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August 12 2013

Edward Snowden, meet Jeff Bezos

Edward Snowden, meet Jeff Bezos

“In November 2010, WikiLeaks began using Amazon’s Web hosting service to leak thousands of pages of State Department cables. But the company abruptly terminated the contract within 24 hours of receiving a call from a staff member for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.”


That’s not answering the bell for freedom of information. That’s doing what the surveillance state requires, and relying on a legalism to justify it. This is exactly the kind of behavior Edward Snowden was reacting against when he made his decision to go AWOL and reveal key documents to The Guardian and the Washington Post.

August 09 2013

How The Washington Post's New Owner Aided the CIA, Blocked WikiLeaks & Decimated the Book Industry…

How The Washington Post’s New Owner Aided the CIA, Blocked WikiLeaks & Decimated the Book Industry | Democracy Now !

I think one thing that’s missing is a discussion of the hallowed traditions, the hallowed journalistic traditions of The Washington Post. I mean, any media consumer who’s been looking at the bevy of articles in the last day and a half has heard about this—you know, “What’s going to happen to The Washington Post’s journalistic tradition—the paper of Watergate—or, the paper that exposed Watergate and published the Pentagon Papers?” I think any serious and very, you know, diligent news consumer is going to realize that the incidents like Watergate conspiracy and the Pentagon Papers, that was 40 years ago, and the hallowed tradition of The #Washington_Post that we’re worried Bezos is going to ruin—and, again, it may get worse, it may not; most likely it’ll continue—but that hallowed tradition, for 40 years, The Washington Post has really been a newspaper of the bipartisan consensus. And items like or invasions like Iraq could hardly have happened without the editorial pages headed by a sort of a hawk, Fred Hiatt, who’s still in power today, and Fred Hiatt’s editorial pages of The Washington Post has, in a five-month period before the Iraq invasion, more than two dozen editorials urging on that invasion. Skeptics of the invasion were mercilessly savaged in the editorial pages and the op-ed pages, but they weren’t allowed to speak for themselves. And so, when I hear people talk about The Washington Post under the Graham family, the paper of Watergate, it reminds me of people who would look at today’s Barack Obama and say he’s a community organizer embedded with the poor in Chicago. The Watergate Washington Post was decades ago. The Washington Post we should be thinking about in the last 10, 12 years has been a very important instrument of U.S. intervention, imperial foreign policy, at the hands of the editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Ca fait donc bien longtemps que ce journal n’est plus un contrepouvoir ; autrement, #Jeff_Bezos appartient quand même un peu à la #silicon_army même s’il ne vient pas de la bay area.

Sponsored post

August 07 2013

A Mogul Gets a Landmark in the Capital -

A Mogul Gets a Landmark in the Capital -

“It’s an old boring story — rich man buys a newspaper — but in this instance it’s one of the richest men ever buying one of the most important newspapers ever, which is the one our government leaders read first thing every morning,” said Dennis Johnson, the co-founder of Melville House, a well-regarded small publisher. “This is the capper in the development of one of the most powerful vertical monopolies in our history, which is also one of the most controlling in matters of cultural concern.”

Mr. Bezos was a tinkerer from an early age. After Princeton, he went to Wall Street, ending up at D. E. Shaw & Company, a hedge fund.


Mr. Bezos has also mostly shunned the political spotlight, as well. His political contributions have gone mostly to Amazon’s corporate PAC, which divides its campaign checks relatively evenly between Democratic and Republican candidates. The stepson of a Cuban immigrant, Mr. Bezos has stayed out of the immigration debate that has attracted so many luminaries from the technology business.


_Inside the system:_ Open letter to Jeff Bezos - The Washington Post

Inside the system: Open letter to Jeff Bezos - The Washington Post

Un journaliste du WP espère que le libertaire Jeff Bezos respectera ses valeurs journalistiques féodales.

Back in 1982, when I was an editor at Tropic, the Miami Herald’s Sunday magazine, the publisher asked us to run a story on our cover about the winners of The Silver Knight award, which was given out every year at a gala to the most promising high school seniors in the Miami area. The Silver Knights were a fine and noble enterprise, but the event was run and financed by Knight-Ridder, the corporate owners of The Miami Herald; Herald stories about the Silver Knight awards were inevitably uncritical, nakedly celebratory, and drenched in self-promotion. We at Tropic declined to run the story of the awards on the grounds that we were a small magazine trying to establish a feisty, pugnacious identity, and being a corporate suckup toady lickspittle didn’t fit in with our plans. The publisher glowered, muttered something about insubordination, and steered the story to another, less visible section of the paper. We went unpunished.

Wikipedia tells me that one of the Silver Knight winners that year was little Jeffrey Bezos of Miami Palmetto High School. Haha.

You and I briefly crossed paths as younger men, and I dissed you. I guess it’s clear who won that race.

Here’s the thing: We were right to decline that story, Jeff, but, more to the point, our publisher was wise to LET us decline. In the next 10 years, freed to robustly experiment with an outsize personality, Tropic would develop a fanatic following in Miami, and our writers and photographers would win two Pulitzers and be finalists for two more. That happened because the people above us trusted us, if grudgingly, and — more important — had our backs.


“Kick up, kiss down.” Aggravate your bosses, but make the people below you love and respect you. Katharine Graham and Don Graham were brilliant at this — they must have given their board of directors fits, because during the great years they chose aggressive journalism over pennypinching every time — and we loved them for it. It’s an irreplaceable advantage, loyalty drawn from affection and respect.

En temps de crise les sous-officiers du capitalisme espèrent sauver leur fortune en appellant à leur chefs de se comporter en bons seigneurs avec leurs vassaux.

Héritière du compagnonnage d’arme du haut Moyen Âge, la vassalité est la situation de dépendance d’un homme libre envers son seigneur par la cérémonie de l’hommage. Le système féodo-vassalique s’est développé à cause de l’affaiblissement de l’autorité publique après l’effondrement de l’empire carolingien (Xe - XIe siècle) : l’empereur, les rois et bientôt les princes territoriaux étaient incapables de faire régner l’ordre et d’imposer leur pouvoir aux seigneurs locaux. Un réseau de relations d’homme à homme s’impose donc, donnant des droits et des devoirs pour chacun d’entre eux, une pyramide sociale allant théoriquement du roi au grand seigneur (grand feudataire), seigneur, vassal et arrière-vassal (Vavasseur) mais dont l’effectivité dépend de l’autorité du supérieur.

Et hop, voilà l’essentiel de ce que pense le nouveau chef :

There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there.

Jeff Bezos par contre ne promet rien sauf la recherche constante de profitabilité. C’est une réponse digne d’un des plus riches libertaires du monde.

Jeff Bezos' plans for the Washington Post : How he could Amazon-ify the newspaper. - Slate Magazine

Jeff Bezos’ plans for the Washington Post: How he could Amazon-ify the newspaper. - Slate Magazine

But wait! Is the Washington Post so universally interesting to merit such prominent placement? Well, maybe not. But parse Bezos’ words carefully:
“The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs…Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about—government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports—and working backwards from there.”
Bezos tips his hand here. The Post isn’t known for its coverage of restaurant openings or scout troops. Yet Bezos seems to think the Post might return to its previous experiments in hyperlocal news.
One way this would be possible is if the news is personalized. And this is where the new Post could combine elements of Amazon and Facebook.
Let us hypothesize. If you are a Kindle owner, chances are Amazon already knows far more about you than Facebook, because it knows what you buy. That’s the real information gold. Facebook has clumsily been trying to get at your purchase history for years with browser-spying gimmicks like Beacon. But Amazon doesn’t need to violate your privacy. It already knows all about you.

#washingtonpost #amazon

August 06 2013

Le patron d'Amazon rachète le « Washington Post »

Le patron d’Amazon rachète le "Washington Post"

Le groupe #Washington_Post a annoncé, lundi 5 août, la cession de ses activités d’édition, dont le quotidien portant son nom, au patron-fondateur du groupe de distribution en ligne #Amazon, #Jeff_Bezos, pour 250 millions de dollars. « L’acheteur est une entité qui appartient à M. Bezos en tant qu’individu, et pas Amazon Inc », précise le communiqué du groupe.

Et pas que le quotidien :

Quel #management va s’imposer dans ce groupe de #presse ? Des hypothèses là : #disruption

Jeff le #libertarien se veut rassurant :

I won’t be leading The Washington Post day-to-day.

Je m’attendais pas à celle-là ce matin...

L’occasion de lire :

En Amazonie. Infiltré dans le « meilleur des mondes »

En plus je viens de voir Le capital de Costa-Gavras (oui le truc avec Gad Elmaleh) où ça cause de #hft et de grands enfants qui jouent qui jouent jusqu’à ce que ça pète... alors je vous dis pas l’état dans lequel ça me met.

Quant à Gorge Profonde, on attend encore sa réaction.

C’est quand même marrant que le parangon du #journalisme d’#investigation soit racheté par un des maîtres des #bigdata marchandes. En ces temps de persécution des #whistleblowers. Vivement la fusion Publicis / Omnicom !

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