The newspaper world was stunned this week when it was announced that the Graham family has sold the Washington Post to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. A former editor of the Post, Marcus Brauchli, had this to say: "A brave, selfless act, as hard as any, done with dignity and from loyalty."
As owners, it is their right to sell it. I don't have any qualms about that. But to describe this sale as "brave" and "selfless" is a bit much. The Graham family made $250 million in the process. Unless they plan to give all the proceeds to the poor, there are 250 million reasons why this was not a selfless act!
When Ben and Jerry sold their ice cream business to Unilever in 2000 for $345 million, that wasn't selfless. When Arianna Huffington and her associates sold The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million, that wasn't selfless either. And the same is true when Al Gore and Joel Hyatt sold Current TV this year to Al Jazeera for a cool $500 million.
Like I wrote above, I don't begrudge these owners for deciding to sell an asset. I just have a major issue with calling them selfless. You can't be considered selfless if the act itself results in you swimming in egregious amounts of moolah.