Thursday, July 2, 2009

Washington Post Selling Access to Lobbyists

Everyone is for sale in Washington including the press:

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it’s a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff."

The offer — which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters — is a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival.

And it's a turn of the times that a lobbyist is scolding The Washington Post for its ethical practices.

"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 …

“Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No. 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. …

Poll: Few Americans say Recovery Under Way

Hard times will be with us until we national economic strategy that doesn't involve selling out America to multi-national corporations. Outsourcing has decimated our industries and reduced the standard of living of Americans. We survive by borrowing. And all that borrowing has left us broke. President Obama has no answer for that. The Congress has bought off and do not represent the American people.

A national poll indicates that nearly half of all Americans think the economy has stabilized, but only one in eight believes that a recovery has started.

Four in 10 questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday morning think the country's still in an economic downturn.

"Although polls in recent months have shown some signs of growing optimism, that appears to have stalled," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. "In January, 50 percent said the economy was in very poor shape; that figure dropped to 37 percent in April, but now it has risen slightly, to 41 percent."

Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst, said, "The prevailing view? We're in a stall."

The poll suggests that when it comes to an economic recovery, Americans agree with President Obama.

Discussing the economy last week at the White House, Obama said, "We're still not at actual recovery yet. So I anticipate that this is going to be a difficult, difficult year."

What has to be done is to get the economy (GDP) going again. And you can't get the economy going if people are losing their jobs. President Obama should do what he promised. And that is giving businesses incentives to keep their employees working. The government should also be spending money on the crumbling infrastructure which would lead to the creation of jobs. Also, businesses should be given incentives to remain on U.S. soil.
The pace of job losses quickened in June after slowing just a month earlier, casting a shadow over the Obama administration’s attempts to stanch months of declines in the labor market.

The American economy shed 467,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent from 9.4 percent, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. Job losses were widespread among the construction, manufacturing and business and professional services sectors.

The losses were sharply higher than economists’ expectations of 365,000 lost jobs.

Economists said a decline of 322,000 jobs in May had raised expectations that the market was bottoming out as the economy struggled to right itself, but the numbers on Friday dashed some of those hopes.

The figures also raised questions about whether the Obama administration, which has already passed a $787 billion stimulus plan, needed to step in again to shore up the American worker.