Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 7, 2009


TPM Muckeraker - [An] undated flier. . . sent out by Atlantic Media, which publishes The Atlantic, . . . advertises the magazine's "Salon Dinners," which it describes as "private conversations among thought leaders.". . .

The Atlantic has held approximately 100 of them since 2003, according to Zachary Hooper, a spokesman for the magazine. And they're by and large initiated by the corporation that pays for them, according to Hooper. "The corporate sponsor" -- with whom the magazine generally has a longstanding business relationship -- "comes to us and says, 'We're interested in having a discussion on a certain topic.'" The magazine's business staff, said Hooper, takes things from there. . .

Hooper declined to say how much these corporations put up to sponsor the events. And just as with the Post, the Atlantic dinners are strictly off-the-record, and not open to the public. The flier describes them as:

"Private, custom, off-the-record conversations of 20-30 key influential individuals, moderated by an Atlantic editor, designed to bring a thoughtful group together for unbounded conversation on key issues of the day."

And -- again like the Post's planned dinner -- the draw for corporations is access not just to the hosting publication's reporters and editors, but to other big-name journalists, not to mention members of Congress and other Washington heavy-weights. Among the "sampling of attendees" listed on the flier are Chris Matthews, George Stephanopoulos, David Brooks, Fred Hiatt, Maureen Dowd, Andrea Mitchell, James Carville, John Kerry, John Sununu, Gary Hart, Norm Coleman, Chris Dodd, Mitt Romney, and Rahm Emanuel (listed as a congressman). . . ,

The salons aren't the only high-fallutin' corporate-sponsored events put together by The Atlantic. Last week, the magazine hosted its yearly "Aspen Ideas Festival," which brings together a similar roster of media, political and business elites, and is paid for in part by corporations. But those confabs are on the record and open to the media. Nor does there appear to be quite as close a link as with the salons between the discussion topics and the interests of the corporate sponsors.


Blogger Lars said...

The type of thinking that comes out of such salons is evident in the change in writing found in the Atlantic after it migrated from Boston to Washington D.C. Stories became increasingly about beltway personalities such as Michelle Rhee and Donald Rumsfeld instead of critical analysis of what those people were doing. It's not universal, but the trend continues.

July 7, 2009 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's got to be some venue where these parasites can get to know each other socially. If the Post makes a couple bucks out of it, why not?

July 8, 2009 1:05 PM  

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