His credibility rejuvenated by a series of timely scoops about the TikTok deal talks which eventually went nowhere, Fox Business Senior Business Correspondent Charles Gasparino has just broken what, if accurate, would be one hell of a media industry scoop.
Gasparino reports that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the proprietor of the Washington Post since he bought what was then a struggling national paper with shrinking appeal beyond the Beltway, is in talks to also buy CNN from AT&T as the telecoms giant looks to shed assets to pay down some of the massive debt accrued from building out 5G networks nationwide.
BREAKING: Is @amazon chief and @washingtonpost owner @JeffBezos looking to create a media empire? Investment bankers talking up the possibility of Bezos buying @CNN as @ATT looks to shed assets amid massive debt load following TimeWarner deal. Will discuss at 1pm @FoxBusiness $T
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) October 27, 2020
Combining CNN and the Washington Post officially under the same media umbrella, with Bezos as a kind of Rupert-Murdoch-On-Steroids, would hand the world’s richest man even more power to influence public opinion and implement his agenda.
On Twitter, Gasparino’s tweet is already drawing attention from MSM reporters.
Bezos seems to be playing media Monopoly, wants CNN in addition to WaPo https://t.co/VSrUrQaTl2
— Emily Jashinsky (@emilyjashinsky) October 27, 2020
Others found the reports amusing.
talks that Jeff Bezos may be purchasing CNN LOLOL
— Lois Grippin (@jermesz) October 27, 2020
We don’t need to go into more detail here about what a difficult year it has been for the media business. If Bezos wants to combine both the cable news station and the paper, ensuring various “synergies” (aka layoffs) in the process, then he certainly has the checkbook for it.
hahaha so funney 😂
CNN Business: Jeff Bezos and the rest of America’s billionaires saw their fortunes skyrocket over the past six months during the coronavirus pandemic — while millions of Americans are now earning less than they were before the crisis began, according to a ne https://t.co/Me8VuYuoho
— Bret Filups (@BananaSlapdick) October 26, 2020
To be sure, talks about massive media deals often pans out. A few years ago, people were reporting that Trump was going to resign in order to start his own competitor to Fox News. But if it did happen, some questions to keep in mind: Would Jeff Zucker, Trump’s former top producer at “The Apprentice” and the head of CNN, remain in place? Or would Bezos push him out. And would he use the channel to settle petty scores with lawmakers who pushed for the breakup of Amazon?
Trump is of course a hated enemy of Bezos, and has attacked the billionaire not only on Twitter, but by pushing for the antitrust scrutiny that Amazon is now facing under Trump’s watch. We can’t imagine Trump would sit back and just let such a deal proceed, though if he doesn’t win next Thursday, he might not have a choice.
Would he bring in his mistress, a former TV anchor, for an on-camera spot? Maybe even as management?