Jeff Bezos. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
My new “Think Again” column is called Neoconservatism on the Decline and takes issue with David Brooks on the nature of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul’s victory over his friends.
My new Nation column is called The Washington Post's Dubious Salvation and that ought to be self-explanatory.
One point I wish I had had the room to include in the Nation piece was the fact that on the Sunday following the purchase, the Post Outlook section ran a piece by Tricia Duryee called “Five Myths About Amazon” that read more like application for a job in Amazon’s public relations office by its author than an even remotely honest assessment of Amazon’s pros and cons. It began as follows:
Let’s separate fact from fiction about Bezos.
1. Jeff Bezos is destroying independent booksellers. But it’s hard to make the case that Amazon was solely responsible for destroying independent booksellers.”
Note the sleight of hand. She goes from “is destroying” to “solely responsible.” In fact, Amazon is destroying independent book sellers, it is just not entirely alone in doing so. Is that so hard to understand?
I did not read the piece that carefully when I saw I wasn’t going to have room to include it, but I also noticed this “myth.”
Amazon’s key advantage is that it doesn’t collect state sales taxes.… Still, there’s not overwhelming evidence that collecting taxes has negatively affected the retailer’s sales in those states.
Again, the sleight of hand. Did we say the evidence needed to be “overwhelming?” How about compelling? How about common sense? I sure don’t mind saving the sales tax on expensive purchases and I don’t imagine you do either, especially when you throw in free delivery and not having to get dressed. The fact that this piece was published at all was shameful.
Fortunately, the Post ran a pretty decent profile of Bezos as well, or the above would have humiliated the entire paper, yet again. And speaking of humiliating the entire paper, here is a nice surprise: Former Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton on Jennifer Rubin:
Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards. She parrots and peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike in transparent attempts to get Web hits. Her analysis of the conservative movement, which is a worthwhile and important beat that the Post should treat more seriously on its national pages, is shallow and predictable. Her columns, at best, are political pornography; they get a quick but sure rise out of the right, but you feel bad afterward.