Jeff Bezos and the Great Beyondists

The new Washington Post owner's untethered politics challenge the political class's stale status quo


For people who pride themselves on open-mindedness, elite journalists tolerate a shockingly narrow band of ideological opinion, particularly (though not only) from the people who sign their paychecks.

So you can support gay marriage, drug reform, and reduced defense spending, but do all that while also getting belatedly involved in Republican politics? You're "staunchly conservative" and must be forcibly prevented from snatching newspapers from their rightful owners: corporatist, billionaire Democratic Party donors. You can play stand-up drums for a beloved '60s dirt-rock band that sings songs about heroin and sadomasochism, just don't attend any Tea Party rallies, or you'll spook poor Jacob Weisberg.

There has been a lot of facile commentary about founder and CEO Jeff Bezos agreeing to buy the legendary Washington Post newspaper for $250 million cash, but one of the most revealing reactions came from former Post reporter Alec MacGillis in The New Republic. In the midst of a Luddite rant about how Bezos has "devastated the publishing industry," MacGillis snorts out a six-word advertisement for journalistic closed-mindedness: "His politics are not visibly objectionable."

Try to move past the fact that The New Republic is now owned by a Facebook billionaire who used to run Barack Obama's social media campaign, and instead focus on the underlying assertion here: Ideology and political activity outside the journalist-drawn boundaries must be objected to. Elite scribblers have been struggling with that imperative ever since yesterday afternoon's bombshell announcement.

"Bezos strong on social issues," tweeted the great baseball/prohibition author Dan Okrent, "but in 2010 gave $100K to defeat measure to levy income tax on WA residents making more than $200,000." Hmmm. What kind of person supports the freedom to marry and the freedom to pocket more of your own earnings?

Indeed, the soft media consensus is that Bezos (who has donated in the past to the Reason Foundation) is a quiet libertarian, though thankfully not the scary kind. "People who know Mr. Bezos describe his political views as libertarian, with a small 'l,'" The New York Times reported. "Widely believed to be libertarian, [Bezos] makes few public appearances [and] carefully guards his privacy," says The Seattle Times. New Yorker Editor David Remnick cut to the heart of the anxiety: "If Bezos is a libertarian, however, he is not one in the deeply conservative mold of the Koch brothers." 

As the commentary suggests, libertarianism itself scrambles the conventional assumptions and categorizations that have long ossified much of elite political discourse. But potentially more radical to the body politic and its hometown newspaper is the strong probability that Bezos, like an emerging plurality of the Americans his company serves so well, just doesn't define himself through affiliations with political tribes. The man who helped facilitate the "Long Tail" economy may just embody and advance what could be called Long Tail politics, or the notion that individual political and ideological identities are far more varied, fluid, and ad hoc than those the political class deem unobjectionable.

The great media columnist Jack Shafer suggested yesterday that Bezos could be classified as a "beyondist," which he described as "David Brooks's clever term for people whose politics appear to be centrist but strive to occupy a political space beyond left and right." I think this is more true than certainly Brooks and maybe even Shafer intended.

In his original 1995 Weekly Standard essay, Brooks used "beyondist" to rightfully mock the above-it-all centrist pretensions of heavily political (and almost always left-of-center) action figures such as Bill Clinton, Bill Bradley, and E.J. Dionne, then busy trying to rebrand deservedly exhausted political coalitions and ideas. (It is an interesting irony that Brooks would eventually come to represent the gormless middle he once skewered.) Shafer in 2012 grafted that term—and appropriately so—onto the man he thought would buy the Washington Post, Michael Bloomberg.

But Bezosian Beyondism does not at all resemble the vain, meddlesome noodling of Nanny Bloomberg or even outgoing Post CEO Donald Graham. Where those types of centrists make a show of constantly exercising power to correct the public's mistakes, Bezos quietly sells people stuff they want for a price they like, and leaves the political branding where it belongs: far removed from the wonderful scrum of everyday life. It's no wonder that even libertarian-haters are having a hard time working up outrage at his new toy.

Will all of this add up to a significant recalibration of American political identify? Of course not. The importance of media deals is always overstated by self-interested journalists; legacy institutions are leaking power and relevance, and it's unclear at this writing whether Bezos will be more than a distant presence in the lesser of the two Washingtons. Social evolution is infinitely complex and unpredictable.

But the changing of the Beltway guard is not just a story about technology. Post publishers have long been kingmakers, peacekeepers, and zealous guardians of the acceptable status quo. They helped draw the lines around what is "visibly objectionable" in American political life. Jeff Bezos won't waltz into Washington with an eraser, but his example strongly suggests that power in the 21st century is rightly shifting away from those who dictate agendas, and toward those who get their agendas out of the way.

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  1. …”or the notion that individual political and ideological identities are far more varied, fluid, and ad hoc”…

    Could be, but the majority sure seems to want to pick a team and cheer it on.

    1. Is that really the majority, or just the people who shout the loudest?

      1. 40% of voters did not vote for Obama, who got 30%, or Romney, who got 29%

    2. A lot of that is because we have two-party system, instead of a multi-party system.

      We don’t have a two-party system because Republicans and Democrats are so damn popular. It’s a function of how elections are set up as winner takes all, how districts are gerrymandered, etc.

      Libertarians consistently win 1-2% of the votes in elections, even with the discouragement that will never win an election. Even though its enough people to warrant 1-2 senators or 5-6 representatives, it’s usually a big fat 0 in terms of representation for libertarians, because they don’t happen to live in the same state or district. That’s a function of the system, not major party popularity.

      1. Wait, you mean the bureaucracy protects itself from threats?

        You don’t say.

        1. I’m holding my breath waiting for congress to reform their own power structure.

          When you look at the irrational political incentives that would have to be present to address whether or not a democratic system is adequately representing its citizens, it’s a wonder that people believe that democracy keeps everything in check. It’s just blindly accepted, like a belief in god, that democracy just works. Never mind analyzing it.

        2. +1 Thanks for my chuckle of the day. Please tell me you had a top hat on and handlebar moustache while saying it?

  2. According to Mark Krikorian of National Review, Bezos is a liberal.…..-krikorian

    The Post story on its sale to Jeff Bezos notes toward the end that the owner of Amazon “has given little indication of his ideological leanings over the years.” It then goes on to say that “he and his wife have regularly donated to the campaign of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash)” and that he is in “the top ranks of financial backers of gay rights in the country.” I think that gives a pretty clear indication of his ideological leanings. His leftism is no surprise, given the political inclinations of our elites, but it’s hilarious that the reporter, Paul Farhi, and his editors could list those data points and then not draw the obvious conclusion.

    see you Cozmotarians – you’re just a bunch of cocktail commies!

    1. I have no idea what his politics are, but those things are hardly dispositive. He could donate to a Democrat for any number of reasons, including having a personal relationship. And, of course, there are even Republicans that support gay rights, so that’s a totally meaningless factoid.

    2. If you are an extremely rich person who has a major, major company in Washington State, and you donate to one of the senators of that state, you must belong to the same ideological tribe as them. There’s no reason one would do so otherwise, right? And of course, if you think homos should be treated equally, you can only be one thing: a communist. Or something like that.

      TEAM morons gonna TEAM.

      1. It’s like no one has ever heard of the concept of protection money, huh?

        1. Patty Murray, though… sheesh.

          1. Patty needs a new pair of shoes.
            Wait, that’s Zappos.

          2. Patty Murray isn’t the problem.

            The problem is Maria Cantwell, a stout anti-first amendment candidate.

            1. And he donated thousands to her campaign. Something Cantwell frowns upon when other people do it.

            2. I’ve classed Murray as one of the Senate’s dimmest bulbs since I heard her say, after 9/11, that bin Laden was popular in Afghanistan because he had built “daycare centers.” Who knew so many Afghan tribeswomen needed a place to stash the kids when they went to their day jobs? She’s an idiot.

            3. They’re both deplorable. Murray ran her entire last campaign on how much corporate welfare she’d brought to the state and how she’d single-handedly saved Boeing from actually having to compete for government contracts. She’s the worst kind of whore there is. And anybody who would sell out to someone like that is a cowardly piece of shit. There’s 49 other states where Amazon could have located if Bezos had any integrity. I’m glad to see that sucking ass on the worst corporate welfare whore in the senate doesn’t do anything to impugn is libertarian street cred around here though. “But, but, but… he loves teh gayz!!!!”

              1. You’re right about Murray, but carrying that on to your conclusion about “49 other states” is absurd on so many levels… All other 49 have equally deplorable politicians, first of all. And when JB started Amazon, it was out of a garage. If you think his first consideration at the time should have been “are there any deplorable politicians in this state?” rather than “how the fuck can I get this crazy idea off the ground”, you’re high.

                Accusing Bezos of not having integrity is just ridiculous, particularly when you’re taking one small thing you don’t like – giving money to a democrat – and ignoring the rest of his record.

                1. Amazon long since passed the point where it was constrained geographically due to any lack of resources. Of course it would be stupid to make a decision about geographical location when you’re a startup with no venture capital. 15 years on when you’re one of the largest retailers on the planet, that shit doesn’t wash. So defending Bezos on the grounds that every business in WA has to pay tribute to its corrupt politicians is mindless. “Everybody else is doing it too!” isn’t an excuse. We all learned that in grade school. It’s also a false premise. You can do business in WA without greasing the payola machine if you’re willing to forgo the tasty perks and benefits that come with it. If Bezos were the principled libertarian Henry Rearden character everybody is pretending he is, he could have done that. He didn’t. Because he’s a corporatist whore. That shouldn’t be too terribly controversial. Nobody seems to have any problem with calling out every other corporatist whore in corporate America. I don’t understand what sainted Jeff Bezos and took him beyond criticism. As far as I can tell, about the extent of Bezos’ “libertarian” streak is that he supports gay marriage, which is hardly a uniform issue in the libertarian community as our frequent discussions at this very website attest.

                2. Also, fuck your TEAM bullshit. I wouldn’t be any more supportive of Bezos as libertarian superhero if he were a defense contractor lining the pockets of John Boehner in exchange for a weapons program the DOD doesn’t even want. That Murray is a Democrat has nothing to do with the fact that she’s literally one of the worst cronyist assholes in the US senate. Political payola isn’t libertarian regardless of which party is on the receiving end.

    3. Krikorian is… kind of a moron. His pet issue is to completely stop immigration. Not “limit” or “lower” immigration, but stop it altogether. Possibly the least intelligent guy on NR’s staff, and considering just how boring, trite, and unimaginative today’s NR is compared to when Buckley was still alive, that’s saying something.

      1. Stopping immigration seems like a good idea. When has he been an idiot?

        1. I know when *you* have been an idiot: in that last post of yours.

  3. God bless him and forward march!

  4. Never allow a z-axis to be added to your ideological graph. It runs over the walls of what is comfortable.

    1. You know who else added a z-axis to his idealogical graph and ran over walls?

      1. Euclid of Alexandria?

          1. The zombies in World War Z

      2. Super Mario?

  5. If he turns the Post into a far-left or far-right newspaper (or, more likely, an annoyingly libertarian-ish one), he risks alienating Amazon consumers who will not bother with the distinction between that company and its CEO.

    This was quoted from the libertarian haters link.

    I don’t think the writer understand that most people don’t give a shit who owns the Washington Post.

    1. Not to mention, how many people love Amazon in an almost carnal way? Seriously, it may be the most popular company in the United States.

    2. It also doesn’t allow for the Whole Foods dynamic.

    3. Yo, fuck Amazon. They don’t accept bitcoins.

      1. Working on it!

    4. Yep, most people don’t give a shit about the Washington Post at all, much less who owns it.

      The part of the company that wraps fish and picks up dog shit probably won’t be around five years from now, and it’ll just be another website competing with thousands of others.

      1. Though I rarely read the Washington Post, my cat enjoys it every day.

    5. Umm, I’m pretty sure one does not “bother” to distinguish between a company and its CEO. You bother to combine them. Thinking about the CEO’s political views before deciding to shop there requires actual work.

    6. Nor that most people don’t give a shit abotu who owns Amazon. They want good deals on what they want, delivered quickly.

    7. Yeah…guaranteed like 89% of Americans who heard about the sale of the Post were like, “who the hell is Jeff Bezos?? Bezos is a funny name. I think I’ll watch another season of law and order now.”

  6. understands, goddamnit, where’s my edit button!?

    1. We took it away from you; here’s your blunt-ended scissors and don’t run with them in your hand!

  7. So all you have to do to avoid being torn apart by the media as a prominent libertarian is not talk about it a lot?

    Sounds easy…Wait.

    1. Go learn something, you arrogant pricks:

      The Humble Libertarian

      1. I prefer “Vulgar Libertarian”.

        Better than “Bleeding Heart Libertarians”.

  8. So…what? He’s just another one of those “Koch supporting libertarians”?

    1. KOCH SUCKER, if you will.

      1. Just another tentacle of the Kochtopus.

        1. You rang?

  9. OT: Average U.S. car is 11.4 years old, a record high

    Hmm, is this the start of Cash for Clunkers 2.0?

    1. I’ve done zero research, but I’ll bet you’d find that as the cost of a new car increases, the average age of peoples cars increases too.

      1. My guess is that Toyota, Honda and Nissan have replace Ford, Chevy and Chrysler.

      2. As the supply of used cars diminishes because you take thousands of them out of circulation because daddy gubmint is frantically trying to bail out the auto manufacturers, the cost of used cars increases as well, and people end up keeping their beaters clunking along longer. I know that was certainly true for me.

    2. Well, cars are much better made than they used to be and they often have incredibly long warranties, so it’s unsurprising that people will keep their perfectly good car longer. My car is 15 years old, has 155,000 miles on it, and works just fine. I certainly don’t need to drop $35,000 cash (I don’t do debt) in order to drive 2 minutes to work or to the grocery store in a newer car.

    3. Yeah but, car loans are driving the consumer credit market.

      1. No pun intended

    4. My 1995 Accord is now my older son’s, and it’s still running. It has some peripheral issues, like paint fading and a few things my son can’t afford to fix, but operationally, it’s still going strong. The only non-maintenance work ever under the hood besides the A/C was a rusted radiator, and that just happened a couple of years ago.

      1. 220K+ on the piece-of-shit Jeep Cherokee I bought for a grand for my son is our personal record.

        Other than the hole in the header we’re not bothering to fix (“they ALL do that!” eventually, and it costs $600+ to fix…so fuck it…enjoy our loud exhaust), and replacing the passenger door power window mechanism ($70 from some online company) it’s amazingly functional.

        Runs, drives, stops, turns, four wheel drive still works – that’s all we really care about.

        1. 210K on my last truck, a full sized Chevy. Bought it new, kept it for 11 years. It was starting to burn oil, so I traded it in on my new F-150. I fully expect to get another 200K.

          1. My personal F150 just turned 11, with 219,000 miles. A couple of minor repairs over the years but it’s still going strong.

            1. You guys are chumps. My ’02 Tacoma has 317K, and while it’s not my daily driver, I have no plans of replacing it anytime soon.

              1. 198k on my 2001 Lexus ES300, all my miles, finally traded it in and the dealer gave it to his good for’naught adult daughter and he told me later she put another 40k on it before he finally tossed it out to auction still rattling but running. Every other car before that was an american POS.

      2. 83 Datsun 280ZX, the amazing zero maintenance Z Car. Only about 700 miles till 250K. Had it over 12 years now. Daily driver, and the only two bigs have been an alternator and a failed radiator solder joint. About $250 for both. Expendables, such as brake pads and rotors, still avaiable easily and still relatively inexpensive. Think I’ll keep it a bit longer.

    5. Interesting. My car is 12 years old.

      1. I bought a Jag some years ago and boy do I wish I had my Mazda back.

  10. “Bezos strong on social issues,” tweeted the great baseball/prohibition author Dan Okrent, “but in 2010 gave $100K to defeat measure to levy income tax on WA residents making more than $200,000.” Hmmm. What kind of person supports the freedom to marry and the freedom to pocket more of your own earnings?

    He sure changed his tune though. I ranted about a few issues in the Postrel thread:…..nt_3919905

    What Bezos is is a profit seeker. Perfectly rational, great for business. What Bezos is not, is principled.

    Given that as good as Amazon is, it and Bezos personally still buckles to political and social pressure, so even without an agenda of their own, the Washington Post can effectively be given an agenda from external pressure, if he does not want to keep it permanently in the red.

    1. Speaking as a business person making much less than Bezos, if you live in an all Democrat area your clients and friends are all Dems and invite you to cocktail parties, dinners, sky boxes, etc that are Dem fundraisers. You end up buying a ticket or a table just to hang out with friends or do business.

    2. Amazon is a public company; JB only has so much control of it. I think you are mistaken to conflate what Amazon does and what JB would do if he were solely in charge.

      That JB is *not* all about profits is clearly evidenced by the extent to which he reinvests in Amazon such that they make almost no profit. But don’t let contradicting data keep you from saying it.

  11. What kind of person supports the freedom to marry and the freedom to pocket more of your own earnings?

    Someone who’s about to lose half Eddie, HALF in his inevitable divorce?

    I’m here all ze veek.

    1. What have you done for me lately?

  12. More generally, Amazon has embodied, more than any other of the giants that rule our new landscape, the faster-cheaper-further mindset that scratches away daily at our communal fabric: Why bother running down to the store around the block if you can buy it with a click? No risk of running into someone on the way and actually having to talk to them, and hey, can you beat that price? No thought given to the externalities that make that price possible?the workers being violently shocked every time they pull a book off the warehouse shelf, or losing a chunk of their lunch break to go through the security checkpoint set up by their oh-so-trusting employer. They’re Somewhere Else, working for a company that is Out There, in the cloud.

    Take that you commodity fetishists!

    1. Don’t worry. Those workers will be replaced by robots soon enough.

      1. Aren’t their fulfillment centers heavily automated?

        1. Getting there… bought Kiva systems but it takes a while to retrofit that into dozens of existing warehouses.

  13. Bezosian Beyondism


  14. but his example strongly suggests that power in the 21st century is rightly shifting away from those who dictate agendas, and toward those who get their agendas out of the way.

    And to your average Postee, that’s still a problem.

    Remember how the media derided Bill Gates and Microsoft as having no presence in DC? How they were snooty and oh-so above-it-all? Yeah, you can’t win with these fucks. You’re either a sinister corporation flexing your undue influence through shady lobbying, and if you’re not involved, then you’re an elitist scrub who thinks you can operate outside the fold of the benevolent process.

    1. And as soon as Gates married a card carrying liberal and got out of the business of making money and into the business of handing out billions to leftist education causes, Gates became acceptable. For some reason people can’t help but want to be liked by these assholes. Bezos will be no different. I give it six months before his politics are about where Dave Weigel’s are.

      1. I think you might have cause and effect slightly mixed up there. As I understood it, Gates was proud to be nonpolitical until MS had to spend years in court over a stupid issue that was effectively a dead letter by the time the final decision came down. After that, he understood the benefit of buying off politicians.

        1. Sounds about right. The whole anti-trust case against Microsoft was for the benefit of non-competitive firms like Sun Micro etc. It’s like the Mob, you think you’re tough and so you don’t pay them the first time, but after they break your knees, you figure out it’s safer to pay.

      2. into the business of handing out billions to leftist education causes

        This hasn’t bought him much sympathy. Even today, liberals are deriding the overwhelming influence these programs have on education, in other words, there must be no competition to the government’s efforts to craft and implement terrible education policy.

  15. Jeff Bezos won’t waltz into Washington with an eraser, but his example strongly suggests that power in the 21st century is rightly shifting away from those who dictate agendas, and toward those who get their agendas out of the way.

    They will just absorb him Matt. Washington Culture is all about white people hating and feeling superior to other white people. The whole point of it is for Washington White people to look down upon working class and poor white people. That is really all it is about. And Bezos will quickly be seduced by the idea of feeling smugly superior to the hated other. Bezos will end up being a typical Washington liberal, he will just have some fancy new libertarian terms and language to couch it in.

    1. Seriously. Staying near the halls of power for too long curses the resident with the boring bureaucan-do attitude that characterizes the joint. NR wasn’t anything other than elitist, but it was interesting when it first started out — now it’s boring trash that sees fit to regurgitate conventional DC wisdom on a variety of topics; ditto the CATO Institute to a lesser extent.

      Bores and zealots are what DC graces the rest of the nation with, and Bezos isn’t going to change that.

      1. Exactly. Once you live here you want to be accepted here. Unless they are a real subversive like Breitbart, people just can’t help but want to be accepted and liked where they live. And to be accepted and liked in Washington means being a lefty bore or an apologetic big government conservative.

        I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone who had a life otherwise would want to be accepted by the people here. They are basically scum. But power I guess really tempts a lot of people. And I bet it tempts Bezos. He will fold like a chair from the social pressure not to hold any unpleasant or questionable views.

        1. Except, he’s not going to live there.

      2. And note the most interesting writer at NR was Derbyshire who lived in New York and managed to get himself fired.

        Goldberg is still good. He is a bit better than conventional wisdom. But he is the only one.

        1. For my money, Joseph Sabran was the most interesting fired NR writer, though Derbyshire was also a lot of fun. Both were quite… off when it came to certain issues (Derbyshire had race as one of his odd bloggyhorses), but if I’ll be damned for preferring to read an interesting racist or anti-Semite over a sonorous bore with views closer to my own on those subjects, then damn away.

          Personally I don’t understand Goldberg’s appeal. He’s a bit more interesting than the rest of the NR, but he was a big Bush shill in his day and what he’s had to say has been said better by others.

          1. Sign up for Goldberg’s weekly email column. It is funny as hell. And he makes a lot of very good arguments. He is an very smart writer. The fact that he defended Bush doesn’t mean he isn’t a smart and interesting writer. It just means you don’t always agree with him.

            1. I may have been too harsh in my initial assessment. I’ll check out his weekly column.

              Hell, if finding a pro-Bush (or for that matter, a pro-Obama) author enjoyable is libertarian thoughtcrime I can be indicted several times over for it, heh.

              1. Here is a good example of a recent one.

                But as I’ve written in about every third G-File for a couple years now, liberalism acts more like a religion. There are no natural boundaries between the political and the personal. Politics is not only where you do meaningful things, it’s where you find meaning itself (hence Hillary Clinton’s “Politics of Meaning”). It’s the cause and the limelight all at once. According to liberals like the Clintons and Obama, civil society is just another word for government, because “government is us.”

                For some liberals to leave politics means to move into the darkness, into a void bereft of meaning. Anthony Weiner strikes me as exactly that kind of person. Politics is everything to him. Well, that and junk-tweeting. A normal person would be perfectly content to go back to the non-political world and find meaning — perhaps far greater meaning — outside of politics. But when everything is political where can you go? People like Weiner and Huma Abedin are like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman yelling “I’ve got nowhere else to go!”

              2. That was always the key to understanding the Clintons. Politics was and is their everything. Asking them to leave politics is like asking a fish to leave the ocean or a samurai to take up needlepoint. Whatever else was going on in their marriage, it was subordinate to politics because for their whole lives, everything was subordinate to politics. So, of course, the Clinton’s marriage was a “political marriage” at least insofar as everything is political. When you have a traditional religious marriage the rules of the bond are, well, traditional and religious. When you have a political marriage, when it’s a political partnership and part of your brand, the traditional and religious commitments have to at least share space with the political considerations. And for some people — the Clintons — the politics is more important. To the extent we can speak about someone else’s marriage, I think it’s reasonable to assume the same is true for the Weiners.

                1. Actually, needlepoint sounds like a very samurai thing to do to me. If I understand things correctly, once the Shogunate was firmly established and there was little fighting for the samurai to do, they were expected to devote most of their time to flower arranging and sand-gardening and tea ceremonies, and other genteel Japanese practices of that sort.
                  Needlepoint (or some Japanese equivalent) sounds like it would fit right in with all that.

        2. At least Derbyshire still gets to post here as American.

          1. Derbyshire is smart as hell. He is not American. American is a leftist sock puppet posting racist shit for the purpose of using it as evidence of how racist Reason is.

          2. Funny, but Derbyshire’s a really smart and interesting guy. His main concentration was in math, and I have a great book of his on my bookshelf about the intellectual history of mathematics that is incredibly good.

            “a really smart and interesting guy” is a phrase that has never been uttered in reference to American.

            1. What’s bizarre is that they fire Derbyshire, but keep an anti-Mexican xenophobe bore like Krikorian on staff.

              If NR must have a racist on staff, can they at least have a funny, thoughtful, and witty racist?

              1. I don’t think opposing mass Third World immigration makes one a “racist.”

                I often find Kevin Williamson to be interesting and insightful.

                He’s not at NR, but one of my favorite current commentators is Walter Russell Meade. A very informed and even-handed fellow.

                1. Just started Guns and Gold this afternoon. From the book and his blog, he’d be at home at Cato if he had a better understanding of incentives.

    2. MacGillis’ New Republic article underscores just how terrified these establishment sycophants are of change in Rome, err, I mean Washington. It’s actually hard to find writers who are more out of touch or smug outside of these major newspapers.

      1. And that is why their papers are dying. They have totally lost any connection to anything but a very narrow readership.

        1. I agree. It seems to me that their most devout supporters are their own journalists and a very vocal minority of commenters. Being from Louisiana, I’ve never known anyone to subscribe to the NYT or Washington Post, not even the educated or the wealthy. Maybe they did and I didn’t know it, but I still never heard people quoting or referring to those papers. People of means here read the Journal. I think it comes as a shock to them that Washington, D.C. is considered a by word outside the Beltway.

      2. Off with their heads!

        Oh. wait…not much there….

    3. Is Bezos actually moving to DC, or actively overseeing the Post’s operations, or is he just gonna let other people run it for him, with little input from himself?

      1. All good questions. I don’t know.

      2. I read yesterday that Bezos is staying in Seattle.

      3. I imagine the latter. He’s got Amazon and all of the companies they’ve acquired, along with his secret space program.

      4. Why in hell would he need to live in DC? Especially only in DC?

      5. He’ll definitely stay in Seattle: he is involved deeply in the day to day operations of Amazon.

        But I don’t believe that he will have “little input”. He bought this as a challenge, not as an investment. He sees the constant customer cries for “better journalism” and I think he wants the challenge of finding a way to provide that. He won’t be operational or tactical, but I think he’ll be involved in setting strategic directions, probably not right away but increasingly over time.

    4. First of all, he’s not moving to DC, so the precondition of your entire thesis is false.

      Second, I think you don’t really understand Bezos. He eats, breathes and farts customer obsession. He doesn’t give a shit about being accepted; hell, he has specifically given Wall Street the one-fingered salute time and again because he’d prefer to focus on the customer and what is right for them than to worry about Wall Street’s desire for quarterly profits. The man went from very little to being worth 10s of billions and he hasn’t gotten “smugly superior”; instead, he works every day looking at every detail of Amazon’s business, rolling up his sleeves to make sure that everything done there will satisfy customers.

  16. power in the 21st century is rightly shifting away from those who dictate agendas, and toward those who get their agendas out of the way.

    Yeah, right. Those rose-colored glasses sure have one hell of a filter on them.

  17. Andy Borowitz:

    Jeff Bezos, the founder of, told reporters today that his reported purchase of the Washington Post was a “gigantic mix-up,” explaining that he had clicked on the newspaper by mistake.

    “I guess I was just kind of browsing through their website and not paying close attention to what I was doing,” he said. “No way did I intend to buy anything.”

    Mr. Bezos said he had been oblivious to his online shopping error until earlier today, when he saw an unusual charge for two hundred and fifty million dollars on his American Express statement.

  18. Buyer’s remorse? Are @chrishughes ‘s girls at #TNR upset with Bezos’ “annoying” libertarianism – or because he got a better deal?

  19. David Martosko – it makes perfect sense that bought the Washington Post, since the Post is really good at delivering the news in 3-5 days

  20. In a world where people are becoming more attached to digital communications, it makes sense. He is buying an established voice in politics that he wants to tweak and tune for the new century. Who cares? If I dont like what they publish, I wont read it regardless of the technology behind the delivery. In fact, I dont read it now anyway. And I live 20 minutes west of D.C.

    There may be a change in the WaPo. But I dont think that will translate into a change in D.C. Not while we have family dynasties and such. $250m for this guy is a drop in the bucket. If he cant make it successful, its not like he is gonna lose his life savings.

    1. I think you’re very wrong about Bezos buying the WaPo to become his political mouthpiece. He’s a famous, rich person who gets lots of interviews and other opportunities to push an agenda for free, and he never does so. Why would he need to pay 250M to do something he doesn’t even do for free?

      You miss what gets him off: solving customer pain points. You can’t swing a dead cat in this country without hitting someone who will complain about “the state of journalism today”. Jeff sees a glaring, gaping opportunity for someone to fix that customer painpoint, and I think he bought the WaPo to see if he can do so.

  21. “an annoyingly libertarian-ish one”.

    Why do I get the feeling that the author does not acknowledge the possibility of libertarianism that *isn’t* annoying to her?

  22. my buddy’s step-aunt makes $61 every hour on the computer. She has been without work for 6 months but last month her pay was $14651 just working on the computer for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more… max38.c?m

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