BEZOS / AMI PART TWO — CAREFUL WHAT WE WISH FOR

I wrote yesterday about the Jeff Bezos / National Enquirer (owned by American Media Inc.) battle with an eye toward understanding whether there was extortion behind the AMI offer to settle a potential lawsuit with Bezos.

Today I want to consider the larger issue— will AMI survive a battle with an angry billionaire? And there is the sub-issue — is it a good thing if it doesn’t?

As a visceral reaction, my answers to the two questions above are “no it won’t” and “yes, it’s a good thing.”  Assuming that AMI was engaged in extortion, it’s hard to root for their continued survival.

But if they go down, the scoreboard will read “Billionaires 2; Media 0.”  Peter Thiel financed Hulk Hogan’s breach of privacy suit that ultimately bankrupted Gawker.  And he didn’t do it because he’s a big wrestling fan.  He didn’t like Gawker’s coverage.  Now he doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.  Mission accomplished.

The Bezos situation may be different, in that AMI may have committed a crime.  But it is still billionaire versus media.  And the tactic would certainly please a twitter user named PoxNews, who recently tweeted:

“Looking at Candace Owen’s situation and I really think the only way to tame the media beast is to create a huge not-or-propfit funded by the public that files lawsuits almost daily, hammering away at libel in the media  until the message finally sinks in-or they go bankrupt…”

I don’t know anything about PoxNews except that they need a copy editor (“not-or-propfit”?).  But the notion that a person or entity with enough resources should pound the media into submission should unsettle all of us.