When a leaked flier last week revealed the Washington Post’s plan to organize a corporate-sponsored “salon” on health care, the paper portrayed the flier as the hastily-created product of an over-zealous business department which misrepresented the Post’s genuine vision for the event.
But now Politico — which broke the original story — has obtained a copy of a word document, sent out over two weeks ago, for the planned July 21 event. The document’s existence will intensify questions about how, as the Post has claimed, the business and news sides of the paper could have been on such different pages over the event.
It also reveals more information about what the Post had in mind — and suggests additional similarities between the paper’s vision and the approximately 100 salons that, TPMmuckraker revealed yesterday, The Atlantic has hosted since 2003.
For instance, the document says that the Post intended to hold 11 different salons a year — just slightly off the pace that The Atlantic seems to have kept up over the last six years.
And, perhaps in the Post’s partial defense, the document also makes clear that it wasn’t just health-care lobbyists, Post-ies, and politicians who would get a seat at the table. Other potential invitees are said to include “leading researchers from key think-tanks and academic institutions,” and “patient advocate group representatives.” (Though unlike the corporate interests, neither of those groups would be “underwriters,” of course.) That slightly more mixed guest list echoes The Atlantic’s stated efforts to provide a range of differing viewpoints at its own salons.
The Post is conducting an internal review to understand how the original flier went out. So one would think the paper will be taking a close look at this new document as well.
Here’s the text of the word document:
The Washington Post
Health Care Salon - July, 2009
The Washington Post is seeking two underwriters to support its inaugural Salon Dinner on the topic of Health Care Reform. One evening during the week of July 20, 2009, The Washington Post will host a Salon dinner-discussion on the topic of U.S. health care reform and funding. Washington Post Salons, which are limited to 20 participants, are underwritten by two organizations each of which may send a senior representative to participate in the discussion.
Topics Discussed Will Include:
· Who pays for health insurance?
· The government’s role in the health insurance market
· Could there ever be a single-payer system in the U.S.?
· Should health insurance be taxed?
· Should there be a payment cap for health care providers?
Hosts and Discussion Leaders:
· Katharine Weymouth, CEO, Washington Post Media; Publisher, Washington Post’
· Marcus Brauchli, Executive Editor, Washington Post
· Other Washington Post health care editorial and reporting staff
Top Stories From TPM