Newspaper’s Amazon.com series delivers strong reaction

By Chuck Taylor

A group called Envision Seattle, which urges residents there to “end corporate personhood,” is piling on Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos following the Seattle Times series last week about the company:

Bezos rarely votes. According to King County Elections’ public records, Bezos has skipped 18 of the last 21 elections (his wife has skipped 19) …
Meanwhile, Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman followed up the series with an overview of reader reaction, which he seemed to divide into two categories: thoughtful readers who wrote privately in response to the stories, many of them supportive, and cranky, anonymous trolls in the comment threads who were “overwhelmingly negative,” many of whom thought the Times had done a hit piece.

Said Boardman:

… We heard from current and former Amazon employees applauding the series, as well as many businesspeople who had had difficult dealings with the company. …

We consider this kind of journalism part of our customer service, something we take just as seriously as Amazon does.

Just as importantly, perhaps, these sorts of stories have led to rich, widespread community discussion and debate. This one certainly has, on our website and on many others.

In fact, we would welcome Amazon’s participation in that discussion, beyond the scant input it provided us. The company refused to tell us even how many people it employs in Seattle. …

Naturally, the trolls were out in force again to chastise Boardman’s explanation of the paper’s motivations.