Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The New Gilded Age
This is a fascinating piece of analysis from Josh Marshall. Basically, he looks at Jeff Bezos buying the WaPo and opining: "Since we're in the new Gilded Age, we just need to assess whether Bezos is Andrew Carnegie or John Rockefeller."
Newspapers are not profitable and owning them in the 21st century will be something akin to patronizing the arts or libraries in the 19th century.
But newspapers - unlike TV news - tends to commit actual journalism from time to time. They investigate actual stories, develop sources and run scoops.
Since Bezos' business model is squeezing the living crap out of his employees in order to produce a cheap product for the consumer, it will be interesting to see how the WaPo's editorial stance changes. The Wall Street Journal went from conservative to Tea Party when Murdoch took over, but their reporters still do good reporting.
Now, the WaPo used to be owned by Kaplan testing services, which made it subservient to the idea of privatized education "reform". So it's not like Bezos is bedding a virgin here.
But Washington DC is like the rest of America. There is a very, very wealthy top and a struggling middle and bottom. It will be interesting to see how the Bezos WaPo differs from the Kaplan WaPo.