Alex Massie Alex Massie

The Washington Post’s Humbug: Business as Usual in DC

Perhaps because hypocrisy and mendacity are such open and prominent features of the British press, no-one is terribly surprised when newspapers live down to everyone’s expectations. Newspapers behaving badly is a dog bites man story. They do things differently in America where the Cult of Credentialism and an absurdly-inflated sense of their own importance has made most American papers nigh-on unreadable. The astonishing thing is that it took the public so long to realise this and abandon their worthy, inky morning muesli.

So, who can fail to be amused by the revelation that the Washington Post is whoring itself to the highest-bidder, promising to arrang useful access to Obama administration officials? Not me, anyway. In other words, the Post is acting as a lobbyist. Nothing wrong with that, you may say and you’d be right. Only, of course, the Post’s usual attitude to lobbying was summed up by this article, written by Robert Kaiser, as Associate Editor at the paper, in January:

Of all the grand ambitions laid out by President Obama, the nerviest might be his promise to transform American politics. What if U.S. government officials really accepted his definition of public service as “a privilege” that is “not about advantaging yourself,” your friends or their clients? Could it actually happen? Not easily. Washington is broken: Lobbyists and special interests have turned our government into a game that only they can afford to play. They write the checks, and the citizenry gets stuck with the bill. Politics is no longer a mission; it’s a business… Modern Washington takes for granted the exploitation of public service for private gain. Thousands of former government officials have passed through the well-greased revolving door to corporate offices and lobbying firms that hire them for their ability to influence the people and policies they knew about or worked on as public servants.

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