WashPost Peddling Access to Health Care Reporters?

According to a flier obtained by Politico from a health care lobbyist, the Washington Post is selling access to its top employees. Literally.

"Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate," says the one-page flier. "Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth ... Bring your organization's CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama Administration and Congressional leaders ...

"Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No. The relaxed setting in the home of Katharine Weymouth assures it. What is guaranteed is a collegial evening, with Obama Administration officials, Congress members, business leaders, advocacy leaders and other select minds typically on the guest list of 20 or less. ...

"Offered at $25,000 per sponsor, per Salon. Maximum of two sponsors per Salon. Underwriters' CEO or Executive Director participates in the discussion. Underwriters appreciatively acknowledged in printed invitations and at the dinner. Annual series sponsorship of 11 Salons offered at $250,000 ... Hosts and Discussion Leaders ... Health-care reporting and editorial staff members of The Washington Post ... An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done. ... A Washington Post Salon ... July 21, 2009 6:30 p.m."

This is actually shocking, from a Journalism Ethics point of view (the paper is offering you the chance to pay money to "alter the debate" on health care at an "off-the-record dinner" with its own "health-care reporting and editorial staff members," and I just don't see any way to pretty up that concept). I'll be curious to see whether the story is confirmed.

Link via Drudge.

UPDATE: Confirmed, and cancelled.

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  • Xeones||

    If this is true, then dinosaur media can't die off fast enough. Yo, fuck the Washington Post.

  • ||

    So, it's 25k to get into this discussion? If you all pool your resources and get me in there, I'll go, I'll alter the debate, and then I'll take on Chuck Schumer for his senate seat next year.

  • Rich||

    Q: "Alter the debate"?

    A1) Oh, you know what we mean!

    A2) We misspoke.

  • ||

    Found on a flyer? Where did you find the flyer? On the subway? lol

  • ||

    Imagine my surprise.

  • ||

    This is actually shocking, from a Journalism Ethics point of view

    It is. But not in the way you think. Journalism has never been an ethical profession. What's shocking is that they seem to be publicly acknowledging themselves as the whores that they are.

  • ||

    NPR this morning had a piece about former investigative print journalists who decided to go into "other areas of public service" in reaction to the industry's decline.

  • ||

    Hey Corporatist!
    We are no longer willing to reprint your press releases out of laziness to pad our advertisement pages. As ad revenue has decreased we need to get more revenue from the so-called "News" we print.

    We are also willing to defame your enemies and certain other 'intimate' services for the rich and powerful.

    Call us.

  • ||

    What's really interesting here is that this get-together only works if the White House shows up. Essentially, what the White House is doing is joint venturing with the WaPo. The WaPo gets money, the White House gets, what, exactly? They don't need the WaPo to arrange meetings with industry big shots - those guys are begging, even paying, for access.

    The only thing the WaPo has that the White House wants is favorable reporting.

    Think that won't effect what WaPo reports on, and how?

  • ||

    What's the difference between a newspaper and a talking head or a blogger? In theory--according to the journalists--it's the paper's attempt to be objective and to avoid conflicts of interest. Openly flouting that principle, in my mind, means that everything printed by the paper in connection with this administration is suspect. Given DC politics is what the Post does, they shouldn't complain when people stop buying the paper because what's left of its credibility was shoved under some couch in Katharine Weymouth's living room.

  • ||

    Walpo is committing suicide. R.C. is right in saying that the Whitehouse is trading access for favorable coverage. But the only reason that coverage means anything is WALPO's pretension at being a neutral arbriter of truth. Without that, hiring the WALPO is no different than hiring a PR firm.

    By even making the offer WALPO is admitting that there is nothing objective about its reporting. If WALPO is an objective abriter of facts, how could meeting their reporters do any good? It only is effective if WALPO has no pretense of being objective and will slant the facts toward whichever side pays up or does the best song and dance routine. At this point how are they anything but a paid PR firm?

  • Average American||

    Walpo?

  • Average American||

    Where's Walpo?

  • ||

    We can all chip in and get Lonewacko a seat.

  • ||

    WaPo sounds like a derogatory term. Walpo is more accurate, merging the paper with the dog food. Or with Waldo, suggesting that, like Waldo, the paper's integrity is difficult to find.

  • Xeones||

    We can all chip in and get Lonewacko a seat.

    This... is a wonderful idea.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The WaPo gets money, the White House gets, what, exactly?

    The White House gets control of the content.

  • Spartacus||

    I like cmace's idea. I'm in for ten bucks. But only if he will bring a video camera and post the responses to his questions on YouTube.

  • ||

    (way) off topic- but can it be argued that Katharine Graham was among the few adult women who actually looked good in seventies fashions?

  • ||

    It would have to be a hidden camera, since the discussions are supposed to be "off-the-record". Ooh! Maybe they'll strip search him!

    I'm in for ten bucks, too :)

  • Spartacus||

    Not etc.-

    Having been a teenager in the seventies, I would submit that there were lots of adult women who looked very good in seventies fashions. Very very good.

  • ||

    Maybe they'll strip search him!



    To their horror they realized that what they thought was a fetid coverall was not clothing at all.

  • ||

    what they thought was a fetid coverall

    I knew it was tanned human flesh, but I had assumed it was at least someone else's tanned human flesh.

  • Warty||

    I thought it was his natural pelt, matted by years of sleeping in his own ordure.

  • Zeb||

    If they had any balls they would take the money, then run a big story about how the Whitehouse is trying to buy favorable coverage.

  • ||

    An evening with the right people can alter the debate

    True. If they came to *my* house, they might actually learn something.

  • ||

    Updated:
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/24441.html

  • ||

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/24441.html

    If we had a state run media like civilized countries do, such as the BBC, then these poor MSM organizations wouldn't be FORCED to sell access by the free market and would have the freedom to be ethical.

    Joe, how did I do?

  • alan||

    Having been a teenager in the seventies, I would submit that there were lots of adult women who looked very good in seventies fashions. Very very good.

    The Persian girls that run the coffee shop I like to go to from time to time when in town dress like they stepped out of a seventies time machine, and if you ask me they look really hot. You can never go wrong with silk paisley prints if you got the bod for it.

  • Other Matt||

    means that everything printed by the paper in connection with this administration is suspect.

    This is some new leap of logic for you? It's been suspect for a while.

  • tekende||

    Zeb | July 2, 2009, 12:07pm | #

    If they had any balls they would take the money, then run a big story about how the Whitehouse is trying to buy favorable coverage.


    Threadwinner!

  • ||

    Other Matt,

    I wasn't referring so much to me as to the general public.

    Zeb,

    That's what I'd do. Honestly, the media spends so much time kissing ass to preserve "access" that they are useless in covering anything important.

  • Paul||

    Fuck these people. Fuck them with highly polished knobs on. And everyone who looks like 'em.

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