Jeff Bezos' Thoughtcrime

Media bias only matters if you're a libertarian.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite personal devices on Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is paying $250 million for the Washington Post, though Amazon will not own any part of the Post.

Jeff Bezos has some explaining to do – or at least that's the gist of an op-ed by Fortune magazine editor Allan Sloan. Bezos' crime? Wanting to invest some of his vast fortune into the struggling newspaper industry while simultaneously daring to hold free-market beliefs.

Yes, that's right, Bezos is guilty of the thoughtcrime of quietly subscribing to libertarianism.

Given the third-degree interrogation to which Sloan thinks Bezos deserves to be subjected, one might think Bezos has been an outspoken advocate of his views. Not so! In the topsy-turvy world Sloan apparently resides in, it's much more suspicious that Bezos is so reserved about his politics.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

Bezos "ducks and weaves when he's asked about libertarianism," Sloan writes. "When I exposed the thesis of this column to Amazon, I couldn't even get a response, much less an interview." Because the wildly successful founder of surely has time for condescending reporters openly intending to lambast him in print. I'm sure Bezos wasn't actually busy – it's not like he's in the midst of a $250-million deal to take over the reins of a major newspaper that's been hemorrhaging readers and fighting to stay afloat.


Every outlet in the world is owned by someone. Yet for some reason, it's only when that someone exhibits signs of believing capitalism can be a force for good that anyone worries about the insidious "influence" his views could have on the publication. The hand wringing never quite seems to materialize when it's a liberal mogul "imposing his standards and beliefs" on the opinion pages of a paper.

Media bias? Never. Right-wing entrepreneurs thinking they can get into the game? Now that's a cause for panic.

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