A fascinating sociological experiment unfolds before our eyes starting this morning, as the Washington Post unveils its new “PowerPost” vertical, subtitled “Intelligence for Leaders.”

Post publisher Fred Ryan, in a memo to the Post newsroom leaked to Politico, said the new project would focus “on the subjects that matter most to the people at the center of power.”

What we can learn, therefore, is what the editors of the Washington Post, themselves of course among the powerful, think their fellow powerful people are interested in.

If I had a captive audience of powerful people, mind you, I would expose them relentlessly to the stories of the powerless — the people being squashed by their precious status quo, the people scraping by at wrong end of the playing field the powerful have tilted so steeply, the people going to schools to which the powerful would never dream of sending their children.

But of course the Washington Post’s goal here is not to bum out the powerful, or teach them humility; it is to attract them, coddle them and fulfill their needs.

It is hardly a coincidence that the person announcing the launch of PowerPost was publisher Ryan, the former Reagan administration official and co-founder of Politico whom Amazon owner Jeff Bezos put in loco parentis of his new bauble.

Nor is it a coincidence that the lead writer of PowerPost’s morning newsletter — called the “Daily 202″ —  is Politico veteran James Hohmann.

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