Jeff Bezos: The Biggest Media Schizophrenic on Earth
Published: 2018-03-09

Ironically, it was around March 6, 2017 that the Washington Post first proudly printed its new slogan at the top of its front page: Democracy Dies in Darkness. Ironic because it was on that very day that Bezos’s first and still by-far-largest enterprise, Amazon.com, expunged over 155 history books in three languages and both formats (print and electronic) from its offerings on all its English-language sites. If democracy that day didn’t die at least on Amazon, what did die? Truth? Freedom of expression? In all its communication with the publisher of most of these books, Castle Hill Publishers, Amazon obdurately refused to explain its action any more than to say the books “violate its content guidelines.” [1]

The Washington Post, even in its online manifestation, remains a “newspaper”—a daily all-new publication of finite, or limited space where some potential “news” must be omitted on account of space limitations. Decisions on that score are one of the chief challenges of what is called “editing.” Presumably the Post does this in such a way as to shed the minimum of that democracy-killing darkness.

Not so over at the Largest Bookstore on Earth where, as has been said also at Wikipedia, “it’s not paper”—that is, the list of books isn’t paper; never was, never will be; it can be expanded indefinitely. It’s a slowly accreting, essentially static (except for the occasional book-burning such as here discussed) list. But it is precisely in the Books (and Kindle Store) sections of Amazon.com where a decision that can only be called editorial was imposed last March to expunge titles Amazon had previously carried, some of them dating back well past 1998, when Bezos declared in a speech he gave at Lake Forest College[2] in Lake Forest, Ill. that he intended for his then-young Internet site to carry all books—“the good, the bad and the ugly.” Amazon retains this reputation from sheer inertia, but it obviously no longer deserves it. But because of it, the revisionist canon, of which not the slightest trace remains (not even used copies), have been made into what George Orwell might have called “unbooks.”

Amazon will soon open a “second headquarters” somewhere in the United States. My bet is on the Washington, DC area. When that second capital of Jeff Bezos’s empire has been established in the Imperial Capital, it should then be possible to travel in a short drive from where Democracy Dies in Darkness to Where History Goes to Be Buried. Can a “house” so divided against itself stand, as Lincoln might ask?

But perhaps it really isn’t divided against itself. Perhaps “Democracy Dies in Darkness” is merely window dressing, a red herring, a calculated lie. That would mean Jeff Bezos is hypocritical, or worse.

Much, much worse …


[1] The whole, ugly story is told at https://codoh.com/news/3412/. Names are named.

[2] Video of speech at www.c-span.org/video/?c4620829/jeff-bezos; remark at about 00:19:15.


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Author(s): Jett Rucker
Title: Jeff Bezos: The Biggest Media Schizophrenic on Earth
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Published: 2018-03-09
First posted on CODOH: March 9, 2018, 11:12 a.m.
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