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Hillary Clinton at Code Conference: Amazon's Jeff Bezos saved The Washington Post

  • Hillary Clinton spoke from the annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
  • "I think Jeff Bezos saved The Washington Post," Clinton said, praising the Amazon CEO.

The tech community is partially responsible for changing the "entrenched" nature of so-called conservative media like Fox News, former presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.

Clinton spoke from the annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. She hinted that more tech billionaires should buy media companies and fund investigative journalism, the way Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post. She said it's wrong to dismiss print news as an "ancient" medium, especially amid reports about the spread of misinformation on social media.

"I think Jeff Bezos saved The Washington Post," Clinton said. "But newspapers, like the Post, the Journal, the Times, others — still drive news. ... It was a very good use of his financial resources. Because now we have a very good newspaper again operating in Washington, and driving news elsewhere."

Asa Mathat for Vox Media

Washington Post editor Marty Baron has said that Bezos does not suggest stories during their strategy meetings. But Bezos has been helpful in the sense that "he could bring a sense of growth, a huge knowledge of technology, and a real understanding of consumer behavior" as the Post moves away from its print product and more toward digital products.

Clinton, a former U.S. senator and first lady, said she thought almost a year ago that Russia might be interfering in the election, but she said she couldn't get the press to cover it. Today, an investigation is underway about the issue.

Meanwhile, platforms like Twitter have been "victimized" by the spread of false information, Clinton said. She urged Twitter users to differentiate between threats and diversions, or "chasing rabbits" down proverbial rabbit holes. Clinton tossed barbs at her former rival, President Donald Trump, who has been known to announce policy stances on Twitter.

Still, Clinton said platforms like Facebook need to get better at curating news. The company has aggressively worked toward curbing misuse on its platform, including "false amplifiers" of political stances.

"I have a lot of sympathy for the people making these decisions," Clinton said of executives at places like Facebook and Twitter. "I just urge them to hurry up."

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox Media. Recode and NBC have a content-sharing arrangement.