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When people consider the impact of Jeff Bezos’s purchase of the Washington Post, the most common concern is that he will use the newspaper as something of a megaphone or a “bully pulpit” for his own views. Bezos is, of course, the founder and CEO of Amazon. As such, he is very much concerned with issues having to do with the internet. There is a concern that he will use the newspaper as a way of disseminating his views on things like cybersecurity and internet equality. There is a fear that he will not allow the newspaper to be independent but will use it as a mouthpiece for his own opinions.
Another worry has to do with the potential conflicts of interest that might arise as the newspaper covers issues that affect Amazon and as it covers players in the political arena. For example, imagine that Amazon is pushing a particular policy and has identified key senators whose votes they need. Will the newspaper start to adjust its coverage of those senators to try to push them to vote Amazon’s way? Will the paper target people who oppose Amazon’s efforts, hoping to weaken them so they will lose elections?
Finally, there is the concern that Bezos might be something of a dilettante. There is a fear that he is buying the paper just because he can and will not really respect the journalistic integrity or the heritage of such an important paper. The worry here is that he simply will not feel the need to run the newspaper in such a way as to protect its reputation and its place in American journalism.
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