When Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was announced as the future owner of the Washington Post, the world was curious. After a little bit of time passed, the deacons of professional journalism did what they often decry – worked themselves into a tizzy of speculation. Notable press critic Jay Rosen of NYU noted that Amazon booted Wikileaks off of its servers as soon as the government asked them to. “That’s not answering the bell for freedom of information. That’s doing what the surveillance state requires, and relying on a legalism to justify it,” he wrote.
Others have been more alarmist. The Post’s own Allan Sloan asked in an op-ed for more disclosure of Bezos’ personal politics: “I’d at least like to hear from Bezos what his beliefs are and to have him reconcile the question of his being a libertarian who’s benefited immensely from taxpayers’ R&D money.”
What are Bezos’ plans and more importantly the philosophy that guided him to buy the Post? We will find out. But there may be much less to it than something to fear.