Donald Trump has belched out another technology-related thought bubble, this time puffing in the direction of Amazon.com and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.
At a campaign rally in Texas over the weekend, The Donald said “I have respect for Jeff Bezos but he bought The Washington Post to have political influence.”
“And I gotta tell you, we have a different country to what we used to have. We have a different … he owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it.”
“That's not right.”
“And believe me, if I become President, oh do they have problems. They are going to have such problems.”
Amazon is facing an anti-trust action brought by authors accusing it of monopolistic practices, but is not embroiled in major disputes with the United States government. While Bezos is reportedly hands-on at the Post, urging and facilitating rapid change, to date he is no Citizen Kane. Bezos' reach as a media boss is also minuscule compared to the likes of The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner and Comcast. Nor is Bezos an activist proprietor like Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox News is unashamedly one-eyed.
Trump has also, of course, accused Murdoch of conspiring against him.
Trump blames me for WSJ poll, fights FoxNews. Time to calm down. If I running anti-Trump conspiracy then doing lousy job!— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) February 18, 2016
Trump's a media player himself: Trump Productions cranks out beauty pageants and The Apprentice, the latter positioning Trump as just the kind of entrepreneur America needs. So it's not as if Trump is a cleanskin when it comes to using the media for his own ends.
So why is Trump targeting Bezos? The entrepreneur did once offer to send Trump into space, without specifying a return ticket was on offer.
More likely, Trump was referring to his belief that Amazon should pay more tax. Trump's other technology-related thought bubbles include suggesting Apple should be made to manufacture its products in the USA and should be boycotted for its stance on access to that iPhone in the custody of the FBI. Trump has also said Bill Gates could advise him on how to "close the internet" to prevent the spread of hate speech and stop communication among terrorists.
Or maybe this latest harangue was just Trump doing what Trump does: flailing about in half-finished sentences in his ongoing attempt to position himself as the only man in America not beholden to existing power structures. ®