September 14, 2007

Setting the Agenda for a Non-Scandal

Advertising Age dissects how my observation earlier this week helped shape this week's news:

MoveOn told ABC's Jake Tapper that the group paid $65,000 for a Sept. 10 ad accusing General David Petraeus of "cooking the books for the White House" in his status reports on Iraq. The Times rate card implies that weekday, full-page, black-and-white cause, appeal or political ads cost $181,692.

A post on the blog Confederate Yankee soon noted the disparity. "While I'm fairly certain that nobody pays 'sticker' prices, 61% off seems a rather sweet deal," his post said. The New York Post picked up the story yesterday, running a piece headlined "Times Gives Lefties a Hefty Discount for 'Betray Us' Ad" and followed up with another article and an editorial today. "Citing the shared liberal bias of the group and the Times," the Post wrote, "one Republican aide on Capitol Hill speculated that it was the 'family discount.'"

Mr. Giuliani, speaking in Atlanta yesterday, demanded that the Times apologize and offer him the same price.

Standby basis
But MoveOn bought its ad on a "standby" basis, under which it can ask for a day and placement in the paper but doesn't get any guarantees. Standby pricing doesn't appear on the Times rate card -- but that kind of ad at a standby rate turns out to run about $65,000.

In other words, all the attention came as a result of the New York Times not putting their standby pricing on their rate cards, and the majority of the angry pixels expended in this incident were more than likely "much ado about nothing."

An interesting take on the eventual non-event from Dan Riehl:

I won't pretend that Print isn't significant when it comes to the news game today, that would be foolish. But I would add an additional point, or two. Being the topic of the news agenda is a far different thing than setting said agenda. And if it weren't for New Media, particularly blogs in this case, this particular agenda item would likely have never even been set. Duh!
Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 14, 2007 11:18 PM

That was great work.

Posted by: Jim Hoft at September 15, 2007 12:26 AM

The standby rate is irrelevant since the NY Times has knowingly refused to print some right wing advocacy ads. Pro Life etc.

Posted by: Dennis D at September 15, 2007 06:44 AM

Uncle Jimbo pointed out the bull$hit behind the "Standby" defense, as well as pointing out the probable violation of Federal law in discounting an "advocacy" ad here:

i'd say you were dead on to begin with, and all the whining here suports that contention. %-)

Advertising Age is just running a smoke screen.

Posted by: redc1c4 at September 15, 2007 02:04 PM

And I, myself, on my own humble little corner of the blogosphere pointed out that MoveOn got a lot more than the usual standby service for their $65,000.

But, you lefties, rather than doing any research at all, would rather fling poo at someone who pointed out hypocrisy at the Bible of modern leftism, the NY Times.

Everyone is equal, but clearly the Times believes some are more equal than others. Orwell would be so proud.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 15, 2007 02:20 PM

I seriously doubt there is a federal violation here --- the FEC governs elections, not political advocacy in general. If it tried to regulate here it would likely run up against the 1st amendment. Broadcast media were historically considered different because of the idea that the airwaves were a scarce resource, the use of which could be controlled for the public good,

The NYT could give this ad to MoveOn gratis and the FEC or anyone else (except their shareholders) couldn't do crap about it.

Posted by: sj at September 15, 2007 03:56 PM

Standby pricing?? Not in the published rates??Sounds more like a recent invention NYT is using to cover their backside.

Posted by: czekmark at September 16, 2007 04:19 AM

I love the smell of BDS in the morning. It smells like - Victory.

Arbalest at Ace of Spades has the perfect comment.

"This would seem to be proof that, with the right technique and tools, even the mighty editors of the New York Times can be made to pass a full size Roman brick; flat sides, straight and square corners and blunt ends."

Confederate Yankee, may I respectfully recommend that dave™© be disemvoweled.

Posted by: Looking Glass at September 16, 2007 05:13 AM

LG, disemvoweling does seem interesting to try and perhaps I may some day for comedic effect, but typically, I take out all the trash, and not just some of it.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 16, 2007 06:11 AM

Confederate Yankee,

Disemvoweling is a powerful tool to use against trolls. It doesn't confer the legitimacy of being deleted. They're turned into publicly impotent inarticulate fools even in their own minds.

You are severely underestimating the psychological effect on the troll.

Posted by: Looking Glass at September 16, 2007 09:11 AM

Heh. Disemvoweling. I'll have to remember that trick for dealing with my own trolls... who, fortunately, are few and far between.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 16, 2007 09:40 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/17/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by: David M at September 17, 2007 10:22 AM

Reuters finally does something interesting, and nobody notices.

Posted by: Neo at September 18, 2007 08:52 AM

I'll be darned, Neo.

It'll be going up on my humble little corner of the blogosphere right away.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 18, 2007 09:10 AM