Friday, May 13, 2016

Trump Attacks Washington Post as Bezo's Antitrust Toy for Amazon

Donald Trump on Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post

Donald Trump used his regular Fox News platform with Sean Hannity to attack a media bete noir -- The Washington Post -- with convoluted antitrust charges. Even though Bezos personally bought the Washington Post for $250 million in 2013, Trump claims that it was to give Amazon favorable tax treatment.

This accusation comes on the heels of news that the Washington Post has assigned twenty reporters to investigate everything about Donald Trump. The Washington Post has long earned its liberal reputation and an eagerness to take down threatening Republicans.   It is laughable to think such investigations are to protect Amazon's tax treatment.

 It would seem that Trump does not buy Bezo's explanation that having an owner who championed disruptive business models using the internet would save the struggling newspaper.

On the face of it, $250 million in personal cash is an expensive way to retain favorable tax treatment. Surely, maximizing contributions to key members of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and some leadership PACs would have been a thriftier option to "buy favorable treatment".

It fits into Trump's pattern of behavior of obliquely raising  outrageous charges against opponents to garner headlines and smear the threat. Guess that "John Miller" would not be successful at planting stories at the Washington Post.

What is instructive is Trump's blowhard blurtations about how he perceives that a Trump Administration would administer justice. Trump's attack against Bezos and the Washington Post contributes to the perception that Trump would have an enemies list, and it would be highlighted by journalists who do not kiss Trump's...ring.  Ask Megyn Kelly.

Secondly, Trump's premise is that he would direct the Department of Justice to go against specific targets who are adversely affecting his "business", be it personal or political.  This reinforces an understanding that government and business would work hand in hand or there would be a problem. There's a definition for that, and it's like a bundle of sticks.

Thirdly, Trump's claim exposes his ignorance of the political process.  Notwithstanding the cost ineffectiveness of personally buying a sink hole media entity for a quarter of a billion dollars to help a public company, it hints that Trump thinks that he dictates tax policy.  Maybe Trump needs more meetings with Speaker Ryan, who has nurtured a pet project as Chair of the Ways and Means and Budget Committee, to eventually overhaul the tax system.  Presidents propose budgets but the House really creates and passes them in regular order.

Trump's Convention Chair Paul Manafort claims that in Phase One of the campaign, Trump put on a show to project an image but that in Phase Two we would see a really different side. Really?  The nomination fight on the Republican side is effectively over. Trump has signaled that he wants to unify people around him.  Conservatives have no love lost for the (Com)Post. But making outrageous accusations against the paper of record in  District of Calamity, and effectively threatening them with legal retribution is a signal for fellow Republicans to come on board is not sound strategy. It's flirting with disaster.

When someone tells you who they are, believe them. If this is phase two, the GOP should think about phase out.

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