So, how much did Big Oil pay for a seat at Newsweek's table?

Defending Newsweek's global warming panel, which was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute and featured API president Jack Gerard -- but no representative of environmental groups -- Newsweek director of external relations Mark Block insisted “These events are transparent. They're on the record. ... There's no concern of appearance of impropriety because it's an open and transparent process.” Newsweek's Howard Fineman, who moderated the panel, agreed earlier this week: “I see nothing wrong with an open, on-the-record balanced discussion like this.”

“Open”? “Transparent”? That's interesting, because when a Greenpeace staffer caught up with Gerard after the event and asked him how much API paid for his seat on the panel, Gerard refused to answer.

So: By "balanced discussion," Newsweek means “the panel doesn't include environmental groups, but does include oil lobbyists who pay us” and by “transparent,” they mean “but we won't tell you how much they pay us.”

Got it.