The announcement that The Washington Post is partnering with and hosting the conservative and libertarian-leaning blog The Volokh Conspiracy is evidence that the Post may be moving to the right in the wake of the paper's acquisition by Jeff Bezos.
On January 21, The Washington Post announced that it had entered into a partnership with The Volokh Conspiracy, a blog that has operated since 2002 and largely focuses on legal issues but has strayed into other areas, including climate denialism. The Post praised the blog in its announcement of the agreement, calling it a “must-read source [that] will be a great addition to the Post's coverage of law, politics and policy.” In his first official post, the blog's founder, Eugene Volokh, revealed that the Post granted him “full editorial control.”
The move was celebrated by right-wing media outlets such as the American Spectator, which praised Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for highlighting a blog that provides legal commentary “from a [generally] libertarian or conservative perspective,” writing, “Perhaps it should stand to reason that a man who made a fortune offering people choices, should offer the same alternatives to his readership. What a novel concept in today's news atmosphere.” TownHall editor Conn Carroll cited the acquisition as evidence that Bezos was “clearly moving” the Post “in a libertarian direction.”
Breitbart.com's John Nolte also cheered the decision to host The Volokh Conspiracy, writing that it will “give the Post the sorely needed voices of legitimate conservatives, but unlike Klein the Volokh Conspiracy won't attempt to hide their ideology.”
Even before the addition of a conservative-libertarian legal blog, the Post has come under scrutiny for years for leaning to the right. Editorial page editor Fred Hiatt has been heavily criticized for promoting climate denialism, for supporting cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and for leading the Post's support for the Iraq War. The opinion pages regularly feature conservative columnists such as Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and Jennifer Rubin, who used her prominent blog to repackage presidential candidate Mitt Romney's messaging during the 2012 general election as part of her patently dishonest campaign to aid his candidacy.
In August of 2013, after the announcement that Bezos had bought The Washington Post, Fortune magazine senior editor at large Allan Sloan reacted to rumors that Bezos was libertarian by writing a column asking Bezos to reveal his political ideology. Sloan wrote “No matter what Bezos says now, once his purchase of The Post closes, scheduled for the fall, he's almost certain to begin imposing his standards and beliefs on The Post, or at least on its opinion pages.” If the addition of The Volokh Conspiracy is evidence that Sloan's prediction is coming true, it doesn't bode well for the future of The Washington Post under Bezos.