Press freedom, for billionaires only?

This 28 December 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

In 2013, [ boss] Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million. Only 4 months later, he was awarded a $600 million contract with the CIA. So the CIA has a direct connection to the Washington Post, the paper of record in our nation’s capital, but they refuse to add a disclosure to stories they write about the CIA.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In 2013, the media world was turned upside down: Jeff Bezos, rich because of Amazon, buys The Washington Post for $ 250 million. Meanwhile, that is ‘the new normal’. Last night it was announced that Marc Benioff, another tech billionaire, is paying 190 million dollars for the American magazine Time.

Benioff is unknown to the general public. He got his fortune from Salesforce, the company he co-founded in 1999. … In 2017, Salesforce had sales of nearly 8.4 billion dollars. Benioff itself accounts for about 6 billion dollars.

Widow of Steve Jobs

There are already four wealthy people from the tech world who have invested a small part of their assets in a journalistic medium. Beside Bezos and Benioff, Laurene Powell-Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, decided to take a majority interest in The Atlantic magazine. The Los Angeles Times has been owned since the beginning of this year by Patrick Soon-Shiong; who has made his money in biotech.

Benioff, like the other billionaires, promises not to interfere in the [journalistic] day to day business. They speak of a ‘family investment’ that is separate from Salesforce. …

“We’re seeing tech leaders take a greater interest in preserving fundamentals of society that are increasingly under attack“, says Laurie Segall, who has been following Benioff for CNN for years. …

It is not immediately clear which fundamentals of capitalist society Ms Segall and the new press barons mean.

The right of people like the richest man in the world, Bezos of, to treat injured workers in Texas, USA like shit? The right of people like the richest man in the world, Bezos of, to treat workers in Britain like shit? The right of people like the richest man in the world, Bezos of, to treat an injured Spanish worker like shit? The right of people like the richest man in the world, Bezos of, to summon the police to beat up his Spanish workers if they go on strike?

Every time such an acquisition takes place there are numerous questions, for example whether editors can continue to report independently. … “I would be greatly ashamed if I did [stop articles]” said Amazon CEO Bezos earlier this year.

If Washington Post readers want to make critical comments about the bad conditions for workers at the paper’s site, then their comments are censored.

A new, extremely rich investor does not mean that employees are always satisfied. In June this year, more than 400 employees of The Washington Post sent their owner a letter asking for a better salary.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about rich people from the tech sector investing in traditional media.

Journalism is a rich person’s hobby now“, tweeted journalist Linda Stern.

“[Magazine and newspaper] Print is the new yacht“, added a CEO from the advertising industry.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff are buying Time magazine for $190 million from Meredith Corp.

6 thoughts on “Press freedom, for billionaires only?

  1. Pingback: Amazon boss Bezos, world’s richest man, warmonger | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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