Amazon takes step backwards on politics, will stop pushing Washington Post
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Amazon takes step backwards on politics, will stop pushing Washington Post

Ecommerce giant Amazon has announced that it will stop sending Washington Post stories to customers. The newspaper, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has a decidedly liberal slant, and has been heavily critical of US president Donald Trump. While Bezos owns the companies separately, that line has sometimes been blurred by cross-marketing – such as Amazon’s decision to send popular Post stories to customers in its ‘Daily Blast’ newsletter. Initiatives like that one have helped President Trump blur the lines between the two companies.

Amazon’s share price appreciated by 1% last week

graph 0511 amazon post

Source: Yahoo Finance

The email newsletter ends today. In the past, it has been used to highlight non-partisan stories – particularly, but by no means only, about the President. Last Thursday, for example, included a story by columnist Max Boot, written as Americans prepare for the mid-term elections. It was titled “Vote against all Republicans. Every single one.”

The wisdom of taking such a divisive line when it comes to Amazon customers – many of whom, presumably, would identify as Republican – is questionable. Laura Ries, of Atlanta brand strategy firm Ries and Ries, said: “It doesn’t make sense for Amazon to promote the Washington Post, because Amazon is a brand loved by everyone. Amazon wants to stay as far away from politics as possible because it’s so polarizing.”

Trump and Bezos have been at loggerheads ever since the latter criticised the former during his run for Republican Presidential nominee. That relationship is more complicated now, as Amazon’s cloud computing arm pursues major defence contracts. Bezos himself has proclaimed Amazon’s support for the American military – a contentious relationship with the Commander in Chief is probably not beneficial to that stance.

Robert Shapiro, political science professor at Columbia University, thinks the country will become more divided, and Amazon’s choice to become less political is probably a good thing for the company. He told Bloomberg “this is better for Amazon’s business going forward when things will get hotter and heavier for the 2020 election.”

Disclosure
Dominion holds Amazon in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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