Does Jeff Bezos have a secret plan to influence Washington to approve his new vision to deliver packages via drone aircraft?
That's at least one way some Beltway insiders are reading Bezos' move to buy The Washington Post in light of Sunday night's shocking disclosure on CBS's "60 Minutes" that Amazon was testing a drone-based delivery system for products under 5 pounds.
Bezos said the system, which would have small aircraft carrying products to consumer doorsteps from local distribution centers, was still several years away from launch and faced a number of major obstacles.
(Read more: Why the Amazon drone is just the beginning)
"The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy, all the reliability, all the systems you need to say this can't land on somebody's head," he said in a lengthy chat with CBS' Charlie Rose.
But beyond not landing on people's heads, there will also be significant Washington-related questions facing the bold Amazon project.
(Read more: Amazon says testing delivery by drone)
And that's what has conspiracy whisperers suggesting Bezos' purchase of the nation's capital's dominant newspaper was intended less as a business play than as a way to have a big editorial voice in Washington.
And Bezos wouldn't have to use his own editorial page—which he has pledged to leave independent—as a direct bludgeon to argue for policies beneficial to Amazon. Washington lobbyists note that the very fact that Bezos owns the Post and its coveted op-ed and news space would tend to make politicians more inclined to take positions that would not run counter to Amazon's ambitions for fear of having their submissions rejected or their actions covered in negative ways.
One DC lobbyist said he thought the influence angle was plausible but suggested other bigger motivations for the Post purchase. "He could have spent a fraction of the cost on lobbyists and probably achieved same result," the lobbyist said. "I think he bought the paper because he sees himself as a media tycoon like Pulitzer and wants to take a shot at reviving the industry."
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