Imagine that Jeff Bezos asked his vice-president for sales IT how many people had purchased products from Amazon the day before, and the veep said he'd get back to him "in a few weeks." How many nanoseconds do you think that hapless employee would last in his job?
But on today's Morning Joe, there was the Obama admin's David Simas, sporting the lofty title of Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy, smiling insouciantly while saying that it would be a "few weeks" before the Obama admin would say how many people had signed up for Obamacare. Conclusion: either: 1. the Obama admin's information technology planning and implementation is grossly incompetent; and/or 2. President Obama doesn't want Americans to know just how few people have signed up for Obamacare--particularly in the young-and-healthy demographic, upon whose willingness to make the uneconomic choice of signing up the entire house of cards hinges. View the video after the jump.
In mid-August, former Washington Post business columnist Allan Sloan wrote for Fortune that it’s time for new Post owner Jeff Bezos to discuss his politics. In Tuesday's Post, media reporter Paul Farhi conducted the first interview with the new boss -- and there's no mention of his politics, not even a question declined.
Is he a libertarian? Is he a promoter of "gay marriage"? There's no clue, and no wondering out loud. Instead, we get a pep talk for the news room, and pandering to the employees:
Media mogul Mort Zuckerman wins this weekend’s funniest line on a political talk show.
Asked by the host of PBS's McLaughlin Group why successful billionaires would invest in a dying business such as newspapers, Zuckerman replied, “Because they no longer wish to be billionaires” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
The Washington Post is a legend in the minds of the Washington elite, so its financial decline has caused quiet panic. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik put it, “You think of stories like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, these are all stories where The Washington Post led the nation's understanding, the world's understanding of some major issues.”
Outside the liberal media, you wonder how long Post fans can wallow in their Nixon-crumbling polyester “glory days” in the early 1970s. But nostalgia ruled as the Graham family sold the Post to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com. “Now he is being credited as a white knight with deep pockets helping to save one of this country's great newspapers,” oozed NBC reporter Tom Costello.
The Reuters news wire has an interesting little piece today that reveals that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos not only seems to have agreed to buy the Washington Post for much, much more than its market value, but that agreed to the initial asking price rather than try to haggle it down.
"Try a little editorial balance, that might bring in a few more readers to the [Washington] Post," Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto advised Jeff Bezos in a segment on Cavuto's 4 p.m. Eastern Fox News Channel program Your World. "Last time I checked, that has not hurt Fox News, or the Wall Street Journal, or even USA Today" which are media enterprises which are "all known for hearing all sides or trying to" and as a result are "all making money and all growing," unlike competing newspapers which are solidly liberal.
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell agreed. Appearing on the August 6 program to discuss Amazon.com's founder buying the money-losing broadsheet for a mere $250 million, Bozell argued [watch the segment below the page break]:
The Washington Post Co. announced on Monday that it has sold its newspaper to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The Post'sPaul Farhi reported that Bezos "will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications to the Washington Post Co."
Farhi went on to report that Amazon "will have no role in the purchase" and that Bezos will be the "sole owner when the sale is completed." Readers of the Post should not expect a change in the liberal tone of the paper however.