Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Underscores the Threat Posed by ‘Big Data'
Opinion contributor Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, wrote a dynamite piece for "The Hill" this week, in which he outlined how the Internet abets bigness and monopoly like nothing else in human history, creating vast wealth for a "small tribe of tech plutocrats."
"In 2013, before he set sights on Whole Foods, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million, such a pittance that he paid cash.
"The Post can boast of its role in taking down Richard Nixon. Republicans claimed that the Post was out to get Nixon, and that was certainly true, but the reporting by Woodward and Bernstein adhered to the basic rules of responsible journalism," Flaherty wrote."Today, the Post’s thinly sourced stories resemble more what is found on the Internet. Bezos’ newspaper seeks nothing less than the destruction of Donald Trump’s presidency."
Flaherty goes on to discuss how tech firms buying old media outlets is not the real threat.
"It is instead the new media they created and control. Google, Facebook and Twitter claim they are neutral platforms, but they regularly censor conservative and libertarian expression. To tech executives, Trump’s election is not an affirmation of the influence of the new media, but confirmation that they do not censor enough."
Please do read his entire column on The Hill, which is brave, intelligent and chock full of wise insights, but Flaherty concludes with this: "Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a harbinger of a realignment of political power. The economic tentacles of big tech firms will reach into every corner of the economy, inserting its influence into the local politics of every community. If that happens, get ready for a 'progressive' assault on your civil liberties."