Jeff Bezos, Amazon, And The Wavering Pretense Of American Free Press
The past few weeks have been particularly unpleasant for Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and The Washington Post, as news emerged that Amazon executive Roy Price was forced to resigne in the wake of sex abuse allegations. The claims added to reports of The Washington Post’s repressive policies towards the speech of their own writers. Despite all this, some legacy outlets published calls for Bezos to replace Mike Pompeo as CIA Director, should Pompeo resign.
The events of recent weeks vividly show the danger of growing ties between establishment media, the American deep state, and corporate power. This constitutes a worrying increase in the conglomeration of ties which do not serve the public interest or even financially rely on the support of readership, but instead serve to consolidate power for a select few interests.
Amazon executive Roy Price resigned yesterday due to sex abuse allegations leveled in the wake of the Weinstein scandal. The Verge reports that Price was forced to resign in response to sexual harassment claims leveled online by The Man in the High Castle executive producer Isa Hackett.
The report added that Hackett initially filed a complaint against Price in 2015, when the harassment occurred, but that Amazon took no action at the time. That the company was aware of the allegations two years ago but only acted during the unprecedented public exposure of the Weinstein scandal has fueled anger towards an industry which professes socially liberal values, but in practice appears stuck in the a structure of social norms of the 1950’s.
The impact of the Weinstein scandal has continued to ripple through the media industry, with Amazon forced to scrap a $40 million project Harvey Weinstein was scheduled to produce. The production would have also involved Robert De Niro, who is reported to have been associated with a Malaysian prostitution and human trafficking ring.
This news comes amidst reports that Bezos’ Washington Post had implemented a policy of punishment for its own writers if they were to criticize corporate sponsors. Jimmy Dore reported on the story, discussing its impact on American legacy media.
Despite such negative press, the Washington Examiner advocated yesterday for Bezos to be considered for the role of CIA Director if Trump removes Pompeo from the position. Such a position illustrates the degree to which establishment outlets have become deeply out of touch with the public interest.
As shocking as it may seem, The Examiner was not alone in its sentiments. Quartz also published an article un-ironically titled: “Bezos and Amazon could teach Trump how to Run the US.” They appear to have thought better of the statement, and later modified their title.
Adding to this, recent reports indicate The Washington Post’s policy of censorship of employees targets criticizing of corporate advertisers. The Hill wrote: “The new policy states that employees of The Post must not conduct themselves on social media in a way that “adversely affects The Post’s customers, advertisers, subscribers, vendors, suppliers, or partners.”
The Hill further related that a breach of the policy could result in disciplinary action “up to and including termination of employment.”
The Huffington Post and others have questioned whether Bezos had broken a law after The Washington Post formally disciplined its own writer, Kunkle, who has written an article in the Huffington Post which questioned Bezos’ alleged unfair business practices at both the Washington Post and Amazon.
Kunkle wrote: “Amazon’s history of dodging taxes, its mistreatment of workers, and its ruthlessness toward even the smallest competitors have been well documented. It put ambulances outside distribution centers rather than install adequate air conditioning.”
When Bezos bought the Washington Post for only $250 million, the cost in terms of Bezos’ overall wealth was a relative pittance. Bezos was reported to have briefly become the richest man alive, with Jimmy Dore noting recently that Bezos is worth over $80 billion.
CNBC reports that Bezos has also invested in media companies Twitter and Google.Bezos was an angel investor in Google, having invested $1 million in the company in 1998. His economic and media influence cannot be underestimated; Vanity Fair referred to Amazon one of the ‘four horsemen of the economic apocalypse,’ along with Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), and Facebook.
Google has been especially direct in terms of censorship, manipulating search results against independent sources across the political spectrum. Youtube, which is owned by Google, has likewise implemented severe demonetization policies against a wide range of independent media voices. Google’s mind boggling wealth ensures that Youtube will remain afloat despite a decrease in revenue from advertising, shifting priorities from profit to social control.
Similarly, Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post ensures that the company will not fail due to flagging readership, providing the multi-billionaire with the means to control public discourse in an unprecedented manner.
The mix of legacy media’s clinging authority in establishing a mainstream narrative combined with the growing conflict of interest in which outlets like the Washington Post explicitly serve deep state, pro-war narratives should be of great concern to all those who value free press.
Given the latest scandal at Amazon in regards to sex abuse allegations, as well as the crackdown on free press at the Washington Post, it is fair to say that if Bezos were to become CIA Director, the already tight grip of the American deep state in establishment media would escalate into a deathly stranglehold from which there would unlikely be a recovery in the near future.