Friday, July 3, 2009

Washington Post gets caught pimpin'

This has to be the most blatant example of the MSM being in bed with the Obama administration. In a flier advertising a series of “salons” to potential johns … er lobbyist, WaPo got caught pimping administration and congress members to lobbyist for $25k – $250k. The language of the flier makes clear what they were trying to do:

via: Politico

"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,” it said. “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. ...

"Washington Post Salons are extensions of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard," the flier says. "At the core is a critical topic of our day. Dinner and a volley of ideas unfold in an evening of intelligent, news-driven and off-the-record conversation. ... By bringing together those powerful few in business and policy-making who are forwarding, legislating and reporting on the issues, Washington Post Salons give life to the debate. Be at this nexus of business and policy with your underwriting of Washington Post Salons."

The Washington Post, claims that they were only bringing together leaders in Washington and that anything that came out of the salons would be on the record. Even if I could believe this, would WaPo be creating the news, simply by hosting the event and then reporting on it? To say nothing of the fact that the mix of guests could actually change the outcomes of the debates in Washington.

Robert Gibbs stated that he knew of no one in the administration who accepted the invitation and that such invitations would have to be vetted by counsel. Sorry, but I don’t buy that either. Who in their right might would host such high priced events without first securing the participation of the attendees promised in the flier? Can you imagine, WaPo collecting millions from lobbyist and when they attended the event the administration and Congress members were all no shows? Yeah, right!

I think we are going to see more of this behavior from the Obama administration and the MSM. This type of influence peddling seems like a great way for the administration to hide the lobbying, while providing cash strapped MSM with a sort of backdoor bailout.


El Cerdo Ignatius said...

An evening with the right people can alter the debate.

No doubt that's true in some instances, but as you point out, it's utterly unseemly for the Washington Post to be putting this sort of thing together, and charging big bucks for admission to it. "Backdoor bailout" is exactly the right term.

Clifton B said...


I guess WaPo feels they sold their soul to the devil, they might as well profit off it. Whatever tiny bit of credibilty they had, just flew out the window with this stunt.

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