Statement from the Authors Guild President
President Trump, by urging retaliation against Amazon in order to punish Jeff Bezos as owner of The Washington Post, is poisoning the process of antitrust enforcement at a critical time. Trump continues to make dangerous attacks on a free press.
The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission need to be able to proceed with fair enforcement of antitrust laws in the interest of consumers and the public, free from political interference. The Authors Guild continues to work with professionals at both agencies to rein in abusive and anticompetitive practices that affect the bookselling marketplace.
On Twitter, the president wrote:
….In my opinion the Washington Post is nothing more than an expensive (the paper loses a fortune) lobbyist for Amazon. Is it used as protection against antitrust claims which many feel should be brought?
We agree with Representative Adam Schiff, who replied: “The suggestion by the President that antitrust action should be brought by the Justice Department against Amazon because he doesn’t like his coverage in Washington Post is a direct assault on the First Amendment.”
It also muddies the waters. Amazon has nothing to do with The Washington Post, notwithstanding Bezos’s ownership interests in both. Our position on Amazon and antitrust is reflected in this letter, which was written to the Antitrust Division during the Obama administration.
A robust, competitive book market is important for authors. But nothing is more important than the right of free expression. We oppose the administration’s bullying.
-James Gleick, Authors Guild President