Post Salon Scandal Gets Full Take Down
So the Washington Post appeared to want to make you pay big bucks for meet-ups with their reporters and editors. Politico had the scoop on the Post scheme in which Publisher Katharine Weymouth would host "salons" in which lobbyists and association muckety mucks would pay large sums of money to hobnob with Posties, Obama administration officials, and members of Congress.
Let's stop and just say it: This is/was really, really dumb. Unethical and dumb. Yesterday, Weymouth published a "Dear Reader" letter apologizing for the now-abandoned salons. It reads in part:
"A flier distributed last week suggested that we were selling access to power brokers in Washington through dinners that were to take place at my home. The flier was not approved by me or newsroom editors, and it did not accurately reflect what we had in mind. But let me be clear: The flier was not the only problem."
I wonder if the Weymouth has to put a stop order on the hot appetizers she planned on serving to D.C.'s elite. I hope the Post doesn't have to eat the cost of the flower arrangement orders. And I hope they got a deal on those fliers they're not going to use. Next time: Evites.
There had been a lot of dithering on the part of the Post's staff on the subject of these salons. Howard Kurtz, the paper's media reporter, suggested the events were like the New Yorker Festival. [Um, no the salons would not have been like the New Yorker Festival]. It is really doubtful that the salons would have been open to the public and given big-time ad treatment within its pages. The salons appeared to be private affairs between Washington elite.
The best takedown/summation of this scandal? You can find it at The Awl. The Shadow Editors—featuring WCP alum Tom Scocca—dissect the scandal and the Weymouth letter. It's actually funny.
I am still confused about the extent of the Post's editors and reporters involvement in setting up the salons.
*photo courtesy Business Week.