OLD Media Moves

Why the media coverage of Amazon is out of control

April 27, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

AmazonFelix Salmon writes for Slate about the problem with how the business news media covers Amazon.com.

Salmon writes, “Here’s a game you can play along at home: Pick a story, more or less at random, about any company that sells consumer goods and that is doing badly or worse than expected. Then count the paragraphs before the word Amazon appears. Take this story about Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Nestlé, for instance; the fourth paragraph has the requisite clause about ‘Amazon.com Inc.’s rising prowess in selling more household staples.’ But there are no numbers attached to that claim, maybe because Amazon, even if it’s growing, still has less than 1 percent of household-staples sales.

“And while Amazon’s entry into the fashion business is certainly noteworthy, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s ‘disrupting fashion retail,’ as the Financial Times would have you believe. That would be hard, with just $25 billion or so in revenues—just 2.5 percent of a $1 trillion market.

“A version of this game can even be played with Donald Trump’s tweets. When Trump rails against Amazon on Twitter, the proximate cause is probably personal animosity toward Bezos, who owns the Washington Post. But the broader context is that Trump has bought in to the narrative of an all-powerful, all-dominant Amazon. That’s why his allegations, even though false, have the ring of truthiness.”

Read more here.

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