After hearing the apologists defend the paper in countless ways, the New York Times puts them all in an awkward position and admits to giving a huge discount for Moveon.org.The old gray lady has some explaining to do.Officials at the New York Times have admitted a liberal activist group was permitted to pay half the rate it should have for a provocative ad condemning U.S. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus.
The MoveOn ad, which cast Petraeus as “General Betray Us” and attacked his truthfulness, ran on the same day the commander made a highly anticipated appearance before Congress.But since the liberal group paid the standby rate of $64,575 for the full-page ad, it should not have been guaranteed to run on Sept. 10, the day Petraeus warned Congress against a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Times personnel said.“We made a mistake,” Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications for The Times, told the newspaper’s public editor.
Did MoveOn.org get favored treatment from The Times? And was the ad outside the bounds of acceptable political discourse?The answer to the first question is that MoveOn.org paid what is known in the newspaper industry as a standby rate of $64,575 that it should not have received under Times policies. The group should have paid $142,083. The Times had maintained for a week that the standby rate was appropriate, but a company spokeswoman told me late Thursday afternoon that an advertising sales representative made a mistake.The answer to the second question is that the ad appears to fly in the face of an internal advertising acceptability manual that says, “We do not accept opinion advertisements that are attacks of a personal nature.” Steph Jespersen, the executive who approved the ad, said that, while it was “rough,” he regarded it as a comment on a public official’s management of his office and therefore acceptable speech for The Times to print.
Jesperson insisted that he “erred on the side of public discourse”, and that the question mark at the end of “Betray Us?” made all the difference in the world. Hoyt didn’t buy that argument, calling an accusation of betrayal a “particularly low blow when aimed at a soldier.” I’d argue it this way: if I ran an ad in the Paper of Record that read, “Jesperson — Brain-Damaged Traitor?”, would Jesperson still feel that the question mark made the accusation fair?The Times got caught with its pants down and its biases exposed. Hoyt not only acknowledges the obvious, he undermines the ridiculous meme that got floated about the standby rate, which the ad itself obviously refutes in its use of “today” when referring to Petraeus’ testimony. Even the Gray Lady can’t dance around that.
No surprise here, the New York Times betrayed the US, again. And their public editor admits it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change anything, nor is it likely to change their behavior in the future, so the Times continues to be just a bunch of liberal bias and BS. Where’s the news in all that?
Apologies should be extended to Bob Owens and others who claimed that the Times incorrectly and impermissibly extended a discount rate to Moveon.org to run their heinous ads attacking General Petraeus right as he was giving testimony before Congress. The full page ad ran in the Times, and I was appalled that the organization would attack the General even before his report was heard. It was a preemptive attack on his reputation and integrity.The General was quite forthright and blunt in his assessments of the situation in Iraq, and the success of the surge in Iraq is such that even the Times itself cannot ignore that the security situation has improved to the point where the political failures within the Iraqi government take precedence over the security situation.
The New York Times justifies their actions by mouthing about the “tough choices” they must make but these choices consistently find favor on one side of the political spectrum and not the other. Watch that stock hit a five-year low.
Face it, the only reason the Times is explaining this is that the ad backfired on MoveOn. Had it worked, the Times would have heralded the free press aspect of it. The Times can run any ad it wants, or not run. It can charge what it wants, although the FEC could cause trouble. But what the Times cannot do is blame its problems on “a cottage industry that loves to bash The Times.” No, the problem is with the Times itself. Just as Paula Jones’s complaint was true, so is this one.