August 21, 2013
Jeff Bezos, billionaire and CEO of Amazon, is purchasing The Washington Post, a move that is garnering significant objection from concerned journalists and readers. All are wondering: “Has plutocracy finally overwhelmed our press?”
In a South Coast Today op-ed piece, Sam Pizzigati, author of The Rich Don’t Always Win, has an interesting answer. He says, in reality, “America’s most powerful newspapers have always been partial to the privileged.” Those bemoaning the loss of yet another “grand” journalistic family forget that it’s actually the Grahams that made anti-union sentiment and practice acceptable when they hired replacements for their striking workers in 1975.
Since then, the American labor movement has dwindled into near non-existence. In Amazon’s warehouses, for example, there is apparently no union representation whatsoever. Pizzigati reports:
“Exhausted after 12-hour shifts, [Amazon] employees regularly wait, unpaid and for nearly a half-hour at security checkpoints meant to detect pilfering…[They] take home about $24,300 a year…barely more than the official poverty line for a famly of four and far less than what Walmart pays.”
It’s this “take-no-prisoners” mentality that made Bezos so wealthy—wealthy enough to purchase The Washington Post.
So will The Post change when its ownership changes hands? Pizzigati says:
“The Post editorial line already meshes quite smoothly with the Bezos worldview, liberal-ish on cultural issues, dependably conservative on anything—like the labor movement—that poses any serious potential threat to America’s deep pockets…In other words, working families will find in the new Washington Post no more crusading zeal on their behalf than they found in the old Washington Post.”
Read Pizzigati’s full article here. His book The Rich Don’t Always Win speaks directly to the political hopelessness so many Americans feel. By tracing how average Americans took down plutocracy over the first half of the 20th Century—and how plutocracy came back—The Rich Don’t Always Win outfits the 99% with a deeper understanding of what we need to do to get the United States back on track to the American dream.