MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The Washington Post, as It Shames Others, Continues to Pay and Publish Undisclosed Saudi Lobbyists and Other Regime Propagandists

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2019

https://theintercept.com/2018/10/15/the-washington-post-as-it-shames-others-continues-to-pay-and-publish-undisclosed-saudi-lobbyists-and-other-regime-propagandists/

October 15 2018,

In the wake of the disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, some of the most fervent and righteous voices demanding that others sever their ties with the Saudi regime have, understandably, come from his colleagues at that paper. “Why do you work for a murderer?,” asked the Post’s long-time Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, addressing unnamed hypothetical Washington luminaries who continue to take money to do work for the despots in Riyadh, particularly Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, or “MbS” as he has been affectionately known in the western press.

Hiatt urged these hypothetical figures to engage in serious self-reflection: “Can I possibly work for such a regime, and still look at myself in the mirror each morning?” That, said Hiatt, “is the question that we, as a nation, must ask ourselves now.”

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Fred Hiatt’s column in the Washington Post.

 

But to find those for whom this question is directly relevant, Hiatt need not invoke his imagination or resort to hypotheticals. He can instead look to a place far more concrete and proximate: his own staff. Because it is there – on the roster of the Washington Post’s own columnists and Contributing Writers – that one can find, still, those who maintain among the closest links to the Saudi regime and have the longest and most shameful history of propagandizing on their behalf.

Carter Eskew is a former top-level adviser to Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign and a Founder and Managing Director of Glover Park Group which, according to the Post’s own reporting, is one of the Saudi regime’s largest lobbyists. Glover Park, says the Post, has “remained silent amid growing public outrage over reports that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate.” Indeed, as the New York Times reported this week, Eskew’s firm, “which was started by former Clinton administration officials,” is the second-most active lobbying firm for the Saudi regime, “being paid $150,000 a month.”

In addition to his work as a Managing Director in one of the Saudi regime’s most devoted lobbying firms, Eskew is also a Contributing Opinion Writer at the Washington Post. His last column was published just three days ago, on October 12 – ten days after Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey, and the same day that Eskew’s editor, Hiatt, published his righteous column demanding to know how anyone with a conscience could maintain ties to the Saudi regime (raising a separate but equally important ethical quandary, Eskew’s last Post column was an attack on “Medicare for All,” even though Glover Park clients include corporations with direct financial interests in that debate, none of which was disclosed by the Post)…

Worse still, according to a noble campaign promoted by Karen Attiah, the Post’s Global Opinion Editor and friend of Khashoggi – a campaign designed to keep track of and shame those who still intend to participate in the Saudi Crown Prince’s “Davos in the Desert” event – Eskew, along with fellow Glover Park Director Mile Feldman, are still scheduled to speak at that event. Given all the moral decrees and shaming campaigns the Post has issued over the past ten days, how can they possibly justify their ongoing relationship with Eskew as his firm lobbies for the Saudi regime and he attends the regime’s P.R.-building event?

That question is even more compelling when it comes to Ed Rogers, the long-time GOP operative who is currently an Opinion Writer for the Washington Post. In addition to his work for Hiatt on the Post’s Op-Ed page, Rogers himself receives substantial financial rewards for his work as an agent of the Saudi regime. Just two months ago, the lobbying firm of which he’s the Chairman, BGR Group (headed by former RNC Chairman and GOP Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour), signed a new contract that includes “assist[ing] the Saudis in communicating priority issues regarding US-Saudi relations to American audiences including the media and policy communities.”

According to the firm’s own press release, “BGR chairman Ed Rogers” – also an Opinion Writer for the Washington Post – “handles the Saudi work.” Like Eskew, Rogers’ last column for the Post was on October 12: just two days ago, the same day Hiatt published his moralizing column demanding to know how anyone with a conscience and a soul could maintain financial ties to the Saudi regime…

 

But the Washington Post’s particular righteous fury as expressed in words, while understandable in one sense, is very difficult to reconcile with their actual actions, including their ongoing relationship with numerous individuals who either work directly for the Saudi regime, financially benefit from propaganda and lobbying work performed on their behalf, or have a history of taking the lead in doing P.R. work for Saudi tyrants under the guise of journalism. Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt, who oversees all of this as he tries to shame others for maintaining relationships with the Saudis, failed to respond to any of the Intercept’s inquiries regarding these multiple ethical and behavioral contradictions.

Updated: October 16, 2018, 7:37 a.m. EDT
On Monday night, Hiatt emailed the Intercept and told us that “both lobbying firms” in which Washington Post writers are partners (Glover Park and BGR) “have ended their contracts with Saudi Arabia.” He pointed to this Washington Post story, published late Monday afternoon, reporting that “The Glover Park Group notified the Saudi Embassy in Washington that is was canceling its two-year-old contract to represent the kingdom, according to a person with knowledge of the move” and “separately, the GOP-founded lobbying powerhouse BGR Group, which had an $80,000-a-month contract with the Saudi government, announced it was also dropping the kingdom as a client.” The announcements of these contract cancellations came after The Intercept published this story. Hiatt did not respond to any of the other inquiries posed to him.

Be seeing you

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