Washington Post Salons: Worse Than We Thought

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 12, 2009

As noted by Ed Morrissey, the Washington Post’s pay-for-play scheme took place despite the fact that a number of Posties warned against the scheme, citing ethical concerns. This certainly makes the Post look bad; the pay-for-play scheme got hatched not because people like Katharine Weymouth were isolated from ethical concerns, but rather, because Weymouth and executive editor Marcus Brauchli ignored those concerns altogether.

Even worse, as Morrissey notes, there was an effort to make Post marketing executive Charles Pelton the fall guy for the scandal, when in fact, responsibility lays at the feet of Weymouth and Brauchli for ignoring efforts to steer the Post towards doing the right thing. It’s particularly loathsome that the upper echelons of the Post would behave this way, but there you are. Journalistic ethics have apparently gone the way of the dinosaur, at least in some quarters.

About the only way the Post is going to recover in the short term is if it assigns one of its reporters to conduct a thorough investigation of Weymouth’s and Brauchli’s activities, and reports on his/her findings in exhaustive fashion to the public. It may win a Pulitzer, but even if it doesn’t, such a self-examination may serve to reassure the public that the Post is dedicated to winning its trust back.

Oh, and Weymouth and Brauchli need to go. Their positions are untenable.

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