The Washington Post has canceled plans to host a series of “salons” that would have mixed Obama Administration officials and Post reporters with reps from companies and nonprofits paying as much as $250,000 to attend.
Politico reported the plans this morning after obtaining a flier inviting sponsorships.
Over at Media Memo, Peter Kafka asks important question. Why?
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that the Post has been at the nexus of power, money and influence — in fact, Weymouth’s grandmother, Katharine Graham, was famous for hosting gatherings much like these at her house. And publications of all stripes — including this one, as well as Dow Jones, which owns this site — frequently charge fees to attend networking events where their editorial staff participates.
We agree with Peter’s take. These salons merely reflect the power structure that already exists in Washington. Most of the people in the room probably already know one another. The idea that reporters can actually avoid these types of encounters is laughable. For a media company to set up a paid event and request editorial staff to attend is nothing new or novel.
Peter calls it: “Any tempest you see about this today is going to look quaint in a couple of years.”
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