Manager, Newsweek External Relations
Late Update: Mark Block, Newsweek’s director of external relations, responds, telling TPMmuckraker that the events with API are on the record and designed to attract press coverage as news events that address timely issues.
Newsweek is honored to be at the center of a topical news discussion with a diverse, wide-ranging audience of both panelists and audience members within our required on the record format.
Block said that in addition to API, 20-30 of the magazine’s other major advertisers have been given an opportunity to co-host panels, but most advertizers don’t have a single issue focus that lends itself to an event in the way the oil lobby does.
Block added that Newsweek has hosted 5 such events with API, and said there are “very strict church and state policies that have to be followed.” He said the magazine doesn’t consult API on who else will be invited to serve on the panel, or on what questions will be asked. “In no way do they prompt the perspective [of the discussion] by saying, ‘here’s the thing that I want to be asked about,’” he said.
These policies have to exist, said Block, “otherwise it appears orchestrated. And it really is not.”
Asked whether Newsweek planned to invite a representative from an environmental group to the upcoming event, to balance Gerard’s appearance, Block said the magazine “would definitely consider that opportunity,” if there were a high-profile environmentalist who might be appropriate. But he said that because members of Congress would likely also participate, time constraints might dictate against it.