Corporate Media: How Corporate is Corporate?

The Art of Pimping Reaches New Heights

I’ve been planning to write a piece on the role of ‘Corporate’ in the US Mainstream Media for Part IV of our ‘Dissecting MSM Series.’ Then, right before the Fourth of July holiday, this stinking scandal came out via Politico:

    “Publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive "salon" at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to "those powerful few"”

By ‘those powerful few’ they mean, and they actually list: Obama administration officials and members of Congress, and also include Post’s own hotshot reporters and editors.

So, how did Politico get a whiff of this sensational leak?

    “The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a healthcare lobbyist [Emphasis Added], 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."”

Yep, it’s that bad. They’ve gotten so shameless and awful that even lobbyists are blowing their whistles! We all knew how bad things were with our mass media, but you must admit this exceeds even our expectations.

    “With the Post newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth said in an email to the staff that "a flier went out that was prepared by the Marketing department and was never vetted by me or by the newsroom. Had it been, the flier would have been immediately killed, because it completely misrepresented what we were trying to do." “

How is this for a pathetic twisting? Come on, you’d think with all their ‘fiction’ reporters and editors and their ‘highly imaginative’ writers, they’d come up with a better excuse than this pathetically lame line!

    “Executive editor Marcus Brauchli was as adamant as Weymouth in denouncing the plan promoted in the flier. “You cannot buy access to a Washington Post journalist,” Brauchli told POLITICO. Brauchli was named on the flier as one of the salon’s "Hosts and Discussion Leaders."”

And here, this Brauchli guy gets even better:

    “Brauchli said in an interview that he understood the business side of the Post planned on holding dinners… Brauchli said that Post employees on the business side — not the newsroom — would have been responsible for seeking participants for this event.”

‘Business’ Side’??!! As if there is any other side to this long-tainted industry? As far as we know, and we’ve known all along, when it comes to our popular press there is the ‘Big Business Side’ and in our government the entrenched ‘Pro-Establishment Side’; and since both happen to be on the same side, that makes it only one side.

I love the flowery adjectives used in the following two paragraphs:

    “"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."”

    “The flier promised the dinner would be held in an intimate setting with no unseemly conflict between participants. “Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No,” it said. “The relaxed setting in the home of Katharine Weymouth assures it. What is guaranteed is a collegial evening, with Obama administration officials, Congress members, business leaders, advocacy leaders and other select minds typically on the guest list of 20 or less. …”

“Intimate & Exclusive” in ‘a relaxing setting’ of a ‘home.’ How relaxing? It doesn’t say. But since it is guaranteed to be ‘intimate, relaxing, and homey,’ I envision dimly glowing red lanterns and soft springy lounge sofas decorating this ‘reserved saloon’ at Weymouth’s nest. Seriously, it reads like an ad for one of those high-priced hookers connection events held for ‘discreet’ public figures. Don’t you agree?

‘Interact with Obama Administration & Congressional Leaders’: Well, based on the flier, the high-priced hookers who will be provided ‘intimately & exclusively’ for an annual fee of $250,000 happen to be all the president’s men & our elected officials. Please don’t take me wrong. I don’t intend this to be insulting. Not at all. After all, business is business, and prostitution happens to be the oldest of all. Now I know our government considers this old established line of business, at a lower level, street-vendor style, illegal; against our laws that is, but that’s another story for another day. For this piece, I intend to focus on the business side of this story: The Corporate Media and their intimate, exclusive, and obviously lucrative pimping for Big Business (those that ‘really’ count’), offering up Statesmen members of our legal and prestigious Red Light District.

Back to dissecting the rest of this highly enlightening expose:

    “The first "Salon" was to be called "Health-Care Reform: Better or Worse for Americans? The reform and funding debate." More were anticipated, and the flier described the opportunities for participants:

    “Offered at $25,000 per sponsor, per Salon. Maximum of two sponsors per Salon. Underwriters’ CEO or Executive Director participates in the discussion. Underwriters appreciatively acknowledged in printed invitations and at the dinner. Annual series sponsorship of 11 Salons offered at $250,000 … Hosts and Discussion Leaders ... Health-care reporting and editorial staff members of The Washington Post ... An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done. ... A Washington Post Salon ... July 21, 2009 6:30 p.m. ...”

So, since lately healthcare reform debate has been a hot issue, and since timing is everything when it comes to ‘business,’ our entrepreneurial Washington Post justifiably picks it for it’s first ‘intimate saloon’ offering.

They sent invitations to Big Business CEOs and Executive Directors; the movers, shakers, and ultimate decision makers in those issues ‘cosmetically debated’ in our congress and ‘cunningly promised’ by our presidents; you know, our ‘real Mastahs.’ Oh, before I forget, I just caught the following typo or mis-wording in the invitation’s header: ‘"Health-Care Reform: Better or Worse for Americans?”’ What they meant was better or worse ‘for your businesses.’

As Weymouth has already admitted, the flier, the invitation, was prepared by the ‘marketing’ division of The Washington Post, so I’m sure the price of $25,000 per ‘saloon’, and of course the enticing discount of $250,000 for advance purchasing, was determined wisely, professionally, and based on well-researched and surveyed analyses. Meaning: the current going rate for our representatives and president’s men offered and guaranteed on an intimate and exclusive basis in a private relaxing homey saloon is a quarter million dollars per year.

I can’t help but envisioning Madame Nancy half sitting half laying on a fluffy chaise lounge, her face half obscured by the shadows in the dim light cast from the red lanterns above, softening her famous crusty deep wrinkles. She is making circles on the rim of her exquisite crystal champagne glass, another sophisticated touch offered by Weymouth at her intimate saloon sessions. Next to her, a balding CEO dressed in a Ferré tailored yet softly crafted suit is kneeling just enough to reach her right ear, whispering intimately and exclusively, while three junior congresswomen a few steps away watch intently, as part of their training. Seated a few sofas away are Walter Pincus, a big Chunky BlackWater Man, and Senator Johnnie the Arms’ Committee Man. Neither of the men is drinking the ‘fu fu’ bubbly, instead they hold their crystal glasses filled with a Real Man’s Johnny Walker; straight up. They don’t whisper either; after all, they are not girlie men. Their topic of the night: ‘How to dodge accountability yet look great in the papers.’ There’s no disagreement, of course. All three know: It’s been done before and will be done again, and then again.

The three-way partnership is one of those rare perfect ones: Win, Win, and Win. The big corporate clients secure all they need, the members of Washington Red Light District guarantee another term or two, and the Pimping Press remains as the connecting bridge, sustaining its own survival while insuring that of the other two. As for us, the majority, the people? We’ve never mattered before and we don’t matter now.

Cartoon by Paul Jamiol

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Media always plays the money game. The same goes with Hollywood. I cite the Jeff Weigand story. Qui Bono? The Tobacco companies got a slap on the wrist (which was a tax write off). Media news and newspapers "madeoff" with the story. Hollywood made money on the film and the insurance industry made billions on Claim denials.

  2. Palo Verde says:

    Bravo! Sibel Edmonds!!
    This is superb article
    You outdid yourself
    It means a lot to me because I was not even aware of this
    I was caught up in the drama of Sarah Palin quittng her job
    I appreciate very much you calling it to my attention, plus making the effort to fully expose what it means from every angle
    You are great, and a great service to our country
    I have posted it on the news forum I am on, to share it with others
    I hope everyone reads it
    Let God bless you always Sibel, for being citizen nonpareil
    (such a wonderful fellow citizen to have!)
    Love, Palo

  3. Palo Verde says:

    How interesting that a lobbyist blew the whistle
    I find it encouraging there are some in and around government who will not sink to depths without bottom when it comes to corruption
    Good for this lobbyist who blew the whistle!
    I thank him
    Love, Palo

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully all the lobbyists start blowing the whistle on what looks like………….nothing more than one big shell game.

    And we're the ones screwed every time because they lie.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This activity is truly scandalous and totally endorses the lack of credibility the corporate media has so rightfully earned in the last decade or so. It raises all kinds of questions in my mind: Why would the Post even consider anything like what they were proposing? Is there some precedent for anything even remotely similar in newspaper or TV journalism? Who are the major stockholders and controlling interests in the Post? What business relationship does the Post have to MSNBC and Newsweek and Obama administration insiders? The Post was proposing "Off-the-record" access for a price of $250,000 and "respectable" journalists like themselves have the gall to belittle us common folk out here for our conspiracy theories.

  6. Palo Verde says:

    excellent comment!

  7. Metemneurosis says:

    Anon at 3:45 asks if there's any precedent. I can't think of former cases that are especially close to this but given what we know of the complicity of the MSM with corporate interest and both those with government I can't imagine this is the first time such things have happened. In fact, the very way they responded once it came out, specifically the wording of their original responses, suggests that this was fairly standard. What they appear to have been most upset about originally was merely the wording of the flier. Or at least they wanted us to think it was really just that the wording made it sound worse than it was.

    Anyway, great piece Sibel, as usual.

    OT I just came upon this quote.

    "Look, Israel can determine for itself — it's a sovereign nation — what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," Biden replied. He added that this was the case, "whether we agree or not" with the Israeli view.
    Biden was then asked more pointedly whether the U.S. would stand in the way if the Israelis, viewing the prospect of an Iranian nuclear bomb as a threat to the existence of the Jewish state, decided to launch a military attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.
    "Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do," he said.

    Couple that with this:

    The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

    Of course this could just be a warning, for now anyway. Biden does go on to say they are still open to talks and something about Israel hinted they'd give Iran to till the end of the year.

    But, on the other hand Denis Ross, at the State Dept., has said from the beginning that the purpose of negotiating with Iran was just to be able say we tried if and when it came to military strikes.

  8. Deep Politics Forum says:

    His Masters Voice.

    "Yep, it’s that bad. They’ve gotten so shameless and awful that even lobbyists are blowing their whistles!" LOL!

  9. Hannah K. O'Luthon says:

    Thanks for another great post, and thanks to Anon at 3.45 for a pointed comment.
    Apparently the categories "lobbyist" and "journalist" have now coalesced into a new
    profession. Perhaps, is it, rather, the world's oldest?

  10. Anonymous says:

    With regard the Israeli overflight thing mentioned .debkafile reported at the time of the Georgia/sth Ossetia fiasco, that there were over 1000 Israeli 'military advisors' working out of Georgia [with US special forces] during the attack against Russia., and that Israel had negotiated the use of two air bases up there. So they don't need overflight permission. They just head south and do what they're so good at. Bombing people.

  11. Thanks for writing about this very disturbing scandal.

    Apparently, the Post is not the only one charging for access. By amazing coincidence, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal have plans underway to charge for access, too. [from Politico]

    As for the lobbyist, I suspect he was outraged, not over the conflict of interest, but because the price of access had gone up.

  12. Sibel Edmonds says:

    LLewis: And thank you for being the first one to notify me of this scandal;-) "but because the price of access had gone up." My thoughts exactly! I am sure this is not the first or only case-business as usual; this one happened to be leaked, that's all.

    Hannah: Agreed.

    Metemneurosis: "but given what we know of the complicity of the MSM with corporate interest and both those with government I can't imagine this is the first time such things have happened." I concur. Biden: The same usual 'hypocrisy ridden foreign policy': we selectively treat nations as sovereign, don't we?

  13. Kingfisher says:

    I would not take DebkaFile too seriously. Israeli advisors were in Georgia but 1000 sounds very high, maybe contractors though. It has been reported elsewhere that Israel had negotiated use of Georgian airbases; but launching all their air strikes from Georgia would require massive pre-positioning which would tip their hand to Iran.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sibel is right on bullseye! Unfortunately there are many more bullseye's to choose and from many different angles.
    Right when Iran's chaotic situation is boiling, in comes the crisis in Honduras! Does anyone smell a new Iran Contra twist lurking behind the curtains? Is the ol BCCI gang at it again? Where is MSM when you need them to creep down Halliburton's dirty drawers? That's a scary thought, no one wants to go there! Is the Honduras thing just a smokescreen for Cheney's next scheme?
    Cheney and the others are scheming alright! I can almost see the blood vessels cooking on his forehead with abstinence for another terrorist attack. If ya think about it, Cheney actually acts like a crack addict in search for his next terrorism fix. They are definitely rallying Israel to put the big boot up Iran's hiny but they need a big terrorist fix to rally public support everywhere. So they think!

    To most of the corporate media fluzies and brown nosers it's all about sweetening the "milk and honey" before it goes bad. MSM is just waiting to pick up the carcasses of explosive events like vultures searching for fresh meat. MSM could care less about the actual truth before or after as long as they can sweaten a story.
    The Obama administration is caught in the middle of the worst of circumstances and forced to tip toe through the minefeild of tulips. Too many people depend on his hope to restore "democracy."

    Where is real democracy? Harsh reality would say democracy has been driven into an artificial name especially within the last eight years. During my life time the idea of democracy has had no balance jumping from hard left to hard right, administration after administration. Our foreign policies of intervention, whether it be imperialism or democratization, has failed to acheive its purpose due to the imbalances of our policies. What seems to be successes of democracy is being replaced by behind the curtains corruption with MSM blowing smoke screens.
    Wistleblowers come out and throw the passionate die hard truth like a hard ball. MSM takes it and says "no fare it's too hard! We need to play fare! Let's play beachball!"

    Everyone of those who say they stand for democracy but turn their heads against whistleblowers are superficially playing the tune of democracy which no longer defines its value of the idea.
    We are unfortunately living in a two face generation that says one thing but does the other. Those who have true faces, unfortunately faces the corner of isolation because most people really can't handle the hard truth.

    Best regards,

    American in Norway

  15. Anonymous says:

    The link I submit is a young ladies website circa 2004, from Kiev regarding an accident. I hope this is what we do not want our children to go through, intentionally or otherwise. As a former Fire Chief and a Grandfather, please look at this. Thank you.

  16. Kingfisher says:

    FYI: Uighurs rioting in Xinjiang last weekend.

  17. Kingfisher says:

    @Sibel, con't
    You should do a blog about the Uighurs, btw.

  18. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Kingfisher: That's a loaded area; has been (in a quiet way) for a while. As in Chechnya our fingerprint is all over it…I think you know what I'm talking about here;-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    As usual the media is a loaded gun running on empty….

    Now what would be a real story, is if all of the alternative media including your site started doing a giant expose on how the Federal Reserve Banking Complex runs and what it does regarding it's payoff to every head of media and industry…..

    I assure you, more than half of America would tune in…and become greatly informed as to the corporate media's "true" nature and agenda….

    Now THAT would be perfect…..Doing it everywhere in fact. We got the force of arms…

    Expose the corporate sham "banking complex" industrial media…

  20. Ishmael says:

    Huffpo just had an article about Rep. Sen. Johnny Isakson's little "secret" lobbying party today. My comment there, which is equally apropos here:

    I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED to discover there is GAMBLING going on in this establishment!

    Here are your winnings Capt. Reynaux.

    Why is this a surprise? We just had a story this weekend of similar happenings at a "private" Washington Post soiree. This is merely another illustration of the corruptive nature of money and electoral politics that transcends party and philosophical lines. I'm surprised the guy from Crib Malt Liquor wasn't there. This just shows me, once again, that the only REAL solution for reform is to abolish ALL elective offices in favor of random computer selection of offices from IRS tax rolls. At least then, we would have some semblance of REAL REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. As long as we keep electing the same political class, we will get the same results. Morgan Stanley uber alles.

  21. Metemneurosis says:

    I just thought it might be nice to give people an idea of what it might look like if we had intelligent news anchors with spines on television.

    on this third one fast forward to about 1:36 for the best part.


  22. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Ishmael: "As long as we keep electing the same political class, we will get the same results." Sums it up perfectly!

    Metemneurosis: I'll go over the links this evening.

  23. eric zaetsch says:

    For what it's worth, this link:

    I have used a coffee grinder without reading "the instructions" but the propane powered gas grill, I read the booklet there to be safe.

    I suppose you read to be safe when you feel you should; it's a judgment call, some are more cautious that way than others.

    And baseball batters, they always want to think a lot before a game, what's he going to be pitching me, if I get ahead or behind in the count, and what if they bring in a left hander – it's basic stuff.

    You learn that in the minor leagues.

    Here, possibly a credible explanation, yes/no, this link:

  24. RotteninDenmark says:

    It's a revolving door enterprise INC.…….

    And who benefits is the corrupt Federal Reserve, the corrupt lawmakers they pay off, and corrupt cops/criminals who are all part of the Federal Reserve such as George HW Bush who is an admitted Zionist…

    Anybody who learns the real information about this secretive institution should be up in arms at the fact the media has seemingly always ignored it.

    There is something very wrong with this picture…..everyone should have been exposing this beast & then perhaps we should get up & march on this beast and be done with it!

  25. Edit_Mommies says:

    This money and politic is enticing people to be responsible for what they already should be responsible for. Irresponsibly this volley of extremes becomes the status quo. The "Quo" as they have it is a unfounded flailing extremity similar to the our technology.

  26. Sibel Edmonds says:

    I am starting my new series; first post should be up later this morning.
    Kingfisher: Do you have a site?blog?

    Eric: Read the Huffington piece; interesting perspective.

    RotteninDenmark: "It's a revolving door enterprise INC…….." You bet. Just finished reading the latest related to Murtha. Infestation all around: Representatives, dime-a-dozen generals, the press…"perhaps we should get up & march on this beast and be done with it!" I'd take the 'perhaps' part out;-)

    Edit_Mommies: Welcome.

  27. Sibel, Thanks for all the great info. Now that Moon of Alabama has gone away it is hard to find something that is not propaganda from the right.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Seems a waste of time to keep saying Corporate media is a dangerous cult.

    But what the hey… ONE MORE TIME..

    check it yourselves.

  29. Bill Moyers covered this this week. I didn't see it on Politico, but on your site. 🙂

  30. Of course there's this charmer from David Brooks, whose nincompoop natterings on NPR, PBS and at the NYT were instrumental in building the "pre-emptive" (illegal) assault on Iraq:

    Looks like he's using Boehner's rub on bronze.

  31. yuvbinduped says:

    From the beginning of this country's government our founders warned about media control. Here's what Thoma Jefferon had to say:

    "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."-Thomas Jefferson

    Here is Bankster and Tyrant David Rockefeller:

    "We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time
    Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended
    our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost
    forty years."

    "It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world
    if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years.
    But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a
    world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite
    and world bankers is surely preferable to the national
    auto-determination practiced in past centuries."
    Who's we?

    and don't forget this treasonous beauty:

    "For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as "internationalists" and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." -David Rockefeller

    That should sum it all up for you.

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