MoveOn.org says it will make up the ad rate difference. This was the most snort-worthy sentence in the Times’ coverage of itself. Via the NYTimes’ Caucus blog:
We try not to let any business force influence our reporting and judgments. That’s just a journalistic standard. You may not believe it, but it’s true.
Coffee spew in 3, 2, 1…
Blogger Bob Owens was right all along when he smelled a NYTimes rat lurking in the MoveOn.org “Betray Us” ad deal. He reacts to the NYT ombudsman’s admission that the paper violated its ad policies in giving MoveOn.org a special, military-bashing discount here.
The paper says it was an innocent “mistake.”
Mistake, my a**.
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.
By the end of last week the ad appeared to have backfired on both MoveOn.org and fellow opponents of the war in Iraq — and on The Times. It gave the Bush administration and its allies an opportunity to change the subject from questions about an unpopular war to defense of a respected general with nine rows of ribbons on his chest, including a Bronze Star with a V for valor. And it gave fresh ammunition to a cottage industry that loves to bash The Times as a bastion of the “liberal media.”
The last few, lefty defenders of the New York Times continue to delude themselves that its liberal bias is relegated to its editorial pages.
No, the bias has reached full-blown metastasis.