October 12, 2021

Ever since Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, cynics wondered if the Post would treat Bezos like every other powerful figure, turning its investigative eye on him like it would anyone else.

Well, there has been no sign that the Post has laid off when it comes to Bezos and on Monday, it reported a story that calls out Blue Origin, the Bezos-owned space venture. The Post’s Christian Davenport and Rachel Lerman write, “Inside Blue Origin: Employees say toxic, dysfunctional ‘bro culture’ led to mistrust, low morale and delays at Jeff Bezos’s space venture.”

They started the story by writing, “In 2019, a mid-level employee at Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin had grown fed up with the company, and as he left, he wrote a long memo that he sent to Bezos, chief executive Bob Smith and other senior leaders: ‘Our current culture is toxic to our success and many can see it spreading throughout the company.’ The problems at the spaceflight company were ‘systemic,’ according to the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post and verified by two former employees familiar with the matter, and ‘the loss of trust in Blue’s leadership is common.’”

The Post reporters dug deep, talking to more than 20 current and former Blue Origin employees and industry officials with “close ties to the firm.”

One former executive told the Post, “It’s bad. I think it’s a complete lack of trust. Leadership has not engendered any trust in the employee base.”

Bezos declined to comment to the Post, as did Shailesh Prakash, The Post’s chief information officer who also sits on Blue Origin’s advisory board.

The story is another example of how the Post isn’t afraid to report on Bezos. Post media reporter Paul Farhi tweeted, “Tough story by Bezos-owned newspaper about Bezos-owned business. One of many.”

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

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