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Monday, August 5, 2013

Amazon, The Post, and Lobbying

Our chapter on mass media has a table showing that media ownership is interconnected.  It just got more so, as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post.  Forbes explains:
It might take an antitrust prosecution or new legislation to open up the television-channels business to over-the-top players in a real way. That’s where the purchase of the Post could really pay for itself. While Bezos, in his own letter to Post staffers, insisted, “The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners” — and while Bezos bought the paper with his personal money, not with Amazon’s coffers — the fact is that Amazon already spends millions of dollars lobbying federal officeholders every year.
Hardly a week goes by that doesn’t bring some evidence of how subject its business interests are to the sympathies of Congress or the Justice Department. The e-book price-fixing case against Apple and President Obama’s veto of a ban on Apple products are two recent reminders of how important it is for companies operating on the untamed frontier of technology to have friends in Washington. And with its huge tech company and appetite for pushing into new businesses, Amazon has more regulatory skin in the game than most.