Case Study: The Folk Who Run the Media in America
The Washington Post was purchased by billionaire, drone aficionado, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2013. The purchase surprised people at the time, considering the newspaper’s circulation, like ALL PRINT, was floundering. Here are some bullet points from a 2016 Business Insider piece:
“I didn’t know anything about the newspaper business … But I did know something about the internet,” Bezos told Business Insider in a 2014 interview.
In fact, Bezos liked the opportunity so much that he didn’t do any due diligence and just signed the first $250 million offer sheet that came from [Don] Graham.
Its [the Post now under Bezos] content-distribution strategy also involved a lot of social media, like Facebook and Twitter. It also offered discounts to Amazon Prime members, while making The Washington Post app pre-installed on Amazon’s Fire tablets.
Bezos continues to be very involved with The Post’s operations. He holds one-hour conference calls with executives every two weeks, and brings them into Seattle twice a year for longer meetings.
Source: Business Insider
It’s also the case that Bezos was voted the “World’s Worst Boss” in relation to Amazon, the company he runs. Good to know. Doesn’t that say something about how Bezos views the world? Oh, and I’m assuming the unions were voting on the worst boss in the world, but they could have been voting for worst boss of the world, considering Bezos’ planetary influence.
The union organization, the International Trade Union Confederation, met in Berlin in 2014, with over 1500 delegates from 161 countries. The ITUC is the world’s largest trade union federation and says it represents 180 million workers.
As far as how ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow views the world:
“Corporate power is out of control, it is cowering governments with threats of capital flight. The greed of the 1% is of more interest to our governments than the 99%. We decided we would start exposing some of the elements of the worst boss phenomena – undermining democracy, undermining workers’ rights.”
Burrow spoke of Amazon specifically:
“Amazon operating in Germany treats its workers as if they are robots. The company makes no secret that within just a few years they will replace workers with robots. A rich American corporation operating globally with disdain for dignity, for rights for working people. Jeff Bezos represents the inhumanity of employers who are promoting the American corporate model.”
Burrow continued to summarize workers’ complaints (I am not sure if this is in relation to Amazon’s operations in Germany or elsewhere):
“Workers at Amazon distribution centres are required to wear digital arm mounted terminals that monitor their every move. There are no agreed protocols about breaks and speed, and a culture of bullying and harassment is rife. Staff are reprimanded just for speaking to one another or even pausing to catch their breath.”
Even though I love to buy my C.D.s and other shit from Amazon, man, I feel a little guilty about it now. Bezos appears to be a psychopath and/or sociopath, which I suppose is the tried and true genetic and psychological rig if your soul’s destiny is a position of power in our society.
UNI Global Union, which claims to represent 20 million workers, weighed in by way of General Secretary Philip Jennings:
Against tough opposition Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has today been voted worst boss in the world, beating off rivals from other serial workers rights offenders, including Walmart.
Commenting on Bezos’s accolade as the worst boss in the world, the General Secretary of UNI Global Union, Philip Jennings said, “We don’t accept the Amazon model of the new economy. Their model is unsustainable and is based on treating its workforce – permanent, part-time and temporary, as inhuman robots.”
“Bezos is seen as a great innovator but Amazon owes its success to a vision of the future which treats its staff as if they were 19th century factory workers. The Amazon model is a scam which takes public funds while mistreating that same public, siphons profits out of the countries to avoid paying tax and creates a culture of precarious jobs. There is nothing fulfilling about working at Amazon’s so-called ‘fulfilment’ distribution centres.”
“He represents the image of the new economy in the worst possible way and that is why this large public vote called him out as the worst boss on the planet. Who knows how many of Amazon’s 15,000 work force in Germany added their voice against him! Bezos won because if we, the people, do not stand up to the Amazon vision of the new economy no one else will, not governments and certainly not businesses themselves.”
Amazon got called out in America too. According to a 2015 New York Times article, the conditions are terrible for Amazon’s white collar workers too. Think of the times you have had to deal with a psychotic, back-stabbing co-worker– and then imagine a company culture that does everything it can to foster such behavior:
At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)
Losers leave or are fired in annual cullings of the staff — “purposeful Darwinism,” one former Amazon human resources director said. Some workers who suffered from cancer, miscarriages and other personal crises said they had been evaluated unfairly or edged out rather than given time to recover.
Even as the company tests delivery by drone and ways to restock toilet paper at the push of a bathroom button, it is conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable. The company, founded and still run by Jeff Bezos, rejects many of the popular management bromides that other corporations at least pay lip service to and has instead designed what many workers call an intricate machine propelling them to achieve Mr. Bezos’ ever-expanding ambitions.
[One worker] lasted less than two years in a book marketing role and said that his enduring image was watching people weep in the office, a sight other workers described as well. “You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face,” he said. “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”
Source: New York Times
(As I conceded in my last post, just because a news source is a mouthpiece for the Establishment doesn’t discredit everything it says. There are reports from a variety of sources that Bezos treats his employees like Medieval serfs. The NYT is one of the usual suspects when it comes to Fake News, but that doesn’t mean the NYT is incapable of writing a true story.) That NYT article went on to recount (and link to) a graduation speech Bezos gave:
He wanted his grandmother to stop smoking, he recalled in a 2010 graduation speech at Princeton. He didn’t beg or appeal to sentiment. He just did the math, calculating that every puff cost her a few minutes. “You’ve taken nine years off your life!” he told her. She burst into tears.
Bezos mistreats his newspaper employees also, according to a WaPo writer who was given a 9/1/2017 op-ed in the Huffington Post:
Two years ago… Bezos slashed retirement benefits… Bezos’ decision on retirement benefits had nothing to do with the balance sheet and, arguably, everything to do with ideology.
Only by making sacrifices was the Post’s union able to maintain health insurance for part-timers — whose cost of coverage was about what the Post spent to send its publisher to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
He seems to be enjoying his newfound acclaim as the Post’s savior while displaying a laissez faire attitude to the financial well-being of its employees — especially those who do not have a famous byline but who make its journalism possible by copy-editing stories, driving circulation trucks, mining social media or selling ads.
Source: Huffington Post
Of course, the WaPo employee who wrote the Huffington Post op-ed, Fredrick Kunkle, was disciplined by WaPo.
Finally, it is interesting to note that Bezos’ Amazon secured a $600 million contract from the CIA to build a “computing cloud… allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily.”
I don’t know the details about why Amazon got the job instead of the other bidders like IBM; most of the process was “secret” anyway and I’m not sure it matters. But there is no denying that Bezos (now) has a connection to the CIA. Many people have voiced concern about the “tips” and “leaks” from the intelligence community that are routinely fed to Bezos’ newspaper, and which the Post dutifully publishes (usually as “fact”).
There may be those of you who think this sounds like a conspiracy theory. All I am doing here is pointing out the obvious– that really rich, greedy plutocrats run our newspapers and other MSM sources, and they have no interest in the regular Joe’s plight (or worse, they have an actual ideological bias in favor of social Darwinism, which tends to mean “might makes right”).
Do I think Jeff Bezos bought a newspaper because newspapers are having a huge resurgence in circulation? Hell no. Well actually, yes and no. It appears that Bezos was able to “update” the paper and build its online presence tremendously. The Post still carries a lot of cachet with coastal elites. But more to the point, I agree with the hordes of unwashed masses who suspect Bezos was actually more interested in having a convenient way to dictate our reality.
Regardless of Bezos’ schemes, the WaPo’s relationship with the CIA goes back to the 50s or earlier. See this great summary from December 2016 in Zero Hedge.
Next: A return to the Bana Alabed discussion.