They just got into trouble because the marketing pitch was a little too truthful, offering “access to reporters, Obama Administration officials, etc. for cash, preferably in small, unmarked bills:
Update (03 July09): Perhaps published a bit too soon, since the Post is reporting that, unsurprisingly, the audience at Obama's healthcare town hall meeting were mostly plants:
“ In the stage-managed event, questions for Obama came from a live audience selected by the White House and the college, and from Internet questions chosen by the administration's new-media team. Of the seven questions the president answered, four were selected by his staff from videos submitted to the White House Web site or from those responding to a request for "tweets."
The president called randomly on three audience members. All turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration: the Service Employees International Union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee. White House officials said that was a coincidence.”
On the other hand, maybe Shear and Vargas just didn't get the memo in time.