Billionaire Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, who has long denied editorial involvement, sat in on newsroom meetings on Thursday as employees discussed articles about the Amazon founder and his business interests.
During the meetings, editors discussed stories on the discontinuation of AmazonSmile and the impending sale of the Washington Commanders, which Bezos has shown interest in purchasing, the New York Times reported.
Post editors have long insisted that Bezos, who purchased the newspaper in 2013, does not interfere in coverage. Former editor Marty Baron said in 2019 that "he hasn't interfered with a single story" and "hasn't criticized a story."
Bezos's attendance in the morning news meetings comes as the paper has become unprofitable for the first time in years. The Post lost half a million subscribers since President Joe Biden took office, and publisher Fred Ryan announced last month that the paper will begin laying off staff.
A Post employee confronted Bezos about the layoffs, the Times reported:
During the meeting on Thursday, Mr. Bezos’ retinue stood outside the room, earpieces clearly visible. As he left, a Post employee wearing a red shirt emblazoned with the insignia of The Post’s guild stopped him and asked why the company was laying people off without offering buyouts first, according to the three people with knowledge of the meeting. Mr. Bezos responded that he was at The Post to listen, not answer questions, and underscored his commitment to The Post’s journalism.