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MoveOn.org to pay full price for NYT ad

Now that The New York Times has declared the discount rate given MoveOn.org for their "General Betray Us" ad attacking the character of General David Petraeus was an "error," MoveOn will pay the full asking price, according to their own statement:

Now that the Times has revealed this mistake for the first time, and
while we believe that the $142,083 figure is above the market rate paid by most organizations, out of an abundance of caution we have decided to pay that rate for this ad. We will therefore wire the $77,083 difference to the Times tomorrow (Monday, September 24, 2007).

We call on Mayor Giuliani, who received exactly the same ad deal for the same price, to pay the corrected fee also.

The Public Editor's column makes crystal clear that at no time did MoveOn have any reason to believe that it was receiving from the Times anything other than the normal and usual charge for the advertisement. And there is no evidence of any kind that the error in quoting of rates was in any way based on the content of the advertisement or the identity of its sponsor. Of course, MoveOn believed that it was engaged in an arms length negotiation regarding advertising rates with the Times and assumed that it was being quoted advertising prices consistent with the Times' usual and normal charge.

Read the whole polemic at the link above. It seems to me some MoveOn spokesbot was quoted last week as saying the ad was in line with the rate they had previously paid, which raises separate questions about this sequence of events.

Irrespective of that, this demonstrates clearly that the MoveOn.org "powers that be" are stupid. Once the ad was accepted for a given rate - which presumably, as is customarily mandatory for political advertising, was paid in advance of running - and run at that rate, we have the legal equivalent of a contract duly executed. There is no reason whatever for MoveOn to volunteer to pay a higher fee AFTER the ad runs.

The ad already appeared. What's the Times going to do? Sue them for paying the rate they were quoted?

It amounts to a donation by MoveOn.org to The New York Times. How nice for the NYT to emerge from this episode with an extra check. Smearing American servicemen may be their next profit center.

As if they hadn't already thought of that . . .

And don't hold your breath waiting for Giuliani to cough up more money for his ad. He's no sucker.


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Comments (16)

Good point about the price ... (Below threshold)

Good point about the price being in line with previous ads. They are trying to forestall the FEC investigation.

From CNN today:"Th... (Below threshold)

From CNN today:

"The Senate last week approved a resolution condemning the MoveOn ad, 72-25. Republicans filibustered a Democratic proposal that also condemned GOP attacks on former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts during his 2004 presidential campaign."

So goes the never-ending hypocrisy of the Republican party.

kele:So goes t... (Below threshold)


So goes the never-ending hypocrisy of the Republican party.

So goes another reality challenged loonbat.
Here dickweed this solves your Cleland myth.

As for kerry why should the repubs condemn something that was true?

Oh, kele, you don't underst... (Below threshold)

Oh, kele, you don't understand the difference beween John Kerry and Petraeus. Who would you follow into battle?

The standby rate is NOT cus... (Below threshold)
Corky Boyd:

The standby rate is NOT customary for advocacy advertising. Advocacy advertising is what newspapers drool over. It is charged at the General (National) rate, the highest rate newspapers charge. Standby is normally given to mail-order advertisers and low end retailers, but not to issue advertising.

The Times made a big point yesterday that the salesperson shouldn't have assured MoveOn their ad would run on Monday. That's not the issue. The issue is who broke the rate in the first place for MoveOn. I can asssure you that was not done at the salesperson level. The salesperson just quoted the rate MoveOn enjoyed from prior advertising. Someone at a higher level approved the preferential rate.

Where the Times is in trouble is other advetisers are now demanding the same rate, as Giuliani did, leading to the standby rate becoming the de facto rate for all issue advertising. That would be financially devastating to the Times.

I am sure the top folks at the Times are totally put out with the spokesman at MoveOn who revealed the rate. Cozy little deals like this are meant to be kept quiet. He was problably unaware they were getting a preferential rate. But it exposed the bias of the Times, this time on the business side.

I'm sure that MoveOn.org is... (Below threshold)
Rance Frayger:

I'm sure that MoveOn.org is more than happy to keep the controversy alive. The other article in yesterday's NYT said that the Senate resolution resulted in $500,000 in contributions.

Corky, isn't that bias on t... (Below threshold)

Corky, isn't that bias on the business side a little detail the SEC might be interested in if the Sulzbergers aren't?

Oh Pennywit. Care to quibb... (Below threshold)

Oh Pennywit. Care to quibble over this? Your authority allows you to comment on 'advocacy advertising'.

KimThe issue that ... (Below threshold)
Corky Boyd:


The issue that the Times fears is not an SEC (nor FEC) one. It has to do with charging a preferential rate to one advertiser and not to others in the same category. The Times is particularly vulnerable if they are charging differnt rates to conservative and liberal organizations. And this is apperaently what happened.

There are dozens of rates cards at major papers, Retail, Co-op, Dealer Association, Classified Automotive, General (National), National Employment, Movie Theater listings and on and on. Within each category there are usually annual space contract levels, full page discounts and other minutia.

Under FTC regulations and case law, you must treat advertisers within each category in an equitable manner. These are the legalities and there was a major investigation of newspaper rate practices in the late '70s, but nothing ever came of it, other than newpapers had to spend a ton on legal expenses and more importantly top newspaper executives had to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for and conducting for interviews with FTC lawyers.

The fact the Times is backtracking on this issue is probably more related to the reaction of other cause advertisers. I am sure they are totally miffed that they paid straight General rate and others (MoveOn) got a deal. Most likely they are now either asking for similar rates or consideration for past advertising. And these advertisers have the law on their side. The last thing the Times wants is to open their books in the discovery process. Nor do they want the FTC poring over their records.

As I pointed out, this was a nice cozy deal that was never supposed to see the light of day. But it did.

Thank you, CB.======... (Below threshold)

Thank you, CB.

rance frayger:... (Below threshold)

rance frayger:

I'm sure that MoveOn.org is more than happy to keep the controversy alive. The other article in yesterday's NYT said that the Senate resolution resulted in $500,000 in contributions.

And I'm happy they're happy.

Of all the millions Soros has poured down that rat hole and their like-minded moonbats at DKos they have had very little electoral success.

In DKos's case he's one for a couple dozen attempts and that was in a primary, and we all know "Joementum" made that a false victory.

In Soros' case he's 0 for forever and hasn't gotten anyone elected of any consequence.

GIVE THEM THE AXE, THE AXE,... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:


This is just weird. Sorry ... (Below threshold)

This is just weird. Sorry for the tooting, but you can read more by clicking my name, you don't have to though, you can see the gist right here:

AFTER being caught taking dirty money from a guy they earlier defended - Hillary's camp decides to return the money "out of an abundance of caution".

AFTER being caught paying a cut rate for a despicable ad calling a leader of our armed forces in harms way a liar, MorOn.org decides to pay the difference between what they originally paid and what they should have paid "out of an abundance of caution" (and because lawsuits about illegal donations were starting to fly).

Can anyone spot what appears to be the liberal fig leaf for when they are caught in dirty politics involving money?

Out of an abundance of caution, you just might want to vote Republican in 2008.

Toot on, the full piece is ... (Below threshold)

Toot on, the full piece is well worth reading.

Very kind of you to say so.... (Below threshold)

Very kind of you to say so.

You have a great point abou... (Below threshold)

You have a great point about 'abundance of caution'. It's the non-apology apology, just like "I'm sorry anyone was offended by this".

It's pitiful, and an attempt to lay the onus for the problem back on those objecting. It may be susceptible to attack in the campaign, because people recognize it as 'weasel' speech.






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