Bezos Buys the Washington Post, and Why Jerks Make the Best TV, and More

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Friday, August 09, 2013

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos buys the Washington Post, the story of the (incredibly) difficult men behind the golden age of television, and a mysterious TV network from the past you probably don't know existed.

Like A Funeral

Bob speaks with Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi about the scene at the Post when Post CEO and Chairman Don Graham announced the paper's sale to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Farhi had a unique perspective on the sale as the only reporter who knew the announcement was coming. Farhi also lays out the legacy of the Graham family. 

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In the Empire Business

As the new owner of the Post, Jeff Bezos becomes one of the most important people in journalism. So who is Jeff Bezos? Bob talks with journalist Brad Stone about Bezos and how he might lead the paper. Stone is the author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon -- it'll be released in October. 

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The Great Newspaper Strike of 1962-1963

Fifty years ago, 17,000 New York City newspaper workers went on strike, shuttering the city's seven daily papers for 114 days. Rooted in fears about new "cold type" printing technology, the strike ended up devastating the city's newspaper culture and launching the careers of a new generation of writers including Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, and Nora Ephron. Vanity Fair contributor Scott Sherman talks with Bob about the strike and its legacy.

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Creation of the Media

It's often been observed that technological innovations are the primary force driving the evolution of the mass media. But make your way through the 402 pages Paul Starr's book The Creation of the Media, and that notion will be left in dust - along with many other common assumptions. In the book, Starr argues that the government has played a much more fundamental role in the growth of the American media than is commonly thought. He discusses his research with Brooke.

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The Forgotten Network

Television viewers under a certain age think of the big three broadcast networks as having existed since the dawn of time. A misconception, of course - but largely because of what it omits. In TV's earliest days, there was also the DuMont Network, a pioneering enterprise that aired some of its era's most popular programs. Bob talks history with David Weinstein, author of book that chronicles the rise and fall of DuMont.

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Difficult Men

Breaking Bad returns this weekend for its final 8-episode run this weekend. You can find an answer to why the show has joined the pantheon of greats including The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men and more in TV’s current Golden Age, in Brett Martin’ s new book, Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution. Brooke talks to Martin about how we ended up in this TV renaissance. 

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