Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive "salon" at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors.
The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff."
With the Post newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth said in an email to the staff that "a flier went out that was prepared by the Marketing department and was never vetted by me or by the newsroom. Had it been, the flier would have been immediately killed, because it completely misrepresented what we were trying to do."
As if some low-level staffer in Marketing just decided to offer the publisher's personal residence for 11 meetings (the full series) without her approval! Talk about implausible deniability, as Woodward and Bernstein might have put it.
Methinks that WaPo has previously killed more than a few trees inveighing against the corrupting effects of money in politics. Those trees have fallen in vain. So much for respecting the Constitutional protections given to the press for its alleged independent investigative function.
George Washington was known as a man of improbable probity. Talk about spinning in his grave.
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