“I think Jeff Bezos saved the Washington Post,” Hillary Clinton told Recode’s Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the website’s annual Code Conference today, during a discussion on the media industry. Why? Because Bezos cares about making the newspaper a viable business with hard-hitting journalism, and because newspapers, she said, “still drive news” online and on TV.
Bezos, who bought the 144-year-old paper in 2013 for $250 million, has taken a largely hands-off approach. Amid sinking revenues across print media in recent years, the paper’s numbers have ballooned. Its digital ad revenue has exceeded $100,000, reports the New York Times, and it saw over 800 million page views last month, along with a steady growth in subscriptions. Among the Post’s recent big scoops was a report that White House adviser Jared Kushner had discussed a secret communications channel with Russian officials.
Conversely, Clinton said she is worried about conservative-leaning organizations purchasing local TV stations. She also weighed in on the influence that Russia had on digital media during the election, saying she is “leaning” in a direction that suggests that Moscow and the Trump campaign had coordinated. “The Russians, in my opinion . . . could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they have been guided . . . by Americans,” she said.
[Photo: Flickr user Esther Vargas]