Washington Post's Obituary

Remember how the esteemed WaPo's columnist Dana Milbank went bonkers over Huffington Pot's Nico Pitney being told "in advanced" that he might be called on by the President to ask a question from an Iranian protester (he was up day & night repoerting on the protests - collecting news from all over the internetS in a way the traditional, corp. media could only drem of)?

The only thing that surprised me was when Dana turned to me after our initial sparring and called me a "dick" in a whispered tone (the specific phrase was, I believe, "You're such a dick"). Howie Kurtz wrote on Twitter that he didn't hear it, which is understandable -- he was doing the lead-in for the next part of the segment on the ABC White House special. But it happened (I urge Howie to watch the video of the panel during the ABC intro) and it was frankly pretty odd.
And you must have heard by now about how the Washington Post reportedly selling health care lobbyists and CEOs access to its journalists, Obama officials?

From Think Progress:
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.

read more from Think Progress...
Well, Charles Kaiser has written a fitting obituary for the paper, as the WaPo won't survives in it's current form after this scandal. Goodbye, Howard Kurtz!

From Charles Kaiser:

The Washington Post died today. It was five months short of its 132nd birthday.

News of the demise of the once-great news gathering organization came in a story by Mike Allen at Politico.com, which reported that Post publisher Katharine Weymouth has decided to solicit payoffs of between $25,000 and $250,000 from Washington lobbyists, in return for one or more private dinners in her home, where lucky diners will receive a chance for “your organization’s CEO” to interact with “Health-care reporting and editorial staff members of The Washington Post” and “key Obama administration and congressional leaders …”

The decision by the Post’s publisher to sell access to government officials was the latest--and, by far, the most horrific--in a series of disastrous decisions in the last two weeks which, taken together, have destroyed what was once one of the proudest brands in American journalism.


Graham’s granddaughter, Katharine Weymouth, was widely admired within The Washington Post Company as she climbed up the corporate ladder before finally succeeding her uncle Donald Graham as the paper’s publisher. But the extraordinary economic pressures faced by every American newspaper as their traditional business model has collapsed has now led to a comparable collapse in corporate judgment. When historians look back at this event, they will note it as the beginning of the end of newspapers as we have known them.

read the rest of this spot on piece...

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