By Natalia Castro
“Democracy dies in darkness.” This is the motto the Washington Post proudly proclaims as the guiding principle of their publication; unfortunately, if this is true, the Washington Post is an accomplice in the death of democracy. While pretending the defend journalistic integrity, the Post’s recent silence on issues regarding their parent company, Amazon, shed light on the real intentions behind their reporting.
Amazon has been under fire for workforce abuse. James Bloodworth, an English writer, went undercover for six months working low wage jobs in the United Kingdom. One of this first jobs, as an Amon warehouse worker, a job he compared to a prison sentence.
Bloodworth explained to Business Insider, “I’ve worked in warehouses before, but this was nothing like I had experienced. You don’t have proper breaks — by the time you get to the canteen, you only have 15 or 20 minutes for lunch, in a 10-1/2-hour working day. You don’t have time to eat properly to get a drink.”
Alleging unfeasible productivity targets and strict oversight, Bloodworth explained that Amazon workers felt so much pressure to avoid bathroom breaks, they would routinely urinate in plastic bottles to avoid punishment.
Bloodworth’s discoveries have only just begun a chain of outrage by disgruntled employees.
On March 21 and 22, 98 percent of Amazon’s staff in Spain’s largest center supported a strike against the company for unfair working conditions and stagnant wages. Amazon responded by failing to renew the contracts of 100 temporal workers who joined in the strike, according to an April 2018 report in a Latin American news outlet, TeleSUR.
Even domestically, Amazon workers are retaliating against harsh working conditions.
In December, New Jersey Amazon warehouse workers rallied outside an Amazon Books store in Manhattan to remind customers that workers are often underpaid and denied basic benefits. In November, California-based newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, reported of a class action lawsuit against Amazon by California distribution center workers for being forced to work long hours with no rest breaks or overtime pay. In 2011, Amazon’s Allentown, Pa. facility were so unsafe that the company kept an ambulance parked outside to take workers to the hospital on hot days because it lacked air conditioning.
Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos was named Forbes most wealthy person in the world in 2018, with a net worth over $112 billion; yet, The Daily Dot’s Phillip Tracy reports in April 2018, in Arizona, one in three Amazon employees depends on food stamps.
Amazon quietly denies all of these reports. But the most egregious part of their abuse is not just what they do to their employees, but Jeff Bezos ability to manipulate the media to prevent awareness.
In 2013, Bezos closed a deal with the previous owner of the Washington Post to purchase the paper for $250 million, and the paper has been in his pocket ever since.
While the Washington Post happily publishes articles entitled “The unspoken factor in Amazon’s search for a new home: Jeff Bezos’s support for gay rights” and “The Amazon stat long kept under wraps is revealed: Prime has over 100 million subscribers”, the only time the Post appears to have reported on unfair labor practices was in 2013 immediately after Bezos bought the page.
This article even notes, “Amazon won’t own The Post. Bezos will. And, in his letter to employees, Bezos appeared to address any potential conflict of interest head-on: ‘The values of The Post do not need changing,’ he wrote. ‘The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners.’”
However, a simple search for Amazon-related articles on the Washington Post’s page reveals a chilling fact: all Amazon related articles are positive or informative, while negatives regarding the company’s labor practices are quietly ignored.
Meanwhile, if one searches “Trump Russia” on the Post’s page, they will see articles ranging from “Nikki Haley’s ‘confusion’ sheds light on the Trump-Russia mystery” to “When did Trump and Putin talk about ‘hookers’?”.
It is clear, while every detail, no matter how ridiculous, of the witch hunt against Trump is chronicled, the Washington Post ignores issues that directly affect the lives of over 500,000 American workers.
If democracy dies in darkness, the Washington Post should be convicted of murder. Their cherry-picked reporting poses a great threat to the American people. For billionaire Jeff Bezos to be held accountable for his actions, media outlets must report on them, so the American people know about them. The Washington Post is failing the American people.
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Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.