As the story goes, website Politico uncovered a flier attempting to lure Washington lobbyists and related influence seekers to meet in private "salons" with the Washington Post's publisher, editor and various reporters.
(Image by Lusi - February 16, 2008 - All Rights Reserved)
Also in the private salons for a price of course would be intimate alone time with various members of Congress and the Obama administration.
For the right price, maybe even access to the President.
Of course that was not promised, but money talks and based on The Post's offer, anything might be possible.
The Washington Post was planning to charge fees ranging from $25,000 up to $250,000 for more than one session. The money would buy private and privileged entry into meetings with the above named Post folks and government officials.
All meetings would be completely off the record and outside of public view. Where the Post was planning to host these "private salons" was not revealed but just imagine the possibilities.
(Image by Bizior - February 24, 2007 - All Rights Reserved)
Once Politico revealed the Post's plans to generate new sources of revenue for their flagging newspaper, the result furor was enough to cause Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth to officially cancel plans for the private sessions.
Many journalists were upset by the Post's plans since it was a betrayal of the scared honor of journalism.
"Newspapers are and should continue to be recognized as very authoritative about what is going on in their communities," said Alan Mutter, the San Francisco-based analyst who writes the Reflections of a Newsosaur blog. "Some publications are struggling to maintain their relevance and these special events with readers are a very legitimate function for them to fulfill."
The problem for honorable news agencies? The proposed private salon sessions undermined an unwritten tenet which says journalists should always give "their highest allegiance to their audience."
Here's my question. Even though the Post formally cancelled their private session plans, did they really? Will they be eventually held in top secret? Only time will tell.
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