What Is That Wapo Wapo Wapo Sound?

June 20, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Do you hear that thumping wapo wapo wapo sound? I do. It reminds me of an old school pickup truck with a flat tire on a hot summer’s day? Yep, wapo wapo wapo. That’s it!

Jeff Bezos Has Worst Response Ever to Washington Post Turmoil” emitted this sound when I read the essay in New Republic. The newspaper for Washington, DC and its environs is the Post. When I lived in Washington, DC, the newspaper was a must read. Before I trundled off to the cheerful workplace of Halliburton Nuclear and later to the incredibly sensitive and human blue chip consulting firm known affectionately as the Boozer, I would read the WaPo. I had to be prepared. If I were working with a Congress person like Admiral Craig Hosmer, USN Retired, I had to know what Miss Manners had to say that day. A faux pas could be fatal.


The old pickup truck has a problem because one of the tires went wapo wapo wapo and then the truck stopped. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

The WaPo is now a Jeff Bezos property. I have forgotten how the financial deal was structured, but he has a home in DC and every person who is in contention as one of the richest men on earth needs a newspaper. The write up explains:

In a memo to the paper’s top personnel on Tuesday, the billionaire technocrat backed the new CEO Will Lewis, a former lieutenant to right-wing media mogul Richard Murdoch, whose controversial appointment at the Post has made waves across the industry in the wake of reporting on his shady journalistic practices.

That’s inspiring for a newspaper: A political angle and “shady journalistic practices.” What happened to that old every day is Day One and the customer is important? I suppose a PR person could trot those out. But the big story seems to be the newspaper is losing readers and money. Don’t people in DC read? Oh, silly question. No, now the up-and-come movers and shakers doom scroll and watch YouTube. The cited article includes a snippet from the Bezos bulldozer it appears. That item states:

…the journalistic standards and ethics at The Post will not change… You have my full commitment to n maintaining the quality, ethics, and standards we all believe in.

Two ethics in one short item. Will those add up this way: ethics plus ethics equals trust? Sure. I believe everything one of the richest people in the world says. It seems that one of the new hires to drive the newspaper world’s version of Jack Benny’s wheezing Maxwell was involved in some hanky-panky from private telephone conversations.

Several observations:

  1. “Real” newspapers seem to be facing some challenges. These range from money to money to money. Did I mention money?
  2. The newspaper owner and the management team have to overcome the money hurdle. How does one do that? Maybe smart software from an outfit like AWS and the Sagemaker product line? The AI can output good enough content at a lower cost and without grousing humans, vacations, health care, and annoying reporters poking into the lifestyle of the rich, powerful, famous, and rich. Did I mention “rich” twice? But if Mr. Bezos can work two ethics into one short memo, I can fit two into a longer blog post.
  3. The readers and journalists are likely to lose. I think readers will just suck down content from their mobile devices and the journalists will have to find their futures elsewhere like certain lawyers, many customer service personnel, and gig workers who do “art” for publishers, among others.

Net net: Do you hear the wapo wapo wapo? How long will the Bezos pickup truck roll along?

Stephen E Arnold, June 20, 2024


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