Jeff Bezos’s acquisition of the Washington Post elicited a myriad of sympathetic and sad responses yesterday. Today the coverage continues, and the hysterics are even more overblown, if that’s even possible. Ruth Marcus compared the Graham’s decision to Sophie’s Choice, the film in which a mother had to decide which of her children would be sent to a Nazi gas chamber and which would be sent to the labor camp.
That’s not a misprint or an Onion headline. That’s how the media establishment in Washington sees the Post.
The New Yorker also covered the sale and managed to avoid absurd comparisons. But they still couldn’t help showing a little sentimentality:
In fact, Graham told them, in a voice so full of emotion that he had to stop a few times to gather himself, they were selling the Post and a handful of smaller papers—for two hundred and fifty million dollars, to Jeff Bezos, the founder and C.E.O. of Amazon, who is estimated to be worth more than twenty-five billion dollars. Graham asked the people there not to tweet, just to listen. The assembled were so stunned that when it came time for questions no one had any for a while; Graham had to urge them out of their silence.
“This was just plain sad. Now we belong to a guy who is so rich that the paper is around one per cent of his net worth,” a reporter told me soon after the meeting. “This was the family acknowledging that we can’t do it anymore, and we have to give it to someone else. And we love the Graham family, we are proud of the family.”
Businesses, large and small, go out of business constantly. Yet the sale of the Washington Post has dominated Beltway news coverage for two days—a sale that saved the newspaper by the way.
I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
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