Friday, August 9, 2013

Citizen Bezos

The Times ran a piece about the acquisition of The Washington Post by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The price was $250,000,000. “The purchase price of $250 million is a pittance for a man who ranked 19th on the Forbes Magazine list of billionaires, with an estimated fortune of more than $25 billion (“A Mogul Gets a Landmark in the Capital,” NYT, 8/6/13), the Times noted. Communication makes for strange bedfellows. The Washington Post was once the proud fiefdom of the Graham family, whose prominence like that of the Sulzberger clan derived from the creation of a great journalistic enterprise. Now The Washington Post is a mere plaything for one of the most prominent of the new generation of super magnates who have landed on earth from cyberspace. Star Wars has overtaken the Fourth Estate. Just when everyone is thinking the newspaper business has become moribund, it becomes apparent that the seemingly arcane world of print journalism still catches the eye of modern moguls, who possesse a level of wealth never dreamt of even by Citizen Kane, aka William Randolph Hearst. Warren Buffett is another billionaire who dabbles in newsprint (and in the same price range as Bezos, his holdings valued at approximately $344,000,000 too). On a lesser scale the Han Solos of high finance like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes have snared small though prestigious catches like The New Republic. How long before The NewYork Times and prestigious Conde Nast publications like The New Yorker become the trophy wives of billionaires?

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