Friday, July 31, 2020

Amazon, Jeff Bezos, And The Influential Washington Post

Influence And Power Wrongly Placed!
After Jeff Bezos and several other CEOs testified before the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee over anti-competitive conduct the following article has taken a huge leap in importance. The Washington Post is an influencer with great power. What is the definition of an influencer? The definition of an influencer is a person or entity that exerts influence. An influencer inspires or guides the actions of others The old theme of laziness and mellowness runs counter to today's influencers, who are business-people and upscale inspirational promoters. During recent years several of the tech giants have come under fire for skewing and manipulating public opinion but sliding below the radar is the Washington Post. This means few people question the newspaper's findings, stories, articles, or opinions.

The Washington Post is by far the most influential newspaper in America. Its subtle ability to influence, shape, and mold the opinion of Americans cannot be overestimated. Day after day those working for the Washington Post are quoted time and time again as experts and authorities as they appear on talk-shows and news-feeds spreading their message. Much in the way a stone hitting the water sends out ripples, this amplifies their spin and in many ways determines the focus and direction in how we view issues. The Washington Post's power goes far beyond just reporting the news but it has the ability to plant an idea like you would a seed. It then shapes public opinion utilizing various tools and even coordinating the timing to maximize their impact.

Power Corrupts (click to enlarge)
Almost as frightening as the concentrated power held by companies such as Facebook and Google is the fact Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and the world's richest man, is the person who owns and controls the Washington Post. It is silly to think Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013 because he expected newspapers to make a lucrative resurgence. It is more likely he purchased the long-trusted U.S. newspaper for the power it would ensure him in Washington when wielded as a propaganda mouthpiece to extend his ability to both shape and control public opinion.

To be blunt, the Washington Post controls much of the narrative put before the American people. Jeff Bezos, the epitome of a person who rises to the top in unregulated capitalist systems where money rewards people who are comfortable with exploiting and harming others should not be wielding such power. The fact is, when you couple the voice of the Washington Post with Amazon, a company so deeply involved with discovering and archiving detailed files and information about individuals and politicians across America you command far too much muscle and clout.

It is not a coincidence that the Washington Post has broken many big stories that move the needle of public opinion in huge ways. This is done over the years with a cumulative effect, meaning that while many of these stories don't immediately wow us they seem to rapidly spread throughout the mainstream media taking on a life of their own and eventually have huge ramifications that can be so subtle they go unnoticed by the average American. The propaganda they dish out can be very seductive, they simply add in a few gentle jabs to embarrass their enemies and then stir the power of suggestion.

Many people do not realize it but the Washington Post cloaking itself as a pro-establishment mainstream publication can defend establishment narratives but actively attack anyone who challenges them. By this I mean it serves the wealthy and the powerful which can only exist with nonstop advertising to convince the American public that the "overall status quo" is in their best interest. The Washington Post is used to manufacture consent for that system; for the economic system, for the wars which prop it up, for the politicians which the plutocrats own and operate, for the political system which wealthy insiders have infiltrated every level.

An example of this is how a story about Roy Moore published in the Washington Post on November 9, 2017, resulted in him losing the election. WaPo reported that Moore had initiated a sexual encounter with a young girl in 1979 when she was 14 and he was 32 years old. The allegations of sexual misconduct dumped out a month before the election while never proven spread like wildfire as the term "pedophile" went viral causing Moore to lose to Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

This brings us to the question of whether The Washington Post is "that good" at uncovering and reporting the truth or simply maximizing its influence to alter and control public opinion? Even when not breaking a big story WaPo is not averse to stirring the pot and increasing outrage that can later be directed towards their target. Whether we are talking about the "Me Too" movement or just recently, the idea that record gun sales for protection because people are afraid of growing crime, will result in countless deaths.

In recent months, according to the firearm industry's trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Americans have purchased millions of guns. These gun sales have occurred during the government-mandated lockdowns and riots erupted after the killing of George Floyd. An article authored by Ryan McMaken of The Mises Institute looks into how the Washington Post is trying to turn the soaring gun sales narrative around. A recent WaPo article claims people aren't buying guns as a reaction to violence and social disarray but insists those new gun purchases are the cause of the violence in the first place. The piece even goes as far as attempting to tie the purchases to "state-level racism" using a study about data on Google searches for the n-word, an approach used by social scientists in the past.

Circling back to the crux of this article, being manipulated by bias reporting claiming to be fair and balanced is real and dangerous. This needs to be exposed and curtailed or society will be lead down a path designed to enhance the power of those in control. We must never forget that Amazon is a job-killing exploiter and the company is no stranger to sweetheart deals and has lined the pockets of its CEO, Jeff Bezos, at taxpayer expense. Many of the options Bezos employs to expand Amazon are available to him only because of the many areas his various companies engage in, this is the crux of growing antitrust talk surrounding Amazon which has become a threat to our democracy and capitalism.

Subtle but constant jabs take their toll over time and add fuel to an atmosphere that constantly warps our perception of reality. Adding to its importance is this is an election year and because our nation is so polarized the direction we take going forward matters a great deal. While Trump may not be God's gift to mankind he does represent an effort to turn back economic forces and a deep state that has become too strong. Influencers such as WaPo by effectively undermining President Trump are much more dangerous at altering the results of the election than countries like Russia or China. Little things such as reminding the electorate and women especially that Trump "does not respect women" resulted in flipping a very valuable vote in an evenly split Senate, this matters.

When WaPo helped to fuel the "MeToo" movement that was raging due to high profile revelations relating to Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men acting like pigs they shifted votes. In an article titled, "The Marginalized Voices Of The #MeToo Movement" the Post took a victory lap of sorts on December 7, 2017, by pointing out that when Time magazine recognized the #MeToo movement as its Person of the Year, it solidified just how much of a cultural moment we are in when dealing with sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men. Unstated was how the growth of the movement has further polarized our divided nation. Even the mention of this movement in a negative light has resulted in people being cast off a show or dis-invited to an event.

All this adds fuel to an atmosphere that constantly warps our perception of the Trump administration. This is then coupled with a constant barrage of headlines such as "Trump Decides To remove National Security Advisor And Others May Follow" or, "Trump To Fire McMaster As National Security Advisor, WaPo Reports But White House Denies." These often well-laundered stories tend to repeat vague rumors and innuendos which feed into the narrative of a White House in chaos. Most of these articles tend to loop back on themselves, while described as news they are designed to continually jolt the emotions of both those on the left and the right reinforcing the polarization that grips our nation but leaving nobody to blame.

This type of reporting does not stop at attacking Trump but extends into our feelings about the world including our view of Russia, North Korea, Iran, and even issues like trade. It all seems a bit ironic that it was the Washington Post which was the first to print these stories that you would normally expect to flow from a source closer to home such as a newspaper in the city or state where the event took place or the accuser lived. While this is inconclusive in proving that they were prefabricated of wrongdoing. it can be taken as proof of the power the Post wields.

One of the best descriptions I have ever read of Jeff Bezos calls him the most crafty plutocrat alive and stated he purchased the Washington Post so he could shape America's agenda. The neo-liberal Orwellian establishment that Bezos is building his empire upon has been greatly enhanced by using the long-trusted US newspaper as a propaganda mouthpiece to propel his agenda forward. Very troubling is the fact Jeff Bezos is also a contractor with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board all part of doing everything he can to cozy up and ingratiate himself to the establishment on which his empire is built. This includes kicking WikiLeaks off Amazon servers in 2010 and dovetails in a creepy way with Amazon’s involvement in surveillance systems and digital “assistance” devices like Alexa.

It amazes me that average Americans still have a difficult time internalizing the fact businesses are dying and workers are getting poorer as Bezo's empire continues to grow. Bezos is happily collaborating with depraved intelligence agencies, manipulating and propagandizing Americans, and expanding the gulf between the rich and the poor all in his effort to garner more wealth. In our system where money rewards sociopaths and money equals power the plutocrats that form alliances with each other and with defense and intelligence agencies to ensure the continuation and expansion of their empires have little concern for the average American.

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