I want to apologize for a planned new venture that went off track and for any cause we may have given you to doubt our independence and integrity. A flier distributed last week suggested that we were selling access to power brokers in Washington through dinners that were to take place at my home. The flier was not approved by me or newsroom editors, and it did not accurately reflect what we had in mind. But let me be clear: The flier was not the only problem. Our mistake was to suggest that we would hold and participate in an off-the-record dinner with journalists and power brokers paid for by a sponsor. We will not organize such events.My lawyer's eye fixates on one word — in that last sentence: will.
You start out with your terrible, suggestive flier. And just when my mind is screaming quit putting all the blame on the damned flier, you're all let me be clear: The flier was not the only problem.
Okay, so you will confess that you did plan to sell access to power brokers in Washington through dinners that were to take place at your home?
Then on to the crisp declarative We will not organize such events. You skipped a step!
I know you won't organize "such events" now — now that you've been publicly humiliated. You're glossing over the key thing you ought to apologize for: that you did organize a series of dinners at your home to make money giving access to Washington power brokers.
Like other media companies, The Post hosts conferences and live events that bring together journalists, government officials and other leaders for discussions of important topics. These events make news and inform their audiences. We had planned to extend this business to include smaller gatherings, a practice that has become common at other media companies.Gah! Must I sort through that? Will anyone sort through that? What are "firm parameters"? And how firm can they be if they don't work? And what are "The Post's values" — other than what The Post actually does? And how does the flier come into existence when nobody could possibly have caused it to exist? There's some abstruse theology here, and it's annoying me.
From the outset, we laid down firm parameters to ensure that these events would be consistent with The Post's values. If the events were to be sponsored by other companies, everything would be at arm's length -- sponsors would have no control over the content of the discussions, and no special access to our journalists.
If our reporters were to participate, there would be no limits on what they could ask. They would have full access to participants and be able to use any information or ideas to further their knowledge and understanding of any issues under discussion. They would not be asked to invite other participants and would serve only as moderators.
When the flier promoting our first planned event to potential sponsors was released, it overstepped all these lines. Neither I nor anyone in our news department would have approved any event such as the flier described.
We have canceled the planned dinner. While I do believe there is a legitimate way to hold such events...Which mistakes did you, specifically, make? I can't figure it out from this letter.
We all make mistakes and hope to be forgiven for them. I apologize to our readers for the mistakes I made in this case.
We remain committed to you, our readers.Well, of course. There isn't even any influence to sell if you don't have readers. There's no dilemma here at all for you.
We remain committed to the highest standards of integrity. And while we will continue to pursue new lines of business, we will never allow those new avenues to compromise our integrity.So you're still doing something — ambling down "new avenues" — but you will will will will will will will do it with integrity this time. And if you get caught again, if somebody somehow — not you — stumbles over the firm parameters on the new avenues, then we dear readers will surely hear that you will get it right in the future.