Wash Post Forgets to Mention that Writer Is Obama Operative

Ron Brynaert has a story over at his The Raw Story blog that reveals yet another denizen of the Old Media that is trying to be both a “journalist” and an official operative of Barack Obama’s White House. She is Patricia McGinnis, an unpaid advisor at the White House and also one of the contributors to the Post’s “On Leadership” blog.

Once again we see the Old Media working hand-in-hand with the Obama administration and putting the lie to the idea of the “independent journalist” in traditional media outlets, this time with the Washington Post. Even worse than this collusion, though, is the fact that the Washington Post somehow forgot to mention that its writer is working for both the White House and the Old Media at the same time.

Brynaert looked over the 2010 West Wing payroll and found that Washington Post writer and blogger Patricia McGinnis was an unpaid advisor on leadership programs for presidential appointees. She is also noted as an unpaid advisor on the 2009 White House payroll records.

While the position is unpaid, her work for Obama certainly would seem to be a pertinent fact that readers might want to know in order to assess the veracity of her work in the pages of the newspaper. Mysteriously, though, her work with Obama is not mentioned in her official bio on the Washington Post’s website. Her short bio mentions her position at Georgetown University but does not mention her work for the White House.

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Former President and CEO of The Council for Excellence in Government, Patricia McGinnis teaches leadership and management at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.

This doesn’t seem to be a lone incident for the Post. The Washington Post has had several problems with its ethics over the last few years. Back in July of 2009, for instance, the Post got in a flap over publisher Katherine Weymouth’s plans to sell lobbyists, Obama officials, and activists special access to the Post’s writers. Just last month the Post’s supposed conservative blogger, Dave Weigel, had to quit when it was revealed his personal politics were extremely leftist when he had presented himself as a conservative to both the readers and the editorial board of the paper.

As to McGinnis, while it is true that she is an unpaid advisor to President Barack Obama, it is also true that she has written fawningly of Obama, his administration, and policies. In January, for instance, McGinnis said that she gave Obama “high marks” for his policy choices. In April of 2009 she approvingly noted, “President Obama reached out beyond the official meetings with world leaders to build trust and good will…” And in March she wrote that Obama had a, “more collaborative, nuanced leadership style than his democratic opponent Hillary Clinton or his predecessor, George W. Bush.”

Yet, with all this fawning over The One, the Washington Post somehow didn’t think that readers needed to know that writer McGinnis is an Obama operative. It is curious that the Post didn’t imagine that readers might need to know that they are reading the words of a White House advisor when they are seeing such adulation for President Obama.

Until today that is — after the Raw Story broke the news of the latest double-agent lurking at the Post, the company issued this statement:

‘On Leadership’ panelists are not employees of The Post, nor are they paid by The Post. They are leadership experts from government, military, corporate and educational fields. Patricia’s bio was last updated before she took on the advisory role to the White House, but it was an oversight on our part not to have updated it. We will be updating it today.

In addition, we will be reaching out to all of our panelists to request they update their bios and disclose any potential conflicts.

So, once again, we see a denizen of the Old Media working as an Obama flak in both the governmental sphere and media. Yet they insist that we take them as independent observers of our political system.

Move along. Nothing to see here.

(Originally posted at BigJournalism.com)

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