Here’s why I find the Washington Post cash-for-access story so disturbing. As even Helen Thomas is now realizing, this administration favors certain journalists with extra access. In that respect, it is mimicking the Blair government in the U.K., which was famous not just for giving extra access to favorable journalists, but denying it to critical journalists. Putting the two pieces together, it might not be long before access becomes a commodity, and writing favorably about the administration not only gets extra access, but becomes profitable. That’s why I am also very glad to see the excellent Howard Kurtz and via him, the Post’s executive editor, recognize that possibility and how appalling it would be.
I fear, however, that other journalists might not be so scrupulous. As to the scruples of the administration, I have no comment.