Jeff Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post: Despite What Some Say They’re Living Together

I recently took issue with Paul Farhi, the Washington Post’s media writer, who tweeted that, despite President Trump’s attempts to link Amazon with the Washington Post, “Amazon doesn’t own the Washington Post.”

Several days later Post senior editor Marc Fisher tweeted a reminder that “…and no, Amazon doesn’t own The Washington Post.”

Okay, Bezos owns the Washington Post and he effectively owns Amazon but legally Amazon doesn’t own the Post. I described Farhi’s tweet as lame and disingenuous, wondering why the Post is trying so hard to distance itself from Amazon when the connection is so obvious.

Is there a special relationship between the Post and Amazon other than Bezos’s ownership of both?

The Post is a very good newspaper and, despite President Trump’s attempts to suggest Bezos is using the Post to help Amazon, there is no evidence for that. Reading the Post every morning, its attacks on the President are relentless but it almost certainly would be doing the same if the Graham family, which sold the paper to Bezos in 2013, still owned it. It’s continued to be an increasingly liberal paper in an increasingly liberal city.

But Amazon, now the nation’s dominant marketer (briefly making Bezos the nation’s richest person), doesn’t keep the Post at arm’s length.

Go to washingtonpost.com to subscribe to the paper and digital access is $99 a year.

Go to Amazon to subscribe and Amazon Prime members get the digital Post free for six months and then pay $3.99 a month or $48 a year. Amazon offers the Wall Street Journal for $28.99 a month, the New York Times for $19.99 a m0nth, USA Today for $11.99 a month—no special deals there.

Bezos’s Washington Post may be trying to disassociate itself from Amazon but Bezos’s Amazon is quick to offer his Washington Post at a special low rate. Why? Bezos owns them both and he wants the Post to replace the New York Times as the world’s dominant newspaper.

Don’t bet against him. And don’t buy the Farhi-Fisher manta that “Amazon doesn’t own the Washington Post.”  The Post should stick with how its writer Steve Pearlstein handled it in his  Sunday Post piece that asked “Is Amazon Getting Too Big?”:

Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, is the owner of The Washington Post.
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Those who enjoy reading the paper version of the Washington Post pay $703 a year for seven-day home delivery. This is almost double what I was paying in 2013, before Bezos bought the paper, suggesting that Bezos is sending a message: It’s $48 a year for the digital paper, $703 a year for the print paper. At what point—$1,000 a year, $1,500 a year—will you see the light and I can stop buying all that newsprint and having all those trucks deliver a paper newspaper to all those front yards?

Want to bet on whether the Washington Post print newspaper will still be here in ten years? I wouldn’t put any of my money on it.

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