If they expect more than that, of course, it might be because of the language in the promotional slide, which suggests the dinners may be used to “introduce CEOs of hosting organization to targeted influencers,” “build relationships with key stakeholders in priority markets by establishing a rapport,” and “test messaging and inform opinions with a cross-section of ‘elites’ from government” and other sources. In his letter, Bradley, after defending the salons, wrote that the marketing materials would be revised because they “do not all reflect the central fact of our conversations – dialogue and debate, without the advance of a particular interest.” But asked about that promotional language, Hooper said it is a fair characterization of the salons.

Correction: Upon its initial publication, this story quoted James Bennet as saying that the journalistic takeaways from the Atlantic salons were “fairly banal.” Bennet actually said that while the takeaways might now sound banal, they did not seem so at the time, and were valuable nonetheless. This point was initially clarified by means of an update appended to the bottom of this article; after further consideration, CJR decided that a full-fledged correction was in order. The line in question has been revised to reflect these changes, as has this story’s original headline, which read: “Bennet: Atlantic Salon Takeaways Were ‘Fairly Banal’”. Return to the corrected sentence.

Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.