Milbank Would Write About This, But He's Busy Scheduling A Listening Session With The NRA

by dday

I don't care about any of this, Nico Pitney is still such a dick:

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post has offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to "those powerful few": Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and — at first — 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 newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said in a staffwide e-mail that the newsroom would not participate in the first of the planned events — a dinner scheduled July 21 at the home of Publisher and Chief Executive Officer Katharine Weymouth.

The offer — which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters — was a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival.

For all the stories about blogger ethics, I don't have access to anyone at the highest levels of government that I can sell to corporate lobbyists.

These "salons" have already been cancelled, and look what the Publisher says was the real problem:

"Absolutely, I'm disappointed," Weymouth, the chief executive of Washington Post Media, said in an interview. "This should never have happened. The fliers got out and weren't vetted. They didn't represent at all what we were attempting to do. We're not going to do any dinners that would impugn the integrity of the newsroom."

Translation: "And I would have got away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids."

Well, I'm glad that whole mess is over. Now the Post can go back to being influenced by lobbyists and setting conventional wisdom in Washington without all that dirty money changing hands.

Update: from digby --- just curious about one other little matter: who in the allegedly anti-lobbyist White House agreed to this? And did whoever it was think it might be important to include some non-industry representatives, who can't afford to pay 25k to eat some stale canapes with wealthy villagers at this intellectual salon where all the "people who will get it done" were gathering? But then perhaps that would be inappropriate. After all, if you have the media, the titans of industry and the White House all under one roof it would be unseemly to allow any dirty hippies in the door. They could light up a fattie right there in the drawing room and start singing "I want to fuck you like an animal" to Ceci Connolly.

And anyway, they are clearly irrelevant to the process. As are the citizens.