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Ioffe vs. O’Donnell Over Snowden and Amazon Meets The Post

Date posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013

Weekly picks from the office.

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Julia Ioffe vs. Lawrence O’Donnell

You may have heard about this already, but last night, Julia Ioffe, senior editor of The New Republic and former New Yorker and Foreign Policy Russia correspondent, was yelled at by Lawrence O’Donnell on his show The Last Word, after he asked her a (very stupid) question about the White House announcement that Obama was cancelling his one-on-one meeting with Putin. Ioffe challenged his premise—that Putin was in complete control of the outcome of Snowden’s fate—and O’Donnell let loose. Ioffe, who responded gracefully (except for one part about the death penalty), could barely get a word in. The clip is worth watching and Ioffe’s defense is worth reading because A) O’Donnell acted like a total fool B) Ioffe makes some very good points about the way we perceive Russia, and U.S.-Russian relations.

—Masha Udensiva-Brenner, Editor

The $9.99 Washington Post

I know it’s dramatic and irrational, but, after I found out that the Washington Post was sold to Amazon.com founder, Jeffrey P. Bezos, I felt like my childhood had been looted. As someone from D.C. who grew up reading the Post, part of me always knew the days of my father (a hairdresser) doing Katherine Graham’s hair and of my reading Robert Hass’ Poet’s Choice with my Cheerios were long over, but I still can’t fight the sensation of someone shoving my face in this fact. Yes, newspapers have been floundering, but did the Post really have to sell to the Amazon founder of all people/corporations? And can we really separate the man from the corporation?

I used to work for a small, independent bookstore where the very word “Amazon” was anathema to us. As though we booksellers needed more proof of Amazon’s bullying, that winter in 2010 Amazon removed the buy button on Macmillan Books. I’ll concede that Bezos is better than the Koch Brothers, but I still wish someone else, maybe someone from Apple—the ghost of Steve Jobs—would have taken over the newspaper.

—Nicola Fucigna, Fiction Editor

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