Inauguration Watch: The Big Day!

Post buys access, but no one else cares

Today’s the Big Day. Celebrations have already begun today to mark the historic handing over of power from George W. Bush to…..George W. Bush. The Post’s commemorative edition today stretches to nearly 45 pages of boring-ness. In any event, Gala Washington is in full-swing. Fishbowl last night toured the Wardman Park Marriott, site of last night’s Black Tie and Boots Ball, and we have to say that as exciting as it was to watch all the grouchy women in formal dresses and cowboy hats yelling at their husbands for not knowing where their limo was parked, we were much more intrigued by the naked man dancing with an umbrella in a neighboring apartment building in the middle of Fishbowl’s dinner party last night.

Anyway, naked men or not, the media is all over this story today. The Post will continue its live team coverage on its not-a-blog-blog, including its meta coverage of the other media covering the event. ABC too has lots of coverage of the event online as well.

Post media “critic” Howard Kurtz has been blasting his paper for its $100,000 donation to the inaugural committee in his column last week, saying it was especially grievous considering the Post’s front page article on the influence peddling that goes around surrounding large donations to the committee:

Not to worry, the company has an explanation: ‘We make clear to one and all that all we want is tickets to the balls for our major corporate advertisers,’ Post Co. Vice President Patrick Butler, who is quoted in the piece, told me. ‘If we could get them on eBay, we would have done it.’ The money buys a grand total of 50 tickets. The company, which made similar donations in 1993, 1997 and 2001, passes up the other perks, such as ‘dinners with all kinds of high and mighty,’ said Butler.

Kurtz also faced a question on the subject during a live news chat on the Post website, where he said, “I think [the donation’s] unseemly and creates an appearance problem.”

A source within the Washington Post yesterday told Fishbowl that there were intense negotiations among the business staff for the arraignment of the 50 seats at the party. The big fight? Who got to sit next to the Nordstrom’s representative. Seriously.