Hart: Bezos, Trump and crony capitalism

Hart: Bezos, Trump and crony capitalism

January 18th, 2019 by Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

In this Sept. 13, 2018, file photo, Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington's Milestone Celebration in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Photo by Cliff Owen

Donald Trump's Tweet dubbing Jeff Bezos, Amazon's billionaire founder, "Jeff Bozo" reveals more than the locker room MO of our president. Our country's roots are in England, where people of importance are knighted. In America, we now have our own version of knighthood: a nickname from Donald Trump.

Amazon is this little hidden gem you may not have heard of where you can buy things. It's just like eBay except the Amazon stuff doesn't show up at your house smelling like cigarette smoke and mothballs. If you order a battery from Amazon, workers find it, ship it on a truck, then a plane, then bubble wrap it in a box the size of a mini-fridge, then put it on another plane and another diesel truck belching smoke to drop it at your house — all the while bragging about how "green" they are.

Amazon also is in the entertainment business. It paid Woody Allen millions to tell his story, from his childhood growing up on the playgrounds of New York City to his current days hanging around playgrounds of New York City.

When Trump and Bezos look at each other, aside from both thinking "What happened to his hair?", they see similar-style political billionaires and crony capitalists. Both capitulate to political power to run their businesses. Remember, Trump was a Democrat most of his life; he wouldn't have made it in New York otherwise.

As in all of Trump's bombastic bluster, there's an important truth. He suggests in his Tweet that The Washington Post ought to have to register as a lobbyist because of its leftist and one-sided coverage, leaks and activism.

Remember how the left vilified the Koch brothers for their one-sided political activity? Had they been Dems, you would never have heard of them. The Washington Post, The New York Times and the like are not much more biased, influential and worthy of scrutiny than Koch Enterprises.

Trump made another good point: The National Enquirer has broken as many or more important stories than mainstream media outlets. From Gary Hart's affair, John Edwards' paying off his mistress with campaign money (John Edwards was tried and the jury was hung — but you know how men on a jury lie), Bob Dole's mistress, O.J. Simpson's "evidence," Jesse Jackson's love child, Bill Clinton's affairs and it had the Stormy Daniels/Trump story. Can you name another news outlet that has had that many scoops?

The Enquirer and TMZ-like outlets play important roles when leftist newspapers abdicate their position as watchdog journalists to pursue their political agendas. Tabloids have uncovered Kevin Spacey's foibles and pedophile priests' misdeeds where clergy were only punished by the church with a warning: Don't fondle little boys.

The Enquirer sees a story and money to be made — not political gain. It exposed Mark Souder, R-Indiana, a Christian radio show host who was caught cavorting conjugally with his girlfriend in a state park. While Republicans are usually OK with drilling on public property, this outed Souder into obscurity.

The point is, like Trump with his brashness and the supposedly low-brow National Enquirer, there is often more truth in what they say than the media "elites" spew.

Trump picked a fight with Bezos and Amazon last year when he rightfully pointed out that our Postal Service subsidizes Amazon's package delivery. The United States Postal Service is a unionized behemoth that delivers CVS flyers six days a week to even the most rural American. It loses $5 billion a year, making it the most successful federal program we have.

Amazon has to have political cover since it dances in the gray area of government, not only with our postal service, but with drone delivery, the newspaper business and in privacy rights with its Echo home voice commands. Americans haven't thought through just how much of our privacy we have given up to Amazon and Google. I'm not sure if my Roomba is cleaning my house or casing the joint.

I fear the ongoing corporate cronyism of Amazon/The Washington Post is worse than The National Enquirer being paid by Trump to bury one story. Amazon just went around the country peddling its headquarters to the city that would fork over the most money. Instead of one city, they got bought by two. Presumably by doing so, Amazon got free shipping.

Contact Ron Hart at Ron@Ronald Hart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.

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