by WorldTribune Staff, February 17, 2017
In its coverage of the CIA, The Washington Post has failed to mention that the paper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, stands to reap huge financial gains from a recently signed $600 million Internet-cloud deal between Amazon, which Bezos also owns, and the intelligence agency.
“As Amazon’s majority owner and the Post’s only owner, Bezos stands to gain a lot more if his newspaper does less ruffling and more soothing of CIA feathers,” Norman Solomon, director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, wrote for AlterNet.
Amazon’s offer for the CIA contract wasn’t the low bid, but it won the contract by offering advanced high-tech “cloud” infrastructure, Solomon said.
“Even for a multi-billionaire like Bezos, a $600 million contract is a big deal. That’s more than twice as much as Bezos paid to buy the Post four months ago,” Solomon wrote. “Bezos personally and publicly touts Amazon Web Services, and it’s evident that Amazon will be seeking more CIA contracts.”
Former CIA official Ray McGovern said that “what emerges now is what, in intelligence parlance, is called an ‘agent of influence’ owning the Post – with a huge financial interest in playing nice with the CIA. In other words, two main players nourishing the national security state in undisguised collaboration.”
Solomon noted that “Amazon has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s ‘national security’ establishment.”
The media watch group FAIR pointed out what happened after WikiLeaks published State Department cables: “WikiLeaks was booted from Amazon’s webhosting service AWS. So at the height of public interest in what WikiLeaks was publishing, readers were unable to access the WikiLeaks website.”
John Hanrahan, a former reporter for the Washington Post and other news organizations, said: “It’s all so basic. Readers of the Washington Post, which reports frequently on the CIA, are entitled to know – and to be reminded on a regular basis in stories and editorials in the newspaper and online – that the Post’s new owner Jeff Bezos stands to benefit substantially from Amazon’s $600 million contract with the CIA.
“Even with such disclosure, the public should not feel assured they are getting tough-minded reporting on the CIA. One thing is certain: Post reporters and editors are aware that Bezos, as majority owner of Amazon, has a financial stake in maintaining good relations with the CIA – and this sends a clear message to even the hardest-nosed journalist that making the CIA look bad might not be a good career move.”
“News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them,” Solomon wrote. “But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.”