“And now the family saga has come to an end precisely because the morning doesn’t mean money anymore. People get their news when they want it, and they have an astonishing selection of packages and purveyors. In a sense, the story of the Washington Post has come full circle, with Bezos in the role of Meyer. Like Meyer, the new buyer is fantastically wealthy from unrelated enterprises. Like Meyer, he is buying a publication hard-hit by a severe economic crash, one title among many in a ferociously competitive media marketplace. True, the Post is a vastly better newspaper today than it was 80 years ago, thanks to Meyer and his descendants. (His great-granddaughter Katharine Weymouth is the current publisher.) But the path to reliable earnings growth is at least as hazy for Bezos as it was for Meyer 80 years ago, and it stands to reason that Bezos, like Meyer, has reasons other than the bottom line to want to own an influential voice in the nation’s capital.
He becomes the most prominent in a growing line of back-to-the-future moguls who, like George Hearst and Jock Whitney and Raoul Fleischmann of yore, used money they made or inherited from nonmedia ventures to elbow their way into publishing. Over the weekend, billionaire investor John Henry won a competition to buy the Boston Globe from the New York Times Co. for a fraction of what the Times paid for it. Last year, Facebook billionaire Chris Hughes bought the New Republic magazine, not long after the late stereo magnate Sidney Harman briefly took over Newsweek from, yes, the Washington Post Co.”
Iconic paper’s sale to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos cements the end of our monopoly-media era