Mike Allen of Politico.com reports that The Washington Post is offering off-the-record access to its reporters, for a price.
A flier, given to a reporter by a lobbyist, says those who take it up on its offer will get access to its “health care reporting and editorial staff.” For $25,000, sponsors can have “An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done” in the first of these “salons.”
The first such event is titled “Health-Care Reform: Better or Worse for Americans? The reform and funding debate” and is scheduled for July 21.
Politico says it has asked The Post to comment and it will post its response.
Politico has now posted text of an internal Post memo from executive editor Marcus Brauchli that went out today. He says “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.
A Post spokeswoman tells Politico that the flier that was distributed “went out before it was properly vetted, and this draft does not represent what the company’s vision for these dinners are.” She says the flier came from a business division of the company and the newsroom did not know about it.
Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz weighs in on the issue as well.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs discussed the Washington Post situation during a press briefing.