Washington Post Finds Itself inside Middle of the Jeff Bezos Story

Jeff Bezos says owning The Washington Post is usually a “complexifier” for him. The newspaper could say the same about him.

The paper has flourished under Mr. Bezos’ ownership. Since he bought the newspaper in 2013 for $250 million, The Post has added over 0 people to its newsroom, which at which point numbers 900 journalists, as well as won plaudits as well as awards for its coverage of, among some other subjects, the Trump administration. The paper has more than 1.5 million digital subscribers, as well as the business has been profitable for the past three years.

however the newsroom entered tricky editorial terrain last week when which became a factor in an apparent extortion attempt against Mr. Bezos, while also having to independently cover the events around its owner.

The drama featured a litany of classic tabloid elements which could challenge any newsroom — a marriage-busting affair documented by The National Enquirer, Hollywood agents with ties to political figures, secret rendezvous at high-end hotels as well as sexting — let alone one whose owner sits at the center of the controversy.

which was also a stark reminder which Mr. Bezos is usually a very public figure of great wealth as well as influence. He is usually the earth’s richest person by dint of his command of Amazon, a company which is usually reaching further as well as further into the lives of everyday people, whether through its e-commerce business, its entertainment properties or its numerous warehouses around the country which employ hundreds of thousands.

His personal project, Blue Origin, describes its mission as “building a road to space so our children can build the future.”

With his blog post detailing his extortion allegations last week, Mr. Bezos has at which point also become a prominent commentator on the First Amendment. He said he was fighting back against alleged tactics which have no business in journalism, while The Enquirer claims he is usually merely trying to muzzle a publication because its coverage embarrassed him.

The editorial page of The Post clearly sides with its owner. On Friday, the day after Mr. Bezos published his blog post, the paper published an editorial praising him for exposing an “insidious design of intimidation as well as corruption masquerading as journalism.”

The overall situation will “test both Marty Baron as well as Jeff Bezos,” Kyle Pope, the editor as well as publisher of The Columbia Journalism Review, said in an email, referring to The Post’s executive editor. Mr. Bezos gets “Great marks so far,” Mr. Pope said, however “the truth is usually which the rules of journalism are not baked into his bones; which’s something he’s going to have to learn, at a very stressful as well as trying time.”

Mr. Bezos did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Baron declined to be interviewed however offered a statement.

“Jeff has never gotten involved in our reporting or our final stories,” he said. “People surmise which which must be difficult to cover Jeff as well as Amazon. however we’ve gone all 5 as well as a half years with his ownership, as well as he hasn’t once intervened in any way.”

The clash between Mr. Bezos as well as The Enquirer began last month when the tabloid published an exposé of his extramarital affair with the television personality Lauren Sanchez. Mr. Bezos fought back in his remarkably revealing blog post on Medium, the online open platform. He accused David J. Pecker, the chairman of The Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., of threatening through intermediaries to publish graphic photographs of Mr. Bezos if he did not publicly announce which The Enquirer’s reporting on his affair was not politically motivated.

The Post has traditionally focused on the nation’s capital, with not as many resources devoted to business coverage. which has began to change. The Post had previously said which could nearly double the number of journalists devoted to covering Silicon Valley to 25, including a reporter in Seattle who will focus on Amazon.

which also aggressively followed up on the revelation about Mr. Bezos’ private life.

The Post published a lengthy article on Feb. 5 about The Enquirer’s coverage of Mr. Bezos’ affair. which quoted Gavin de Becker, his longtime security chief, as saying the leak of evidence of Mr. Bezos’ infidelity to The Enquirer was “politically motivated,” designed to embarrass Mr. Bezos because he owns The Post. Mr. de Becker added which the effort could also involve figures coming from President Trump’s campaign.

Emails coming from American Media which Mr. Bezos included in his blog post referred to the Post article as well as demanded which he — as well as the newspaper — refrain coming from any statements or suggestions which politics played any part in its coverage of his affair with Ms. Sanchez.

Like some other newspapers, including The brand new York Times, The Post ran front-page articles on Mr. Bezos as well as American Media on Friday as well as Saturday. Those were not the only articles about his interests. The paper also published a report about Amazon’s potentially pulling out of its agreement to build a headquarters in brand new York City, as well as one about a lawsuit filed against Amazon by the director Woody Allen, who said its streaming service had improperly backed out of a four-movie deal with him.

“I think they’ve finally woken up to the fact which their owner is usually a huge story,” said Mr. Pope, who has criticized the paper’s past coverage of Amazon as anemic. With the fight between Mr. Bezos as well as American Media, he said, “they’ve moved into an appropriately higher gear.”

Mr. Baron said the paper had not changed its approach to its coverage of Mr. Bezos or his business interests. Mr. Baron has said which he talks with Mr. Bezos about “strategy” every two weeks or so, however which the discussions do not touch on the paper’s coverage. Mr. Bezos owns The Post separately coming from Amazon.

“Because I know full well which he won’t interfere, which’s not truly difficult to cover him as well as Amazon at all,” Mr. Baron said in his statement. “In all the years of his ownership, there hasn’t been one report of his exerting influence, explicitly or implicitly, on our coverage.”

Frederick J. Ryan Jr., the publisher as well as chief executive of The Post, echoed those sentiments in a statement, as well as said Mr. Bezos had played no part inside editorial which praised his blog post.

“Jeff has always made which clear which he expects The Washington Post will act with complete independence, both in our news coverage as well as editorials, as well as treat him as well as his companies just as we could anyone else,” Mr. Ryan wrote. “We have never wavered coming from which position.”

Donald Graham, whose family had owned The Post for almost 80 years before he sold which to Mr. Bezos, said he was “delighted” by the editorial. “I agree with every word of which,” he said in an email.

He added, “Had they not editorialized, perhaps The Times could be doing a piece about the absence of such an editorial as well as what did which mean?”