Jack Shafer

Jeff Bezos has two words for you: ‘No comment.’

By Jack Shafer
August 19, 2013

When journalists pressed William Henry Vanderbilt in 1882 about his plan to discontinue his railroad’s popular but unprofitable mail run, the richest man in the world reportedly exclaimed, “The public be damned!” Whether Vanderbilt said “be damned” or not — he claimed to have been misquoted — business titans of the Gilded Age routinely assumed this default posture.

The next publisher of the Washington Post is…

By Jack Shafer
August 12, 2013

I resist making predictions if only to avoid the inevitable disappointment when they fail to peg future events. As best as I can tell, every forecast, every prophecy, every reading of entrails and chicken bones that I’ve committed to print (or its digital equivalent) has failed to come true. But this time I think I’ve read enough into my tea leaves to confidently assert my suspicion that in early October, after Jeff Bezos consummates the deal he made with Donald Graham to purchase the Washington Post for $250 million, one of his first acts of ownership will be to name Vijay Ravindran his publisher of the newspaper.

Jeff Bezos is an owner who knows how to deliver

By Jack Shafer
August 5, 2013

As the American newspaper business began its red-ink slide in the late 2000s, I fully expected a billionaire to rescue the financially struggling Washington Post. But I never thought its savior would be Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who purchased the paper today for $250 million.

Mike Daisey’s brief guide to answering difficult questions

By Jack Shafer
March 20, 2012

Thanks to the “Retraction” episode of This American Life and his appearance at Georgetown University last night, we now know more than we ever wanted to about Mike Daisey’s damage control theories.