Don’t Look Good

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July 2, 2009 7:33 a.m.

We’re just digging into this story the Politico broke this morning about the Post offering lobbyists access for cash payments. But I’d say the Post has a real problem on its hands.

Here’s the lede

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post has offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to “those powerful few”: Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and — at first — even the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff.”

And Dave Weigel has an email Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli just sent out to the editorial staff saying reporters now will not participate.

It’s worth noting the obvious competitive backstory behind the story. Politico is lead on the editorial side by a team of ex-Posties and it has targeted a big part of the paper’s business. But facts are facts. And Politico seems to have gotten some that the Post really needs to explain.

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