Apparently the Very Serious People™ in the Village have a very different idea of journalism than they led us to believe. After their own columnist Dana Milbank lost his marbles and dignity over a DFH blogger asking a question, the Washington Post hits an all new low:
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.
And it's a turn of the times that a lobbyist is scolding The Washington Post for its ethical practices.
So they're decided that the new business model for newspapers is to effectively pimp their access and reputation to the highest bidder. No wonder they got so pissy about Nico's question. They figured they could hit up some Iranian for some serious scratch to ask their question.
Apparently red-faced at being caught with their metaphoric pants down, WaPo announced this morning that they were canceling these pay-for-access salons.
UPDATED: Howie Kurtz puts out the typical CYA article: We're horrified to find pimping going on around here!