Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth today canceled plans for a series of policy dinners at her home after learning that [everyone found out that] marketing fliers offered lobbyists access to Obama administration officials, members of Congress and Post journalists in exchange for payments as high as $250,000.
“Absolutely, I’m disappointed [that we got caught red-handed and the news people refused to go along]” 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 [and everyone found out]. 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 [because the Post news staff refused, as documented next].”
…an e-mail from Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli that’s been sent to the paper’s reporters and editors in response to Politico’s story about access-for-cash offers to lobbyists:
A flyer was distributed this week offering an “underwriting opportunity” for a dinner on health-care reform, in which the news department had been asked to participate.
The language in the flyer and the description of the event preclude our participation.
We will not participate in events where promises are made that in exchange for money The Post will offer access to newsroom personnel or will refrain from confrontational questioning. Our independence from advertisers or sponsors is inviolable.
There is a long tradition of news organizations hosting conferences and events, and we believe The Post, including the newsroom, can do these things in ways that are consistent with our values.