In regard to the AMI/Jeff Bezos controversy, Jeffrey Sachs asks:
OK, conservatives and anti-Left centrists, puncture my epistemic bubble. What are the closest recent equivalents within liberal/Left media to Salem strong-arming RedState, the Weekly Standard massacre, or AMI’s extortion tactics? What obvious and recent equivalents am I missing?
(Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with Salem through Regnery Publishing.)
A few episodes leap to mind: One is the attempted extortion of Chevron by a group of lawyers and environmental activists with connections to the Obama administration and the Democratic machine in New York, with the support of progressive-media outlets such as the Huffington Post, which published columns written by people with financial interests in the case without disclosing the fact.
A separate but related episode is the attempt of Democratic attorneys general to shake down and silence energy companies and critics of global-warming policy through the obvious abuse of their prosecutorial powers. Though all involve media relationships, these seem to me more significant than mere media-company shenanigans in that the National Enquirer, bad as it is, does not enjoy police powers or — unlike, say, the Democratic powers in Wisconsin — send armed squads of men to kick down the doors of their political enemies in the dead of night.
It also seems to me that, irrespective of one’s view of the Weekly Standard’s untimely demise, a media company’s closing down one of its own properties is not very much like an attempt to blackmail the third-party owner of another newspaper. If the complaint about RedState is that its owners tried to push its writers in a more pro-Trump direction, then I don’t suppose it would boggle the imagination to imagine that there are plenty of left-leaning outlets that have prioritized anti-Trump messages and contributors. It is true that I cannot think of any progressive-leaning writers who quit in protest of that kind of thing, but I do not think that necessarily makes the point that Sachs wants to make here.