It would be easy at first blush to blame the Washington Post for letting one of its reporters speak at a hush-hush progressive donor gathering for Democrats. But apparently the newspaper neither knew about, nor gave permission to, Janell Ross, who covers what appears to be mostly election-related stories for the Post, to attend an event where she gave a presentation on “getting the economic narrative right.”
The Washington Free Beacon got their hands on the agenda for the Democracy Alliance’s fall event, which looked to be a progressive strategy conference wherein liberal donors and activists got together to plot how to respond to the 2016 election and, presumably, gain traction in coming elections.
Ross sat on a panel to assist conference-goers on the topic of “getting the economic narrative right” in future elections, according to the agenda, which can be viewed in full here.
Ross, whose panel was sandwiched by a talk with liberal billionaire George Soros and a message by Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) on Russian interference in the 2016 election, helped attendees explore questions such as: “What do progressives stand for?”
“In this panel discussion, developed by the DA’s Inclusive Economy Fund, we pose some fundamental questions, including: What do progressives stand for? How do we grapple with the tough issues? What story are we trying to tell and how does it play out in communities across the country? How do we translate what the polls and research tell us into the compelling narratives that will build the public will to reorient our economy and combat inequality?”
The panel was framed in the agenda as a response to the 2016 election, in which Democrats were criticized for failing to understand the economic concerns in areas of the country carried by President Trump.
Ross, who told the Free Beacon she couldn’t speak to them without permission from the Post’s public relations team, apparently attended the conference without informing her superiors at the newspaper. “We’ve only now learned about her participation in this event,” a spokesperson for the Post said, adding, “The Washington Post policy discourages participation in any activity that could be perceived as partisan. [Ross] has been reminded of that.”
Ross claims her attendance at the event was related to a book she’s involved in helping create and that this initiative is independent from her work for the Post.
It remains unclear if Ross, who still covers election events for the Washington newspaper, was paid to speak at the event; although she was directed, as were all attendees, “not to share any details of the conference on social media or share them with the press.”
The full agenda of the event can be found here.