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How Jeff Bezos Will Change Washington

How Jeff Bezos Will Change Washington
Photograph by Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg

The news arrived in Washington like a thunderclap late Monday afternoon: Amazon founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos was buying the storied Washington Post for $250 million. The initial analysis revolved around the question of whether Bezos could revivify an industry that’s suffered steep, continuing losses with no end in sight. In a statement, he hastened to reassure employees that “[t]he values of the Post do not need changing” and that the current management team, including editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, will remain in place.

But it’s impossible to imagine that the views and values of the paper’s owner won’t filter through to the print (and digital!) product. The Post is an institution with considerable influence in Washington, which means that Bezos himself will now wield real influence over public policy. That raises the question of how he will affect Washington and its policy and political debates.