The journalistic integrity of the Washington Post has been suspect at best through the election cycles of late, offering frequent puff pieces for Obama, hit pieces on Republicans, and generally echoing in lockstep Democrat party talking points while ignoring newsworthy matters that would benefit the GOP. It is a blatantly partisan paper with a thin veneer of journalistic integrity in its editorial decision making. More recently, they have thrown themselves behind Creigh Deeds in an effort to put him over the top of Bob McDonell in the VA gubernatorial race.
They may never drop the pretense of neutrality. But the veneer continue to wear ever thinner. Like many newspapers, the dawn of the internet as a news source has caused genuine competition for news providers that has affected the WP financially. After all, if you can get an internet connection for less than the monthly cost of your newspaper, why wouldn’t you? The internet provides a far more diverse array of viewpoints and far more thorough coverage of every issue. You can get the news you are interested in hearing about when you are interested in hearing about it at no additional cost versus having to buy a paper that is usually pushing its own agenda.
We have seen newspapers go under in the past year in Seattle, Colorado, and elsewhere. We have seen the NYT leverage its other assets to keep the financial blackhole of its partisan newspaper alive. The WP has a new approach, which, if unchecked, could undermine the free press in this country. Their approach is to make newspapers something of a power broker, collecting fees to bring together high payers, administration and/or congressional figures, and editorial staff. Conflict of interest, anyone?
The marketing department put a flier out stating:
“Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate,” says the one-page flier. “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.”
The WP stated they are not going to compromise their journalistic integrity, and this plan, “as written” would do so. But they still admit planning to bring together powerful political figures, business leaders willing to shell out cash to the WP, and their editorial staff as a revenue source.
Their check and balance? They would only have employees on the “business side — not the newsroom — would have been responsible for seeking participants for this event. Reporters, he said, would not solicit sources or administration officials. Brauchli said that he did not know who was invited or who accepted.”
Nice iron wall of separation. Completely credible. So in an atmosphere where reporters are being laid off and their very livelihood depends on the WP’s financial well being, we are to believe that the meetings set up between the administration officials, business leaders and the reporters will not lead to reporters giving a rose colored reporting of those, in the Post’s own words “underwriting,” business leaders’ interests? I don’t think so. Fail to give the point of view of those literally buying their quote into the paper, and next time they won’t underwrite it.
I wonder how many more people can be convinced to drop their subscriptions to the WP upon seeing that someone else is literally buying what they will read. It is time for the liberal media to hold the mirror up to its own face. How much money will they be able to charge with an ever dwindling membership and perhaps a little bit of exposure as to who is “underwriting” their stories? We’ll be following that one closely.