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Washington's New Silicon Valley Overlords

9:03 AM, Aug 9, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Matthew Continetti, writing at the Washington Free Beacon:

The day after Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos bought theWashington Post, one of the paper’s columnists, Eugene Robinson, appeared on “Morning Joe”. Robinson is a reliable voice for conventional liberal opinion, and on this particular day, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, conventional liberal opinion held that Bezos’ purchase of the Post for $250 million was an act of bravery and humanity comparable to the Marshall Plan.

At one point Joe Scarborough observed that rich and powerful men—Warren Buffett, Chris Hughes, Barry Diller, and of course Michael Bloomberg—have been in the habit of buying newspapers and magazines. And in most cases, Scarborough said, the moguls have been humbled by the experience. No amount of technical or financial wizardry seems capable of forestalling print journalism’s demise. “I just wonder, what’s going to be different here?”

Robinson’s answer was priceless. In just nine words, he distilled to its essence contemporary liberalism’s attitude toward wealth and power. “There are rich guys,” he said, “and there are rich guys.” And from what Robinson has heard—no doubt from totally independent and objective sources—Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is estimated at $28 billion, is “a prince among men.”

Really, though, why did Robinson stop there? Why not say Bezos is a king among men, or a Caesar, or a son of Odin? To increase one’s status by flattering a social superior is no trifle. Ruth Marcus, for example, likened Don Graham’s sale of his money-losing paper at an overvalued price to Sophie’s choice. In the book and movie Sophie, a Holocaust survivor, “had to decide which cherished child to save and which to send to the gas chamber.” Don Graham faced a somewhat similar situation. Think about that. “If the comparison sounds hyperbolic,” Marcus writes—curiously, she doesn’t suggest that the comparison might sound offensive—“you don’t know the Grahams.” Marcus does.

Read the whole thing here.

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