Media Wars

WaPo Scandal Heralds Old Media Demise?

Nothing like a media scandal to get the fingers pointing. Last week Politico slapped down an ill-advised Washington Post initiative to sell $25,000 tickets to lobbyists for access to "salons" featuring Congressman, reporters, and White House officials. WaPo took their invitations back—but not before New York Times business columnist David Carr could note "you can't buy Washington Post reporters, but you can rent them." In a July 4 column, Carr says the blame lies with Katharine Weymouth, the Post's "relatively new publisher" and granddaughter of legendary Post publisher Katharine Graham. Carr writes that not only has Weymouth spit into the face of the Post's history of uncovering and combatting moneyed corruption in DC, but worse: Weymouth as "a tin ear to newsroom dynamics." Carr details how Weymouth insults and alienates her newsroom regularly, apparently unaware that "the newsroom remains a paper's biggest asset. And you cannot afford to lose them." That Politico broke the story of WaPo's ethics breach is insult to injury, says Carr: "Started by two former Post reporters, Politico has become a serious competitor... much of the remaining competitive edge for the [old] legacy media derives from a perception that they adhere to more rigorous publishing standards. Oops."