Trump Implicitly Suggests That His DOJ Would Take Down Amazon For Antitrust
from the oh-boy dept
There was a fair bit of coverage on Monday of the news that the Donald Trump campaign had removed the press credentials from the Washington Post because the campaign was upset with the Washington Post’s coverage of the campaign. While it got a lot of attention, it was quickly pointed out that Trump has revoked or barred at least six other news outlets from receiving press passes, including Politico, the Huffington Post, the National Review, Buzzfeed and the Daily Beast. This issue is being discussed in lots of media circles. But what interested me much more was buried deeper in the full two paragraph statement that the Trump campaign later released. It included a weird and basically confused attack on Jeff Bezos, that again raises some serious questions about how Trump may use the Presidency to “settle scores.”
The Washington Post unfortunately covers Mr. Trump very inaccurately. Today’s headline, “Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting” is a perfect example. We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for “clicks” above journalistic integrity.
They have no journalistic integrity and write falsely about Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump does not mind a bad story, but it has to be honest. The fact is, The Washington Post is being used by the owners of Amazon as their political lobbyist so that they don’t have to pay taxes and don’t get sued for monopolistic tendencies that have led to the destruction of department stores and the retail industry.
There are all sorts of issues with that statement, beyond the simple fact that there appears to be basically zero evidence to support it. Yes, Jeff Bezos runs Amazon and also owns the Washington Post. But I’ve seen basically no evidence that the Washington Post has done any stories that are somehow lobbying for Amazon’s interests (for what it’s worth, Amazon tends to stay far, far away from all sorts of policy fights). Perhaps I’ve missed it, but I don’t recall any WaPo editorials advocating for letting Amazon avoid taxes.
But it’s really the end of that last paragraph that’s the most concerning. Claiming that Amazon has “monopolistic tendencies” and the ridiculous claim that it’s “led to the destruction of department stores and the retail industry,” is somewhat concerning. This is not the first time Trump has attacked Bezos. In fact, his original infamous statements about how he was going to “open up libel laws” were actually directed at Bezos. He first went on a tirade about Bezos owning the Washington Post, followed by:
If I become President, oh, are they going to have problems. They’re going to have such problems.
Lots of people pointed out that Trump perhaps couldn’t do too much to libel laws (the Supreme Court and the First Amendment has that covered), but he absolutely could have the DOJ or even the FTC go after Amazon for claimed anti-trust or anti-consumer behavior. And it seems pretty clear that he would gleefully do so. And not because of any actual evidence of problems, but because he doesn’t like the coverage in the Washington Post which just happens to be owned by Bezos. Settling personal scores with the press by attacking a service that many in the public find extremely useful and convenient doesn’t seem particularly presidential, does it?