Why Is No One Asking This Question?

Lots of debate about how the politics of Jeff Bezos will impact the Washington Post editorial stance, but I haven’t seen anyone ask the obvious question- “Where is Bezos on Israel?” For me, the hallmark of the Washington Post editorial page, along with the constant concern trolling of Democrats and gleeful endorsement of slashing entitlements in an embrace of an orgiastic centrist buffoonery has been the fact that outside the Weekly Standard, you won’t find a more pro-Israel editorial page in the country.

Just go through the list of op-ed writers and the post-partisan yahoos like Chuck Lane and then throw in Hiatt and Rosen, and it’s like an AIPAC all-stars list.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out.






79 replies
  1. 1
    steve s says:

    Lots of debate about how the politics of Jeff Bezo’s will impact the Washington Post editorial stance,

    Who is Jeff Bezo?

  2. 2
    Redshirt says:

    Where is Bezos on Pits?

    Also: Pits-Burgh.

  3. 3
    lamh36 says:

    I was just saying to myself, could someone please in layman’s terms tell me why I should care about the Amazon dude buying the WashPo.?

    Seriously, talk to me like I’m a toddler cause all the hoopla on twitter and beyond have me going…meh?

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    along with the constant concern trolling of Democrats and gleeful endorsement of slashing entitlements in an embrace of an orgiastic centrist buffoonery

    I had to look a few times to see whose post this was.

  5. 5
    Walker says:

    The Atlantic article characterizes the current editorial slant of WaPo as center left. Really?

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @lamh36: Who knows? But for a lot of people who matter in politics, as much as we’d like to pretend they don’t, what happens on the WaPo op-ed page helps determine the parameters of Reasonable and Serious discussion. I can’t imagine that Bezos could make it worse. The gossip when Katharine Graham died was that Donnie Graham was like a neo-con prince Charles, chomping at the bit for Mummy to give him the reins so he could turn the paper to the right. I think Hiatt and Lane were already in place, but what followed was Gerson, Thiessen and Jennifer Rubin. Did Murdoch make any real difference at the WSJ? They were already nuts as far as I know.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    beltane says:

    Not a huge fan of the guy, but I don’t see anything in his background that would indicate he is an AIPAC stooge. If things don’t work out for Jennifer Rubin at WaPo I’m sure she’ll land a nice pundit spot on CNN.

  9. 9
    Yatsuno says:

    @John Cole: Rupert did try mucking about with the WSJ, but the staff rebelled and he backed off. I’m not really sure how you’d be able to tell the difference anyway.

    (And FYWP. Because reasons.)

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: In fairness to the WSJ, for most of my memory it was the op-ed pages that were total garbage, but there used to be some very solid reporters breaking front page news stories frequently, and they were always very thorough long-form reads that were accurate and well sourced. I haven’t read for years because I installed the Murdoch blocker on my browser, so as soon as the warning comes up I just say fuck it and look for someone else to have summarized the piece.

  11. 11
    skippy says:

    all i know is bezos had amazon prime so the washpost will be delivered to him in two days.

    for free.

  12. 12
    Surly Duff says:

    outside the Weekly Standard, you won’t find a more pro-Israel pro-Likud editorial page in the country.

    Fixed.

  13. 13
    mai naem says:

    I want to think positive – that Bezos will leave the paper alone, not cut more reporters, hopefully get rid of the neocon nuts, but I am more concerned about the reporting part than the editorial piece. I want to have positive thoughts but I don’t think it’s going to be like that.

  14. 14
    BArry says:

    John, that was a great catch – the WaPo is Warmonger Central and Kaplan ‘Loot the Schools’ Central.

    The latter will undoubtedly continue.

  15. 15
    me says:

    Here’s hoping mark thessian gets waterboarded as a condition for continued employment.

  16. 16
    Ron Thompson says:

    @lamh36: The Washington Post was once a great paper. Now it sucks. Today, somebody new took over. Maybe it will become a great paper again. Or, at least maybe it won’t suck so much.

    Great point about Israel and AIPAC, John.

  17. 17
    lamh36 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’ve read that Bezos has Liberatarian leanings, but he was an Obama supporter in ’08 or something.

    So I guess what I’m wondering is how much control have the past owners had on the WashPo, i.e. article control, headline control…what exactly?

    I guess I just don’t understand why it should consume so much oxygen outside the beltway media…(shoulder shrug).

  18. 18

    @Surly Duff: Yeah, I wanted to make that same point. It’s a big difference. Pro-Bush when he was president wasn’t synonymous with pro-America– and anti-Bush wasn’t anti-America.

  19. 19
    cbear says:

    “Where is Bezos on Israel?”

    I imagine it will go something like this:

    “Israel, greatest country in the world, or greatest country in the history of the world?”

  20. 20
    Maus says:

    @Walker: Really, this is the best possible hope I’d have for the WaPo.

    Disclaimer: Just started working for the ‘zon. I really know very little of his personal beliefs, but I have been pretty sick of the paper as of late.

  21. 21
    Mike in NC says:

    Also, too:

    Krauthammer – check
    Rubin – check
    Gerson – check
    Cohen – check
    Will – check
    Samuelson – probably

  22. 22
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Bezos is everything that is wrong with America and now he’s going to spend his ill-gotten gains influencing the national discourse. This can’t end well.

  23. 23
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    @cbear:

    Dude, more like:

    “Israel, greatest country in the history of the world, or greatest country in the history of the universe?”

    Get it right!

  24. 24
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Also, does this mean used copies of the Post will be showing up on Amazon for a penny?

  25. 25
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    And why isn’t anyone reporting that Bezos are found in the stomachs of goats?

  26. 26

    @MoeLarryAndJesus:

    And why isn’t anyone reporting that Bezos are found in the stomachs of goats?

    They haven’t read the whole book, Hermione.

  27. 27
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @John Cole: @Ron Thompson: I think the WaPo still does some good reporting. I don’t go to the site like I used to unless I’m following a link, but Rajiv Chandresekaran– the only example that comes to mind– has been a voice against bullshit on foreign policy, and they did a good piece just a week or so ago on health and nutrition in poor (white) counties in Tennessee that would have been a slap in the face to austerity mongers, if they were paying attention.

  28. 28
    Goblue72 says:

    Bezos is the guy who picked WA state to base Amazon in because we have no income tax and our population was small enough that any sales taxes generated by in-state Amazon sales would be a modest part of overall Amazon sales.

    Locally, Amazon and Bezos are known as corporate skinflints who are pretty much absent from local civic and charitable leadership, in contrast to Gates/Microsoft & Boeing.

    He’s a libertarian douche.

  29. 29
    GregB says:

    In related news, Larry Flynt just bought Newsweek for a handjob and a bottle of Cuervo.

  30. 30
    mdblanche says:

    @GregB: Talk about overpaying.

  31. 31
    James E. Powell says:

    I’m wondering whether the Post will continue to be the nation’s biggest propagandist for the corporate schools movement.

    Don’t really know Bezos, but I think I can guess where he stands on labor relations, OSHA, etc.

  32. 32
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @mdblanche: No, I believe that Larry’s getting the hand job and the bottle of Cuervo to take Newsweek.

  33. 33
    max says:

    @GregB: In related news, Larry Flynt just bought Newsweek for a handjob and a bottle of Cuervo.

    Who gave Flynt the handjob? Did they make Tina Brown do it?

    the constant concern trolling of Democrats and gleeful endorsement of slashing entitlements in an embrace of an orgiastic centrist buffoonery has been the fact that outside the Weekly Standard, you won’t find a more pro-Israel editorial page in the country

    It’s still the fishwrap paper.

    Moonies versus Techies! RUMBLE!

    max
    [‘I wouldn’t bet against the Moonies. Those are some crazy fucks.’]

  34. 34
    danielx says:

    @Walker:

    Consider the source – the publication that hosted not just Andrew Sullivan but Megan McArdle (she of kitchen utensil fame) as well. Okay, they also host James Fallows, but a lot of concern trolling came from and continues to come from the publication as a whole. And, as we all know, nothing concerns a concern troll like policies anywhere to the left of Bill Clinton.

    Center left editorial slant…and pigs might have wings. Any newspaper which hosts George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Jennifer Rubin, et al, doesn’t have a center left anything unless judged by the standards of Louie Gohmert, which may god forbid.

  35. 35

    @Goblue72: Really?

    Bezos’ family bought and outfitted the best equipped Montessori school I’ve ever seen in my life, which my kid attended. He went to the school in its first year, 1969-70, when it was in the director’s house and backyard.

    I don’t know anything about him personally aside from the fact that he and his then-new bride attended the opening ceremony of the school and there was no press release about any of it. He aw-shucked about the director thanking him, and was extremely polite.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    We’re all Bezos on this bus. Also, too, bring back the corpse of Bebe Rebozo.

    The op-ed side will remain a shambles, I’m certain. If he’s willing to staff up the editorial side, especially investigative reporting, then it’s a net plus, maybe possibly.

    Local dead tree paper runs their columnists so I have no escape from that lot, which drives me nuts. Why, McClatchy, why?

  37. 37

    @max: Nah, she had a contractor do it on spec. If he becomes a regular customer…

  38. 38
    chopper says:

    given he’s generally a pretty smart businessjerk, i’d assume his belief regarding israel is ‘whatever doesn’t piss off my customers’. so i doubt the op-ed list will change much regarding mideast policy.

  39. 39
    danielx says:

    @trollhattan:

    Hey, don’t complain – our local fishwrap is a Gannett publication.

    Though they have been on Tony Bennett and Mike Pence like a wet blanket…

  40. 40
    dogbreath says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Warning: it can always get worse

  41. 41
    KXB says:

    Even if Bezos does not have an opinion one way or the other about Israel, or the Middle East in general, I’d imagine he’d be pressured not to stray too far off the AIPAC reservation.

    As for the Journal, I do have a subscription. I skip the op/Ed page, but it has very sold national and global news. It also has a terrific book review section on weekends. But it was the op/Ed page that ran Scowcroft’s “Don’t Invade Iraq” piece back in 2002.

  42. 42
    mdblanche says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: My point still stands.

  43. 43
    jonas says:

    Given that Amazon under Bezos has basically staked its entire corporate existence on not ever having to pay any taxes ever, anywhere, and making sure its warehouse employees enjoy the same wonderful working conditions and standard of living as Pakistani peasants, I can imagine him fitting right in in The Village. File him under the same jeans-and-sportcoat wearing corporate glibertarian douchebags as the guy who runs Whole Foods. For gay marriage and solar energy, but also for abolishing the minimum wage and privatizing education.

    Having one of these guys run a national newspaper should be all sorts of fun. Fasten your seatbelts!

  44. 44
    Gian says:

    He bought as his personal toy. He’s loaded to the gills with cash. I expect lot’s of “job creator” and “death tax” bullshit coming from the paper soon.

    Just ask “what can a big megaphone in the DC market do for a billionaire who likes to have slave wages, and outsource labor”

    and that’s what the paper will do.

    (did I ever tell you the story about the time they shipped me some other guy’s order and when I called I got three or four people who were extremely non-helpful, and probably not in the US telling me to go drive somewhere so I could pay to ship it back?)

  45. 45

    The Post will be replaced by an automatically generated version produced by a Markov chain trawling LiveJournal and Wikipedia articles, with a masthead in 30-point Impact.

  46. 46
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @max:

    Flynt’s providing the handjob, not getting it. The answer to ‘who’s the lucky recipient?’ would make your brain cry blood no matter who it was.

    Either way, looks like Flynt outbid me; all I offered was a six-pack of Rolling Rock and a slap on the ass.

  47. 47
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Well, I just moved to the town that’s the home of Blue Origin, and he hasn’t offered me a ride yet, so screw him.

  48. 48
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Livejournal? Tumblr’s where it’s at, man!

    A Jen Rubin brainfart written in the style of tumblr would make me laugh, although I might be the only one.

  49. 49
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    I so hope Bezos cleans house.

  50. 50
    michelle says:

    @John Cole: Because he spends most of his time motorboating Anne Laurie. He thought your were her.

  51. 51
    Klare says:

    Would have to agree with JSF.

  52. 52
    Ted & Hellen says:

    CS…check your email.

    The schmeagle has banded.

  53. 53
    Kyle says:

    Newspapers purchased as the personal playthings of libertarian billionaires tend to turn out badly, especially for the employees; vid. Wendy McCaw and the Santa Barbara News-Press. It’s an ugly facet of oligarchy.

  54. 54
    eemom says:

    Can’t decide who is stoopider: Bezos for buying the POS, or any of y’all who think he gives a shit about the editorial page content.

  55. 55
    I am not a kook says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    CS…check your email.

    Oh fuck. You guys having a “I hate Barry more than thou” meeting?

  56. 56
    I am not a kook says:

    Couple of positive things about Bezos getting a new hobby. He’s more likely to go “WTF?” when Sally Quinn et al whine to the boss about the rabble. As an absent landlord he doesn’t have that much interest in DC cock & tail circuit. And hopefully some bottomfeeders in WaPo get thrown to the wolves to make an example.

    On the other hand, maybe he’s not looking for a hobby but a lobby. Why pay lobbyists when you can shape the discourse your way?

  57. 57
    MikeBoyScout says:

    I’ve got no unique insight, but…

    We all know that a stable of “NeoCon” pro war editorialists failed to bring WaPo to break even,let alone profit.
    Mr. Bezos chose to build his business and his abode in western Washington.
    Mr. Bezos has a knack for making money.

    All of the above leads me to believe that the war mongering editorial slant of WaPo has a short shelf life.

    Casveat: wtf do I know?

  58. 58
    fuckwit says:

    embrace of an orgiastic centrist buffoonery

    lulz.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @I am not a kook: No, no, no. Nothing like that. It’s michelle and I that debate who hates B Barry Bamz more. Usually he wins. But fuck me, I keep trying.
    Like Van Damme said in the greatest movie made in modern times, “I never quit.”

  60. 60
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @Goblue72: As a Seattlite whose charities have benefited greatly from Jeff, Amazon and his team, I beg to differ. And so would many western Washington philanthropies.

  61. 61
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @I am not a kook: “Why pay lobbyists when you can shape the discourse your way?”. Indeed. Why? Bezos is nothing if not sharp like a fox. He’s always run his business for the long run. Owning DC’s paper of record for a pittance (of his wealth) is a good investment.

  62. 62
    David Koch says:

    WaPo has been invisible for years, even with regards to the middle east.

    Think about it this way, Al Gore sold Current TV, which barely has any viewers for $500 million, twice the amount of WaPo. That’s how far WaPo has fallen. A channel best known for documentaries on pot and who killed Biggie is twice as valuable as a crap site that publishes Dan Balz, Sally Quinn, Cillizza, and Milbank.

    The market has spoken.

  63. 63
    Don K says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Pre-Murdoch, the WSJ ed page was right wing, but the rest of the paper was good. Post-Murdoch, scratch the last part.

  64. 64
    JustRuss says:

    @MikeBoyScout:

    All of the above leads me to believe that the war mongering editorial slant of WaPo has a short shelf life.

    Doubtful. Bezos doesn’t give a damn if the paper makes money, it’s a miniscule investment for him. He wants a megaphone, and given the crappy working conditions in Amazon warehouses, I expect he’ll be engaging in class warfare with gusto, and not on our side. Since warmongering and worker-hating seem to go hand in hand, well, do the math.

  65. 65
    jheartney says:

    I suspect that pretty much all American dead-tree papers not named NYT or WSJ are circling the drain, at various proximities to the vortex. WAPO might survive, but not in its current incarnation. Bezos will never make much money from it, though some really tricky maneuvering might at least keep it alive. He has the money to keep it on life-support for years, assuming he doesn’t mind pissing away what for most people would be an unimaginable fortune.

  66. 66
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @JustRuss: While I can appreciate your opinion it is a tad hard for us to evaluate it without premises.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:

    As the purchase includes ownership of El Tiempo, it may be quite canny.

  68. 68
    Radio One says:

    The Washington Post’s editorial and opinion content has been total shit for a few decades now. At this point I’m just hoping Bezos will not spend most of his investment on the Post providing even more editorial crap.

  69. 69
    Petorado says:

    The way I figure it, the rise of blogs came from the disaffected that thought daily rags didn’t speak to them anymore and that they had some crazy bias disconnected from reality. If Bezos changes the WaPo for the better, the disaffected may open their minds back up about dead tree journalism. If he choses otherwise, the disaffected will simply say “we told you so.” Bezos is just another guy at the fulcrum who can stem the severe decline of corporate newspapers, or hasten their demise.

  70. 70
    LosGatosCA says:

    @Walker:

    You know else was center left, according to the legendary scholarship of one fat POS over at NRO.

  71. 71
    TriassicSands says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Bezos is everything that is wrong with America

    I understand your point, but, in fairness, no single person could possibly embody ALL that is wrong with America today.

    I just hope he doesn’t get along with Fred Hiatt.

  72. 72
    goblue72 says:

    @MikeBoyScout: I work in the Seattle nonprofit sector and have a working relationship with the staff of the major foundations in town, and frankly, you’re wrong. Amazon is pretty much a no-show as a civic and charitable leader in Seattle in comparison to its corporate behemoth peers like Microsoft or Boeing. And its reflective of its leadership. Microsoft might have followed a similar path, but for Bill Gates old man – Bill Sr., an old-line corporate lawyer Seattleite (K&L Gates) – giving Bill Junior the what-for.

    The Seattle Times – a center-right corporatist paper of record I am not usually fond of – hit the nail on the head last year – http://seattletimes.com/html/b.....ain25.html

  73. 73
    Rook says:

    There’s bigger issues than the man being a libertarian. Amazon’s 600 million dollar contract to build the CIA a cloud computing system calls into question any endeavor by the post to be an honest reporting organization under Jeff Bezos.

  74. 74
  75. 75

    […] liberal blogger John Cole describing the Washington Post as an AIPAC sheet and wondering what new ownership will do to its hasbara […]

  76. 76
    mclaren says:

    Maybe because everyone recognizes that Israel is going to continue getting U.S. diplomatic support and military aid no matter what any newspaper writes and no matter who’s president, so it’s a non-issue.

  77. 77

    […] liberal blogger John Cole describing the Washington Post as an AIPAC sheet and wondering what new ownership will do to its hasbara […]

  78. 78
    Kathleen Galt says:

    On NPR’s Diane Rehm show the other day (The Sale Of The Washington Post And The Future Of Print Journalism
    link to thedianerehmshow.org
    Diane and team discussed the shift at the Washington Post. All of the guest and Diane were tripping over each other fueling the myths that the WaPo has such remarkable “journalistic standards.” Not once did they allow a question or comment through about the obvious group think that the WaPo and other MSM outlets willingly participated in by reporting the deadly WMD’s in Iraq hooey. Not a whisper. Not a whisper about how decades of Graham family rule etc insured that the I/P issue would never be reported about fairly. It was a WaPo love fest. Diane led the ass kissing .

    Well worth listening to and reading the transcript

  79. 79
    Kathleen Galt says:

    @mclaren:

    The public is becoming more aware of the facts on the ground and support no matter what is shifting

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