspaper of record in the United States that doesn't side with the business side of any labor issue, or with the establishment in general.

Re:Read a newspaper for yesterday's news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482799)

and half the time they get it wrong because they don't check to see if the information is valid, it's all about getting the scoop, whether it's true or not ... #oopsMyBad #sorryAboutTheBeatupBlackKid

Re:I remember (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44481923)

- Content

Re:I remember (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year ago | (#44482097)

You missed another reason, which is as an investment. Jeff may have some "revolutionary" idea for monetizing a newspaper online (that other print media companies have failed to work out) that he's willing to gamble a lot of money on, and the results could pay off big if he increases the value of the Washington Post in the process.

Missing Option (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year ago | (#44482161)

I'm going with the political angle on this one...

I don't think so. I think the sales of the Boston Globe and the Washington Post this week show that old guard newspapers are now conspicuous consumption options for the super rich.

Re:I remember (3)

SavvyPlayer (774432) | about a year ago | (#44482299)

Three more reasons for Jeff to buy any newspaper:

  - Augment the Prime program with new premium content.
  - New (free or free w/Prime) content for Kindle
  - Show NYT and WSJ how to properly model a digital subscription program as they have clearly not yet figured out just how overpriced they are for a nearly zero-overhead distribution medium.

Re:I remember (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year ago | (#44483067)

...when newspapers feared the rise of the internet. Now we have all the new money buying one outright. ...

Not the first time this has happened. Remember AOL/Time-Warner?

Editorials (2, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44481739)

Expect lots of pro-H1B editorials. No wait, they already have those.

Could be worse - at least it's not Murdoch.

Re:Editorials (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44481931)

I do wonder though if Murdoch is trying to sell off his news papers.

Re:Editorials (1)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | about a year ago | (#44483271)

I do wonder though if Murdoch is trying to sell off his news papers.

He's been meeting with the owners of Charmin I think to talk about that very topic.

This makes me nervous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481745)

I know he's saying that Amazon and the WP will be kept separate. But Amazon, along with Google, is in the forefront of the intersection of digital technology and commerce, and tends to be an early arrival at many points of controversy with respect to privacy, intellectual property and copyright, employment, energy policies, taxation, and the replacement of the old economy with the new. From that POV, the Washington Post was a great bastion of independence until today.

No time for a proper trolling... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481753)

Faggots.

Re:No time for a proper trolling... (0)

losfromla (1294594) | about a year ago | (#44482085)

lolz

the end of journalism. see All the President's Men (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481773)

the only reason that we ever found out about Nixon abusing the FBI to persecute his political opponents was because the Washington Post owners were willing to challenge the government.

Jeff Bezos thinks one-click should be patented. He is never going to challenge the government on anything. He is a pasty faced little woos with no cojones, who owns what are essentially waarehouse sweatshops that have destroyed brick and mortar stores.

I can't imagine where his newspaper will come down on editorial questions, on decisions about what stories to cover, etc.

I'm guessing it won't be patent law or labor rights.

Fuck Bezos and everything he stands for. Just like a Russian oligarch.

Re:the end of journalism. see All the President's (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481863)

"the only reason that we ever found out about Nixon abusing the FBI to persecute his political opponents was because the Washington Post owners were willing to challenge the government."

Too bad they only do this when a republican is in the white house.

Re:the end of journalism. see All the President's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44484381)

wish i had mod points, as your observation goes right over the heads of the clueless Progressives

I really just wanted an excuse to make that joke. (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | about a year ago | (#44481909)

What is it with all these newspapers changing hands lately? Has their lack of relevancy finally reached the point where they've simply been relegated to the status of being used as trading cards for rich people? Does Rupert Murdoch's kid ride around with a couple Brit tabloids clipped in his bicycle spokes? (Actually the noise would probably prove less obnoxious than the news.)

Re:I really just wanted an excuse to make that jok (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#44482115)

I speak only for myself, but I only buy around half a dozen issues of any newspaper/magazine in a given year. There is simply too much quality content out there on the 'net for FREE, produced by predominantly independent sources, and untainted by corporate tentacles. I'm sure owning one's own newspaper adds a few points to one's ego, in which case the price of $250 million may seem like a bargain indeed.

Re:I really just wanted an excuse to make that jok (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#44483641)

Links to that quality content please!

Coming Soon! (3, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44482033)

One-click micro-transaction articles. :P

$250M (4, Funny)

malacandrian (2145016) | about a year ago | (#44482135)

He paid $250M? Doesn't he know it's only $1.99 on Kindle?

Re:$250M (1)

Hester Anderson (2863557) | about a year ago | (#44483803)

Just google how to get around the pay wall. PAY NOTHING!

Re: $250M (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#44484343)

The Washington Post isn't available on Kindle, but it is available on the iPad. Or at least that is the case on the UK stores of both. I can get the New York Times and loads of other US papers on the UK Kindle Store.

Mere Coincidence (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year ago | (#44482387)

1981-1983 I was the local support team leader in Miami for the Space Studies Institute sponsoring public awareness events about space settlement. Some punk gave his valedictorian speech on space settlement during Miami Palmetto Senior High School's 1982 graduation ceremonies.

Bought dogs, bought news (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44482553)

Is buying a newspaper like buying politicians? For what purpose, to what end? Why do I get the feeling that this is not going to end well.

Weight on a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482569)

He paid $250 million in cash? That's 2.3 tonnes of bills, according to some quick googling and Wolfram Alpha work (based on the assumption that $1 million in $100 bills weighs approx. 20.4 Lbs)

Bezos might drag Washington Post into the 20th Cen (2)

leftie (667677) | about a year ago | (#44482587)

They'll fight being dragged out their New Guilded Age kicking and screaming the whole way.

Journalism independance? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#44482591)

Is there anything set up so that the journal is still be able to tell us whether Amazon is involved in dirty stuff with the NSA?

Content for the Kindle (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44482673)

All with Amazon branding to boot for a mere $250 mil. With the Boston Globe just getting sold for $70M [huffingtonpost.com] it seems as though Newspapers are cheap enough.

Now Bezos can pump the WP articles onto Kindles royalty free. It's a bit of a shame though, I do like the WP and had a subscription when I lived in DC.

New Kindle Fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44484593)

The new Kindle Fire is the greatest technological breakthrough since Gutenberg.
-- The Washington Post

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