Mike Andrews
July 2, 2009

Editor’s note: “You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month,” a CIA operative admitted, talking about Operation Mockingbird. In the early 1950s, then publisher of the Washington Post, Philip Graham, a graduate of the Army Intelligence School, was groomed by the CIA to head the take-over of the media.

[efoods]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.”

With the newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said this morning that he was “appalled” by the plan and said the newsroom will not participate.

“It suggests that access to Washington Post journalists was available for purchase,” Brauchli told The Post’s media reporter, Howard Kurtz. The proposal “promises we would suspend our usual skeptical questioning because it appears to offer, in exchange for sponsorships, the good name of The Washington Post.”

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