Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has purchased the Washington Post and all its affiliated properties for $250 million. In Bezos, the Post has found a forward-thinking owner with business acumen and unlimited dollars who will almost certainly cultivate an environment that is open to innovative ideas and change. He may be the type of owner who can help transform the entire news industry.
Those expecting an ideologically shift at the Post, though, will likely be disappointed.
Bezos, reportedly worth around $25 billion, has generally steered clear of politics over most of his career, spending significant amounts of cash on things like an aerospace company called Blue Origin, which aims to make space travel more affordable, and a 10,000-year clock in Texas.
The Amazon.com political PAC, like many businesses, spreads it around. Most of Bezos??? political contributions have gone to Democrats ??? most of it, not surprisingly, to Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell from his home state of Washington. His most significant political contribution was a $2.5 million check to the Referendum 74 pro same-sex marriage campaign in Washington state.
Bezos is supposedly a libertarian. “From numerous interviews and speeches given since even before the founding of Amazon, it is clear that Jeff Bezos has always been a practical libertarian, not a principled libertarian,” claims this Motley Fool piece. Judging from the evidence this seems unlikely. Bezos might be a practical businessman but his”libertarian” reputation probably comes from Amazon.com???s one-time campaign against an Internet tax. It’s misguided, because the company supports a national Internet tax today. And though he may not be an economic progressive, his position is hardly Hayek. Socially liberal? Yes. But his company rent seeks with the best of them.
Follow David Harsanyi on Twitter @davidharsanyi.