"Washington Post reportedly selling health care lobbyists and CEOs access to its journalists, Obama officials."
The Politico reports that the Washington Post, for a price of $25,000 to $250,000, is “offering lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, non-confrontational access to ‘those powerful few’ — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.” While the Politico notes that on-the-record events and conferences are becoming a trend in the newspaper industry, this type of closed, pay-for-access event raises serious ethical concerns. The flier for the event, titled “Health-Care Reform: Better or Worse for Americans? The reform and funding debate,” reads:
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. [...] Annual series sponsorship of 11 Salons offered at $250,000 […] 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. [...] July 21, 2009 6:30 p.m.
In recent weeks, the Washington Post has editorialized against a public option as a part of health care reform. Defending the status quo of a private insurer-dominated system, the Post wrote, “A public plan is not necessary to maintain a competitive market in health insurance.”