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Editorial

The Courageous Position of Jeff Bezos against the National Enquirer

February 12, 2019

It happens everywhere. Even in America. A newspaper accused of trying  to blackmail aprominent person by threatening to defame him if he does not succumb to its wishes.

Faced by the danger of humiliation or a damaging public outcry, these people – as powerful as they are – succumb. They pay the price, whatever it is.

That was the reality until recently.

At that time, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, one of the largest companies in the world, the richest man on the planet, and the owner of the Washington Post, did something that no one else has dared to do, at least publicly, so far: He refused to succumb to blackmail, as he calls it, from a newspaper.

“Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?”

This is as a courageous and correct position as we have seeing in a long time.

I hope he inspires imitators. I hope he inspires imitators in Greece as well. To finally return journalism, politics, business, and social life to normal.

These facts are fairly well known:

1. David Pecker, the Chairman of the Board of the company publishes the weekly newspaper National Enquire, is a long-time, personal friend of President Trump.

2. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, which has printed many revelations at the expense of the President and generally criticizes him.

The President has launched many attacks against Bezos.

3. The National Enquirer, in its January 28 edition, devoted the entire front page – and another six inside – to revealing Bezos’ relationship with a former presenter on the FOX channel program “So, You Think You Can Dance”?

Immediately afterwards, Bezos and his wife, married for 25 years, filed for divorce. President Trump, with a tweet, celebrated the fact that Bezos was getting divorced and claimed the National Enquirer is a better newspaper than the Washington Post.

4. Bezos began his own investigation to find out how the Enquirer found his photos and e-mails with his mistress, and to determine “if the story was politically motivated.”

5. Bezos dropped his nuclear bomb, claiming that the Enquirer was blackmailing him, and saying “you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we ‘have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.’”

We do not know where this case will end. Let us hope that the President had no prior knowledge or involvement in it.

It is certain that the culture of corruption that has developed between some media and prominent figures in the life of our country – politicians, entrepreneurs, people in the arts, etc. – has suffered a necessary and blow.

This is thanks to the bold decision of Jeff Bezos. Well done.

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