This is really no surprise, coming from David Bradley:
Atlantic Media publisher David Bradley on Monday issued a full-throated defense of the kind of off-the record, corporate-sponsored “salons” that last week ensnared the Washington Post in controversy, arguing that they are both a source of revenue “and advance a legitimate purpose for a media organization – promoting debate and discussion.”
In a highly-personal 1,500-word letter published on the Hotline, Bradley wrote that Atlantic Media has been hosting sponsored salon dinners for more than six years, and he doesn’t “believe that any one of these events had any of the ill intention or effect that some have attributed to the Washington Post concept.”
I think there is a big difference between the Atlantic doing this and Washington Post doing it. The Washington Post, love it or hate it, has a pretty storied journalistic history, from Woodward and Bernstein to Dana Priest and Barton Gellman. Whatever its editorial page’s failings are, the newsroom has a lot of credibility.
The Atlantic is run by an openly neoconservative publisher (Bradley) who literally sends ponies to writers he would like to hire. It has no journalistic credibility and it never will. So who cares what it does behind closed doors?
Don’t me wrong, I like the Atlantic. James Fallows is a national treasure (this piece may be the best piece yet written on the “planning” of the Iraq war). I like Sully’s and Coates’s blogs. All in all, the Atlantic is fairly high-quality, right-center infotainment. But it’s also a David Bradley vanity project and no one is ever going to confuse Bradley with Kay Graham or Punch Sulzberger.