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Becoming the Monster « The Washington Independent

From Politico’s Mike Allen today comes the shocking tale of lobbyists and corporate insiders invited by The Washington Post to meet in intimate, off-the-record pow-wows, not only with Obama administration officials, but also with Post reporters and editors — all facilitated by the newspaper, and all for the bargain basement price of $25,000 – $250,000.

The offer — which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters — is a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival.

And it’s a turn of the times that a lobbyist is scolding The Washington Post for its ethical practices.

“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.”

For decades, The Washington Post has challenged lawmakers to explain their close financial ties with the same industries and special interests they were charged with monitoring.

It would seem the Post now has some explaining to do of its own.

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