President Donald Trump’s insistence on calling the Washington Post the “Amazon Washington Post” riles the newspaper’s executive editor, Martin Baron, to no end. He wants one and all to know that the online retailer and the newspaper are distinct corporate entities.
“There isn’t anybody here who is paid by Amazon,” Baron told the New York Times on Monday. “Not one penny.”
Further distancing Amazon from the Washington Post, Baron said that the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, involves himself only in the paper’s business doings, not its news coverage. “He’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story,” Baron said.
I have little doubt that this is true, but Baron’s argument is a distinction without a difference. Bezos became the world’s richest person through his labors at Amazon, which he still controls. He purchased the Post in 2013 with $250 million of his Amazon pin money. While it might be more accurate to call the newspaper the “Bezos Washington Post,” seeing as Bezos and Amazon are joined at the hip, it’s not ridiculous to speak of the paper—at least in the vernacular—as the Amazon Washington Post. If Amazon didn’t exist, it’s unlikely the Washington Post would exist in its current form.