Washington Post Sells White House Access to Lobbyists, and Misreports Obama Health-Care Facts

Until it was publicly-exposed, the Washington Post was selling its access to the White House to lobbyists. As Politico reported, “For $25,000 to $250,000, the Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to ‘those powerful few’ — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors. The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it’s a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its ‘health care reporting and editorial staff.’ . . .’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 … ‘”

Given its desire to maintain and sell access to the Obama White House, it’s no wonder the Post has been so sympathetic to Obama in its coverage, absolutely refusing even to cover many controversies and scandals in the Obama Administration, such as Obama’s letting racist left-wing thugs escape justice for menacing white voters in Philadelphia, or his firing an inspector general who uncovered misuse of federal funds by an Obama supporter and tried to stop him from accessing federal stimulus money, or his repeal of welfare reform and replacement of investments with welfare in the job-killing $800 billion stimulus package.

It’s scary that the Post would seek to sell access to a health-care lobbyist, given that the Post’s reporting has already shown a dim grasp of basic health-care facts and math, and a bias in favor of the health-care proposals backed by Obama. In “’Public Option’ May Be Highest Hurdle in Senate” (June 24, 2009, pg. A11), the Post misstated the cost of an Obama-backed health care plan by a factor of a thousand, claiming that its “price tag” had been “drastically reduced” down to “$1.2 billion.” In fact, the cost is at least a thousand times higher — $1.2 trillion — and it won’t even cover most uninsured Americans, covering just 16 million of the 40 million uninsured. (The Post’s incorrect figure was corrected days after the fact, after I protested the figure. But virtually no readers saw the correction, which did not appear in the print version of the story).

As I noted in the Washington Examiner on Monday, “much of the media are ‘in the tank for Obama.’ That’s why they failed to report on how his stimulus package repealed welfare-reform, and how it will shrink the economy ‘in the long run,’ according to the Congressional Budget Office. When the Obama Justice Department let thugs get away with menacing white voters in Philadelphia, despite protests from the Civil Rights Commission, the press largely failed to report it. And it failed to cover how his proposed financial rules would increase pressure on banks to make risky, low-income loans. When an Obama adviser concluded that his proposed ‘barrage of tax increases‘ could ‘kill any chance of an early and sustained recovery,’ journalists ignored it. And when Obama broke his pledge of a ‘net spending cut‘ through budget increases and $9.3 trillion in projected deficits, they ignored that, too.” (See “Media Ignore Negative Aspects of Obama Agenda,” Washington Examiner, June 29, 2009, at pg. 18).

Meanwhile, the White House press corps are behaving like puppets. They pretend to the public that White House press conferences are spontaneous, when in fact they are carefully stage-managed events in which Obama decides long in advance of the press conference who will ask him questions, and about what, to avoid difficult and probing questions. (Recently, Obama pre-arranged a question about Iran from the liberal Huffington Post). Even veteran liberal reporter Helen Thomas is appalled by this, noting that even Richard Nixon didn’t try to control the press this way.