In the News: Stacy Mitchell
January 12th, 2018
Media Outlet: The New York Times
As the power of Amazon grows, so grows the power of the worlds richest person (or second richest person depending the stock surges), Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Nick Wingfield and Nellie Bowles’ profile of Bezos in the New York Times details how Bezos has a hand in numerous honeypots from Washington to Hollywood — making the right appearances at the right parties to grow his clout.
As our comprehensive Amazon’s Stranglehold report methodically laid out, Amazon is continuing a strategy of of seeping its tentacles into every nook and cranny of our economy. Wingfield and Bowles reached out to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s co-director and Community-Scaled Economies initiative director Stacy Mitchell to get her perspective on the robber baron Bezos.
Here’s her contribution:
Another blow to the company’s public standing landed in 2015 when The New York Times published a lengthy examination of Amazon’s corporate work culture, which was depicted as an unforgiving environment. “The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day,” Mr. Bezos said in an emailto the company’s employees after the article came out.
According to two people who work closely with Mr. Bezos, the chief executive became more focused on corporate reputation issues after The Times article and the Hachette uproar.
By late 2015, a few months after Mr. Trump announced his campaign for president, he started his Twitter broadsides against Mr. Bezos, which often coincided with critical coverage of the candidate in The Washington Post.
“The @washingtonpost loses money (a deduction) and gives owner @JeffBezos power to screw public on low taxation of @Amazon!” he tweeted in December that year. “Big tax shelter.”
Mr. Bezos responded by offering to launch the future president of the United States into space on a Blue Origin rocket.
A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
The attention in Washington edged up in June when Amazon announced it was buying Whole Foods Markets. Though Amazon remains a niche player in the grocery business, the deal drove home the power of the company and led some lawmakers to question its power.
“The purchase of Whole Foods was a moment when people looked up and recognized this company as a force in the economy,” said Stacy Mitchell, a co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit advocacy group for local businesses, which has published a critical report on Amazon’s impact on jobs and communities.