Jeff Bezos Backs High Standards Amid Ethical Questions Over New Washington Post Publisher

By Madz Dizon

Jun 19, 2024 04:49 AM EDT

Jeff Bezos Backs High Standards Amid Ethical Questions Over New Washington Post Publisher
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos arrives for his meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the UK diplomatic residence on September 20, 2021 in New York City.
(Photo : Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The new CEO of The Washington Post and the editor chosen to lead its newsroom have received support from Jeff Bezos, despite facing internal backlash from staff.

Jeff Bezos Faces Backlash After Expressing Support for Will Lewis

Bezos, the billionaire tech mogul who has owned the Post since 2013, recently reached out to top editors to express his support for CEO Will Lewis and his strategy for leading the company into the upcoming election. 

Lewis and incoming executive editor Robert Winnett have recently faced allegations of using questionable methods to gather information.

On Sunday (June 16), The Washington Post released an article claiming that Winnett collaborated with an individual who employed deceitful methods to obtain sensitive information during their time at the Sunday Times.

It was reported by The New York Times that Lewis and Winnett allegedly used unauthorized phone and company records during the course of their investigation for two articles at the British newspaper. 

The news stories, which came as a surprise to The Post's newsroom, revealed Lewis' alleged attempts to prevent the publication of articles at The Post and NPR regarding his involvement in resolving Rupert Murdoch's UK phone hacking scandal during his time working for the conservative media tycoon. 

Instead of attempting to calm the situation, Lewis initially responded with strong criticism, even targeting his own media reporters and launching a public attack against the highly regarded NPR media corresponding David Folkenflik, whom he described as a "activist, not a journalist." 

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Bezos Urged to Terminate Lewis as Washington Post Publisher

Lewis later sent a memo to staffers, adopting a noticeably different and less confrontational approach. However, the note failed to appease the increasing frustration within The Post.

Within The Post's newsroom, there has been a significant decline in morale in recent months. Concerned employees have been expressing their frustration over Lewis' behavior and anxieties about the newspaper's future direction under his leadership, as per CNN.

Interviews with nearly a dozen individuals familiar with the internal dynamics of the newspaper this week revealed a workforce that has grown increasingly disheartened by the situation, with some exploring other job opportunities.

According to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor and senior associate dean for leadership studies at the Yale School of Management, it is recommended that Bezos terminate Lewis.

Sonnenfeld, a renowned advisor to US presidents and corporate leaders, expressed his opinion that Lewis has "lost legitimacy to lead" and suggested that it is time for Bezos to "clean the house."

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