Whenever a journalism enterprise succeeds, I cheer — even when it’s a competitor of the Washington Examiner, or when I dislike the ideology involved. Whenever a journalism enterprise fails, I’m saddened.
My reasons are selfish and noble, both. Mostly, (a) I want the industry where I find my livelihood to be a prosperous industry; (b) I think journalism is a crucial part of a functioning society and working republican democracy.
And so I was cheered to hear that Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post.
Here’s how I break it down, briefly:
1. The bad thing reflected here — that the Post was losing the Grahams too much money — is something we already knew. The new news — that a billionaire was willing to buy the Post, and that there were many bidders on the paper — is good news.
2. Billionaires who want to publish journalism and leave the journalists alone are one of the most promising current models for keeping journalism vibrant. That’s our set-up here at the Examiner.
3. While Amazon’s lobbying agenda has on occasion grated on me — notably, the company’s ‘s flip-flop on the online sales tax — most of its lobbying I find to be defensive leave-us-alone type of stuff. And its PAC is fairly dormant, which is good. In short, I think Bezos, like Apple’s Steve Jobs and unlike Google’s Eric Schmidt, mostly wants to run businesses and not be a political player. That’s good for the Post.