September 13, 2007

Media Runs with Times Ad Rate Story

I'm tickled that Charles Hurt of the New York Post picked up and ran with the ball on this story, which now seems to have generated a surprising (to me) degree of interest. In addition to Hurt's article, Brent Bozell got to talk about it on Fox News Live, and I caught the tail-end of it being discussed on Rush Limbaugh's radio show briefly yesterday.

ABC's Jake Tapper, who first reported what paid for their ad, is on the story again today and reveals that a conservative organization who ran a full page ad the next day paid "significantly more."


It appears that the NY Times may take a much bigger hit to their the credibilty and the bottom line than they ever anticipated as a result.

I doubt stockholders will be pleased.

(h/t Allah at Hot Air, who kindly remembers where this conflagration over the deep discount started.)

Update: Thanks.

Update: This is growing far more than I could have ever expected. Fred! and Rudy pile on. and Hot Air has the audio and video. Uncle Jimbo has filed a complaint with the FEC, and though I won't pretend to have the first clue on whether or not this has any "bite," a commenter over at Ace's place discovers something that looks like where they could have potentially run afoul of the law.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 13, 2007 11:24 AM

You go, boy! You have become web-death, destroyer of community-based realities.

Posted by: CK MacLeod at September 13, 2007 02:15 PM

More than a blog to their credibility. It was an illegal campaign donation. Details here.

Posted by: km at September 13, 2007 05:41 PM

Wouldn't the discount given MoveOn be considered and "in kind" contribution to a PAC and is therefore reportable?

Inquiring minds would like to know!

Posted by: Ron O at September 13, 2007 06:14 PM

Wow, km. thanks for the link. This may get very interesting.

Congrats CY!

Posted by: iconoclast at September 13, 2007 06:25 PM

While the discount might be ironic and irritating, I think it's much worse bringing the force of law against private business practices. The NYT should take a hit on their credibility, and should be hammered by advertisers who pay more in negotiations, but I hate that this has anything to do with the law at all, and that anyone is talking about 'equal time'.

I don't know how much this has to do with McCain-Feingold but every time something like this comes up I remember why I wouldn't cast a vote for John McCain if a pistol were held to my temple.

Posted by: Morgan at September 13, 2007 06:33 PM

Meanwhile, in his secret underground lair beneath the White House, Karl Rove lights a smuggled Montecristo No. 4, draws heavily, then rubs his hands together as he cackles with fiendish glee.....

"Bwahahahahahaha! MoveOn thought I had moved on, but what fools these mortals be! Those glassy-eyed barking twerps will never know they got their discount from one of my super-secret undercover agents planted in the Times. What a set-up! What a pay-off! I love it when a plan comes together!"

Posted by: MarkJ at September 13, 2007 06:50 PM

If they slime out on everything else, at least you punched them in the pocket book... Whatever else happens, they won't be able to charge any other political outfit rate card for the next year or so... Thats gonna hurt.

Posted by: Thomass at September 13, 2007 06:59 PM


You know that I agree with you in principle, but as a law abiding citizen I just cannot see why I should allow the NY Times to flout the law when it applies to them, do you? It hurts me to do it, but the law is the law and if we let the Times get away with it, where would we be? Selective enforcement of the law leads to injustice and anarchy. That way madness lies.


Posted by: Moneyrunner at September 13, 2007 07:29 PM

Senator John McCain also left a message for democratic presidential candidates, via Instapundit and The Corner:

"If you're not tough enough to repudiate a scurrilous, outrageous attack such as that, then I don't know how you're tough enough to be President of the United States."

Posted by: bnelson44 at September 13, 2007 07:45 PM

"Giuliani also suggested that MoveOn received a discount from The New York Times. The organization did not; they received the rate of $64,575 that the newspaper charges for a special advocacy, full-page, black and white, standby ad.",,-6919844,00.html

It's cool, though. As long as you claim Jamil Hussein was the AP's source, you'll never have to admit you're wrong.

Posted by: Oops! at September 13, 2007 09:43 PM

I'm Putz Sulzberger. My company's stock is tanking, my newspaper's circulation is plummeting, and my attempts to make money on the internet have been Edsel-like in their ineptitude. What to do? No problem...I'll punish my capitalist stockholders by selling full-page ads at near-cost to lefty causes. Hey, it's a teachable moment, and that oughta teach 'em!

Posted by: Clioman at September 13, 2007 09:50 PM

Oops!, do me a favor: explain to everyone how a "standby" ad can be known in advance.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 13, 2007 09:53 PM

I'm not surpried the NY Post is taking an interest in this; anything to trash the competition. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But I think the NYT considers itself immune and vaccinated against this sort of complaining; it's in good with the left-Dhimmies and Manhattanites.

Posted by: Steve White at September 13, 2007 10:02 PM

Well, gosh, CY. I don't know, but I'd guess that perhaps the NYT isn't in the business of selling ad space up until the minute before the paper prints? (Especially since the size of a newspaper on any given day is dependent on the amount of ad inches in that newspaper.)And that perhaps the NYT would have known even days in advance when the MoveOn ad would run?

By the way, I know it hurts K. Lo to do research, but there's another article that explains exactly what standby means. It says "At that rate, an advertiser can request that an ad run on a specific date, but cannot be guaranteed such placement."

And I'd also guess that -- especially since the invention of this crazy new thing I've been hearing so much about, I think it's called the Intertubes -- it takes a matter of minutes to change a single word in an advertisement: a call to whoever designed the ad saying, "Hey, can you go into inDesign, change a single word for me and then e-mail or FTP it back to me?"

Or, hey, here's an idea: maybe MoveOn made SEVERAL VERSIONS of the ad and sent them to the NYT to run the relevant one? You know, like one that said "yesterday," one that said "today," and maybe, if they were feeling ambitious, even one that said "tomorrow."

Of course, I don't know any of this for sure, but then again, neither does K. Lo. And you know, it wouldn't kill you to pick up a phone, call the NYT and MoveOn and find out, and until then, refrain from speculating. Just a suggestion.

Posted by: Oops! at September 13, 2007 10:04 PM

What would be really interesting to know is who, exactly, approved the special rate. Certainly it wasn't a sales rep, and I doubt that the director of advertising could have authorized it.

Joe Jackson
Cairo, IL

Posted by: Joe Jackson at September 13, 2007 10:22 PM

Hey, CY... hope ya don't mind me plugging my own little corner of the blogosphere, but I just ran across a relatively new development in this story.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 13, 2007 10:43 PM

Oops!, you certainly seem to know a lot about the the NY Times operates, which really got my interest. Do you perhaps work for the newspaper in some regard?

I only ask because you are writing from midtown Manhattan.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 13, 2007 10:45 PM

Jesus, you don't stop just flinging things against the wall to see what'll stick, do you?

I'm actually writing from below 14th Street. And I don't work for the Times. And, um, people do live in midtown, you know. Also, at midnight eastern, you're assuming I'm still at the office? Sure are a lot of sharks you'd have to jump to reach that "HE WORKS FOR THE TIMES!!!!" conclusion.

I have, however, worked for a newspaper, and ad policies don't differ that much. Also, I have the common sense to understand concepts like changing a single word and producing, say, three different versions of an ad in case it runs on a day other than the one you'd hoped for. I wouldn't have thought you'd have needed to work at a newspaper to come up with that idea, but hey -- at least you've proved me wrong about something tonight.

Posted by: Oops! at September 13, 2007 11:07 PM

By the way, you can see my location from my IP, but not that my ISP is clearly a residential one? Interesting.

Posted by: Oops! at September 13, 2007 11:13 PM

I don't think I jumped any sharks, Oops!; you have at least some knowledge of newspapers, are a Times/ apologist, and are located in Manhattan, so it was worth asking the question. The sad fact of the matter is that at least one journalist and blogger from your side have been caught sock-puppeting on blogs in recent memory. With so many people taking their wireless laptops from home to work and back again, the ISP of the moment matters little.

We'll see how this shakes out over coming days, I'm sure.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 13, 2007 11:30 PM

Useful words, CY: "I'm sorry. I jumped to conclusions, and I was wrong."

You can practice on me first if you want.

Posted by: Oops! at September 14, 2007 12:01 AM

Funny, Oops!, I didn't see CY get to ANY conclusion, by jumping, crawling, or brachiating. I saw him cite several facts and produce a theory that explained them, and ask you to confirm or deny them. Nothing "conclusive" about any of it.

One has to wonder, though, why you are so defensive about the possibility that you do work for the NYT...

Nah. It really isn't that mysterious, now that I think about it. I wouldn't want to admit I worked for the New York Times, either. It's the "crabs" of resumes, these days.


Posted by: Jay Tea at September 14, 2007 01:40 AM

I'd like to see the Times give MoveOn even bigger discounts.

The Republicans can use the help.

Posted by: M. Simon at September 14, 2007 06:10 AM

--Useful words, CY: "I'm sorry. I jumped to conclusions, and I was wrong.--

Useful indeed, Oops! When do you plan to use them?

Posted by: Mark L at September 14, 2007 06:21 AM

Well, Mark, considering that CY and others had asserted that MoveOn was given a discount, which they weren't, and that Fleischer's group was charged more (they were offered the same rate, they admit in today's Times -- but they turned it down) and considering that CY and K. Lo then turned to flailing around trying to pretend that they didn't understand how simple it would be to change the word "today" to "yesterday" and vice versa, on this subject, I don't believe it'll be any time soon.

The Kool-Aid must be remarkably tasty, because the fact that you people are still hanging on to this is amazing.

Posted by: Oops! at September 14, 2007 08:47 AM

Oops, one must also consider the level of service they got for their $65,000.

As I pointed out, Freedom's Watch was told that they could not pick the date or placement of an ad at the $65,000 rate. Yet MoveOn either was the recipient of an incredible coincidence, having a full-page spot "just happen" to open up on the first day of General Petraeus' testimony, or they got more for their $65,000 than other advertisers or potential advertisers got. I, myself, have shown evidence that an advertiser was not offered that level of service for the same price.

It's not just about the price, Oops. It's also what they received for the price. And MoveOn sure appears to have gotten a lot more for their $65,000 than Freedom's Watch was offered.

Your name, however, appears to have been well-chosen. You're making Oops!-es all over the place.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 14, 2007 09:14 AM
Well, Mark, considering that CY and others had asserted that MoveOn was given a discount, which they weren't, and that Fleischer's group was charged more (they were offered the same rate, they admit in today's Times -- but they turned it down) and considering that CY and K.

So, Shannon McCaffery speaks the gospel now? She doesn't appear to have confirmed any of this, or if she has she's a really crappy writer for not mentioning it. Looks like you got a little "Oops!" on yourself, my friend. Are you going to hang your hat on her statement that "The organization did not..." as your source, or would you rather try that nifty phrase you offered above?

Posted by: Pablo at September 14, 2007 09:16 AM


It's rather curious that lately there have been a number of liberals across most conservative blogs that are taking the position that asking a question, based on available information, is significantly akin to coming to a conclusion.

*shrug* or maybe it's the same liberal. Who knows really and, more to the point, who cares.

Posted by: memomachine at September 14, 2007 09:51 AM


This is what I love about blogs. Some weird or nonsensical piece of silliness crops up and all of a sudden ... a new learning opportunity to find out something both interesting and mostly useless.

BlackFive: NY Times- Standby rate for fellow travelers

Evidently the rate given to MoveOn was a "standby" rate which means that not only can they not specify where the ad goes but also anybody else, *anyone* else, can override the placement of MoveOn's ad by simply offering to pay more.

I.e. a standby advertisement block goes to the highest bidder.

It's this last point that I'm curious about. Hey "Oops!". Why didn't you include that last bit? Since you're so knowledgeable and such.

Frankly I find it hardly credible that they couldn't find another buyer for such a large and well placed spot.

Posted by: memomachine at September 14, 2007 10:00 AM

Still attacking the messenger, ignoring and thusly validating the message. I've yet to see a argument refuting the pretty solid ad from Moveon.

Posted by: Frederick at September 14, 2007 12:21 PM

"I've yet to see a argument refuting the pretty solid ad from Moveon."

Right - calling a serving General a traitor is REAL "solid."

Here's a hint as to the underlying arguments - you won't be as likely to find refutations at Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, Think Progress, or wherever else you go to lap up your anti-war pablum.

Over the course of two days of questioning, and weeks of "my data vs. your data," I have yet to see a single leftwing or anti-war observer move beyond the most superficial and skewed renderings of, e.g., the GAO report or the Jones report, or even come close to engaging the responses from Petraeus, Crocker, or surge supporters.

Not one Senator or Representative who invoked the GAO report in re nationwide war casualties, for instance, addressed Petraeus' repeated response that it left out the last and most important 5 weeks of the 12-week period during which the surge was in effect. Instead, typically, we saw the same lame talking point recycled over and over again, whether it was from Boxer, from Clinton, from Donner or Blitzen. Not one Senator, Representative, or leftwing reindeer chose to engage the arguments regarding the benchmarks and their relevance.

As for Petraeus himself and his background, we see repeated, obviously one-sided attacks on his background and his career from the usual suspects. He oversaw training for around a year, and then was withdrawn. During the same period under which most of Iraq unraveled, so, too, did most of his work. No fair-minded observer has held him or his tenure responsible. The Democrats themselves, when joining in his 81-0 Senate confirmation vote, already rendered their overall judgment on him and his career. It really should go without staying, Anyone interested in further details, rather than pointless slams, will discover a much larger, and much more impressive story than you'll find in MoveOn's summary of the Democrat/left attacks.

Posted by: CK MacLeod at September 14, 2007 01:06 PM

A person could get whiplash trying to follow all the various VERSIONS of "truth" involved in this debacle. The bottom line is that is a group that consists of anti-American hatemongers who have bought and paid for 99% of the Democratic Party and thus, regardless of who is getting the Senatorial or even Presidential paycheck, it's probable that if a Democrat wins in 2008, George Soros will be for all intents and purposes the president of the United States. And that prospect scares the living hell out of me!

Posted by: Gayle Miller at September 14, 2007 01:30 PM

Frederick, it is logically impossible to prove a negative.

Please provide proof (and not from MoveOn's website, or any other lefty site) of the veracity of the statements contained in MoveOn's ad.

Betcha can't!

Posted by: C-C-G at September 14, 2007 07:30 PM

Hey, CF, you got a good mention in Advertising Age:

Posted by: William Teach at September 14, 2007 08:14 PM
Please provide proof of the veracity of the statements contained in MoveOn's ad.

Well these are the sources they used:,25197,22337285-31477,00.html's_-_08-23-07.pdf

Right - calling a serving General a traitor is REAL "solid."

...and when did they do that?

I suppose we'll have this all straightened out when the 5 week gap is closed in data...

Posted by: Frederick at September 15, 2007 08:12 AM

Frederick, now give us a point-by-point explanation of how all those links validate their assertion that Petraeus has delivered incorrect data to the Congress.

No, I am not going to let you off easy. You wanna play with the conservatives, you gotta learn to prove your points. This ain't DKos, DU, or the HuffPo, an assertion is not enough around these parts.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 15, 2007 08:26 AM