Pay-For-Play: Washington Post Style

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 5, 2009

Katharine Weymouth apologizes for the Washington Post’s planned pay-for-play scheme involving Obama Administration officials. The apology is nice to have, but it leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Six sets of them, by my count.

1. Whose bright idea was it in the first place to put out a flier–even if the flier was a draft–promising “nonconfrontational” access to Obama Administration officials in exchange for cash?

2. Has that person been fired yet?

3. If not, why not?

4. Why isn’t Katharine Weymouth herself resigning or fired?

5. Who on Earth pays good money for “off-the-record dinner[s]” with newsmakers? If we are going to have pay-for-play, shouldn’t the event have been on record?

And finally . . .

6. There is nothing in the Weymouth editorial stating that these dinners were planned without the consent of the Obama Administration or any of the officials to whom access was promised. Was the Obama Administration or any official working in the Administration aware of these dinners? Did they give their consent to participating in the dinners? If so, and especially if the officials in question knew that pay-for-play was the order of the day, shouldn’t that fact be reported? And if not, what was the Post doing promising access to Obama Administration officials when it didn’t have those officials’ consent in the first place?

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