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Globalization and politics

Sezin Oney
Journalist-Political Scientist
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piqer: Sezin Oney
Saturday, 09 February 2019

Jeff Bezos' Blackmail Masterclass

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, was not so much in the limelight until his divorce case began. And now his personal life has become entangled in a controversy extending to President Donald Trump.  

Bezos accused the National Enquirer on 7 February of "engaging in extortion and blackmail”. According Bezos, the tabloid threatened to publish "intimate images" of him if he does not drop his investigation on how the Enquirer acquired his private communications. He posted the emails sent by representatives of the Enquirer demanding Bezos affirm publicly that the tabloid's coverage of issues concerning him are “not influenced by political forces”. And in case he refused, the Enquirer would allegedly make public photos and messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a news anchor.

In fact, Bezos’ feud with the Enquirer began in January 2019. The tabloid devoted 12 of its pages to a story exposing text messages between Bezos and Sanchez; it was just at the time when Bezos announced that he and his wife MacKenzie were getting divorced. 

Gavin de Becker, Bezos’ personal security consultant, has told The Daily Beast that Bezos' investigation was ongoing and there are “strong leads point[ing] to political motives”.

The "political motives" allude to Trump, who tweeted the following on Bezos in January, referring to him as 'Bozo'.

"So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post."

The tabloid’s parent company, American Media Inc., struck an immunity deal in December with federal officials to avoid prosecution for aiding Trump to facilitate payments to women alleging affairs with the then-candidate. 

Wired's podcast is concise debate of the whole saga of Bezos' relationship status "it's complicated". One thing is for sure, as the podcast points out, Bezos did the right thing by going public and exposing extortion.  

Jeff Bezos' Blackmail Masterclass
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Comments 3
  1. Christine Köhler
    Christine Köhler · Created 2 months ago ·

    Do you not think that information on media monopolization ("Amazon" AND ''The Washington Post'' !!!) would be slightly more important than taking sides with Bezo's move to go public?! I am not saying that it is completely irrelevant, what is happening to him and his wife. But is it important enough to be published on Piqd, for example?!

    1. Sezin Oney
      Sezin Oney · Created 2 months ago ·

      Thank you so much for the reply: For my part, I found this podcast and the particular issue of the Bezos saga interesting because of its connection to media. Was what National Enquirer doing within the scope of journalism; or is it going far beyond that and even extending to a political angle? Bezos himself mentioned that if such extortion case could happen to a powerful person as he is, imagine the pressures that might be mounted on less powerful people to achieve political goals. It was not my intention to take a normative stance concerning Bezos himself; such as siding with it or not. Maybe the way I compiled the Piqd presentation was inadequate to communicate why I found this issue relevant. In any case, thank you for your comment-it made be reflect further on why I found the issue relevant. I do sincerely hope you find my future Piqd choices more to your interest.

    2. Christine Köhler
      Christine Köhler · Created 2 months ago ·

      @Sezin Oney I am very grateful for your Bezon-piq - thanks a lot! Also thanks for your reply! I know now that I definitely cannot stand Bezos. And that Amazon and the like are threatening democracies world wide. You have made me more knowledgeable (I am aware that some might call it "more biased", but I don't care). Moreover, without you I would be less determined about my contempt. And this helps me, too. Kind regards from one of the "less powerful" and thank you again.