Whereas Bezos has each proper to tweet, that also doesn’t clarify why a person who personally owns the capital’s newspaper of file, the Washington Publish, whose Amazon spends more on lobbying than any other tech company, who traditionally has talked frequently with the newspaper’s govt editor and editorial web page editor, would really feel the necessity to marketing campaign for his enterprise pursuits with the dumb brevity of Twitter that favors wisecracks over substance. He didn’t take that route in 2019, when the Nationwide Enquirer appeared to publish details about his personal life. As an alternative, Bezos went all long-form on the tabloid with a preemptive post on his Medium blog. Good Bezos! If Biden’s inflation tweet so wigged him out, he ought to have written one thing worthy of his station as a substitute of resorting to the hit and run of Twitter like a median citizen (or a journalist!) would do.

Bezos ought to contemplate how counterproductive his Twitter spats with the president and his fellow mogul are. Whether or not he likes it or not, he’s now the face of the Washington Publish. Twitter fulminations might give Bezos a Blue Origin rush of ego-gratification, however why ought to the person who owns a whole dairy get such a kick out of sipping from a personal-sized milk carton? Not solely that, Bezos’ outbursts may additionally unfairly complicate life for his personal journalists; if the paper produces crucial protection of the president — usually greater than justified! — Publish skeptics will marvel if it was marching orders from the boss.

Like most businessmen, Bezos is as critical about excessive taxation (in opposition to it), unionization (in opposition to it), regulation (in opposition to it) and privateness laws (in opposition to it) as Miguel Cabrera is about hitting a baseball. And he calls for deep considering from his subordinates, as an underappreciated November investigation by Jeffrey Dastin, Chris Kirkham and Aditya Kalra of Reuters concluded: Bezos orders his executives to jot down fluent “six pagers” when making shows to him as a substitute of bullet-point shows. Wrasslin’ with Biden on Twitter would appear to be just a little out of character for Bezos, besides he took the bait in 2015, when candidate Donald Trump accused him of buying the Post to lower his taxes. Bezos tweeted back, “Lastly trashed by @realDonaldTrump. Will nonetheless reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket. #sendDonaldtospace.

Or is it so out of character? Like many billionaires, Bezos is wealthy sufficient to personal a few faces and takes the initiative to put on the one which most closely fits his functions. Amazon has at all times performed a high-sticking model of offense on the general public relations entrance, routinely stiffing reporters who ask questions — or because the headline to this June 2021 Mother Jones piece by Ali Breland places it, “bullies, manipulates, and lies” to them. “The everyday [Amazon PR] transfer is to push for quite a few corrections that aren’t truly factual errors however simply temper/tone edits. After which to argue over the cellphone about them in the event that they aren’t agreed to,” Motherboard tech and labor reporter Edward Ongweso Jr. advised Breland. The Reuters piece uncovered a 2015 Amazon inner technique memo wherein firm communications govt Drew Herdener summed up its overarching message on this margin be aware: “We would like policymakers and press to concern us.”

Bezos’ Twitter outbursts make for a bizarre distinction when in comparison with the sobriety of the Washington Publish itself. Ever since he purchased the paper in 2013, I’ve been on the hunt for examples of the paper pulling Bezos punches, however to my disappointment, I’ve struck out. The Publish has reported as completely on Amazon’s union battles, its privateness points, its merchandise, and Bezos’ different pursuits as it might have when the earlier regime — the Graham household — owned it. If something, the paper has been extra aggressive on Amazon tales, usually beating rivals to the punch. Go forward and accuse the Publish of doing Bezos’ direct bidding in its pages, however present some proof.

This laudable separation of church and state could be attributed to each Bezos and likewise to Publish editors and reporters. Did any individual inform Bezos when he purchased the Publish {that a} newspaper stays nice provided that it has an excellent proprietor who places the pursuits of the paper earlier than his personal? Let’s hope so. That Bezos has allowed Amazon to mistreat the press can and must be held in opposition to him. The press shouldn’t must concern his firm, as his govt insisted in 2015. However outdated habits die exhausting. Nonetheless, so long as the corporate’s anti-press habits doesn’t bleed into the Publish, that’s a compromise we must be ready to make.

In the meantime, if Bezos desires to be taken personally critically with reference to inflation or different public coverage subject, he can write a six pager. Jeff, buddy, depart Twitter to the civilians and pundits.


If I had an editorial board working for me, I wouldn’t tweet in any respect. Ship six pagers to [email protected]. My e-mail alerts posted a no emptiness signal a few weeks in the past, and individuals are nonetheless asking to enroll. My Twitter feed is seeking to outsource its tweets to an editorial board. My RSS feed considers itself church and state.