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Bezos makes the Washington Post worse

DCblogger's picture

Ronald Reagan’s No. 1 superfan now runs the Washington Post

I want to add some thoughts to the Salon article. The Washington Post has problems way beyond the typical "finding a business model in the digital age" problem. Way beyond.

The Washington Post is a right wing Republican newspaper in a Democratic town. The inside-the-beltway precincts have gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1960, every single one.

Greater Washington grows more liberal with each passing year. Obama carried every jurisdiction from Frederick Maryland to Fredricksburg Virginia, every jurisdiction from the Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a liberal area. Yet, for reasons best known to itself, The Post libeled Clinton, helped steal the 2000 election, lied us into the Iraq war, and participated in the betrayal of a CIA case officer.. This is just a partial list of their offenses. All of these things profoundly offended the worker bees of the home delivery market.

Since then things have only gotten worse. The Op-Ed section, which has become a regional embarrassment, has featured columns defending torture and child molestation, to say nothing of George Will insulting rape victims. Fred Hiatt ran The Washington Star into the ground and he is in the process of running The Post into the ground. But it would not be enough to replace him. The Post needs an editorial section significantly to the left of what it is now to win back the home delivery market.

Greater Washington is majority-minority. Not just the city itself, but the region as a whole. It is also majority female. So the openly racist-sexist editorial pages do NOT appeal to the home delivery market.

Now, the digital version of the Washington Post is an international newspaper; but its mystique rests upon the notion that nearly everyone in the Greater Washington area reads it. Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call are all publications for Versailles. The Washington Post is supposded to be a mass market news paper. But it isn't. Not anymore. Bezos thinks his competition is The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Not so. His competition is McClatchy, The Guardian, and to a lesser extent Google and Yahoo news. Back when I was still active in Democratic politics, I was struck by the fact that no one south of 50 read The Post. Should word get out that few of Washington's worker bees read The Post, the international appeal would evaporate. I really don't think that Bezos's Reaganaut publisher has any idea of how his neighbors feel about The Post.

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Submitted by lambert on

Could Bezos be planning to go all digital, and abandon the home delivery market altogether?

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

could be, but once it is known that nobody in Washington other than the out of touch elite read the post its international market will dry up. Who in London reads Politico? or The Hill? or Roll Call? no one. Those are elite gossip sheets only interesting to members of the elite. The Washington Post is supposed to be the newspaper of Washington. Once it is known that Washington reads McClatchy or The Guardian and the mystique will evaporate. Bezos does not have to preserve the paper edition, but he does not the readers of Greate Washington,

Submitted by lambert on

I like this argument but I feel like it's the sign of some larger social phenomenon I can't quite name, besides Clang Birds disappearing up their own orifices.

It's not just the elite only talking to themselves, it's that they seem not to think anything else is needed.

illusionofjoy's picture
Submitted by illusionofjoy on

My local newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has partnered with The Washington Post so that since I have a subscription to the local paper, I have unlimited digital access to it as well as unlimited digital access to The Washington Post. TWP recently sent me a customer satisfaction survey, which I answered honestly. I'm sure they loved the comment I made about how they could improve the quality of their paper by "firing all of their right-wing editors and columnists."