Ombudsman to weigh in on WaPo 'salon' controversy

The contretemps over the Washington Post's recent sordid attempt to prostitute itself and its reporters isn't over. According to Editor and Publisher, WaPo ombudsman Andy Alexander plans an unusually long column in Sunday's edition:

"He plans to take on the recent debacle over plans to charge guests to attend so-called 'salons' with Post journalists and D.C. officials. 

"After the plan was exposed last week, the Post went into damage-control mode, with Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli maintaining the newsroom was never part of the plan and Publisher Katharine Weymouth apologizing to readers last Sunday in print... Alexander declined to elaborate on what his opinion in the Sunday piece will be. 

"But if his two blog items are any indication, expect a blast at his employers."

E&P notes that, while Alexander has not weighed in on the subject in the actual WaPo dead-tree edition, he has, on his blog, called the episode a public relations disaster, noting,

"The Post often decries those who charge for access to public officials. This raised the specter of a money-losing newspaper doing the same thing -- and charging for access to its own reporters and editors as well."

While it has been fascinating to watch this public train-wreck involving a media institution that, despite frequent evidence to the contrary, still suffers from a conceit that it has a "reputation for ethical purity," it is telling that the whole affair came to light, not because of WaPo disclosures, but because its plans were outed by Politico  and picked up elsewhere. One can't help wondering if the Post and its "ethical purity" wouldn't otherwise be happily collecting up to $250,000 from lobbyists and others for access to Obama administration officials and WaPo executives and reporters.