Real Clear Politics Washington Bureau Chief Carl Cannon has a “Changing Lanes” feature in which he drives journalists around town and films the ride. So far, no known vomiting has occurred from Cannon’s driving.
In a recent episode with Washington Post veteran political reporter Dan Balz, Cannon prodded him to talk about his new boss, Jeff Bezos. It was going to be favorable, but just how favorable? How badly would he suck up? Actually, coming from Balz, the story he tells is entirely believable while also being careful.
They discussed Balz’ optimism about Bezos. Cannon wondered about all that optimism.
“I am optimistic,” Balz told Cannon of the Bezos era. “I suppose one can always say I am optiminist within the boundaries of an industry that’s clearly challenged. When Jeff Bezos bought the paper from Don Graham, a lot of people were quite conflicted in their emotions. On the one hand, we all have enormous respect for and appreciation for the Graham family and what the Grahams meant to journalism. I never thought they would sell. …I said to my editor, I don’t believe the Grahams would ever sell. …We were sad and disappointed and whatever you call it. On the other hand, we knew that Don would not sell the paper to someone he didn’t have confidence in… and so we came with a predisposition to believe that Bezos had that. Everything that he has said or done confirms that.”
He addressed finances. “He could provide an easing of the financial pressure,” he said. “That is not an insignificant thing.”
Balz also praised young people. “We used to hire young people because of the things we could teach them,” he said. “We now hire young people because of the things they can teach us.”