MoveOn Got Discount for ‘Betray Us’ Ad

The New York Times gave MoveOn.org a “hefty discount” for its ad Monday questioning General David Petraeus’ integrity, Charles Hurt reports in the rival New York Post.

According to Abbe Serphos, director of public relations for the Times, “the open rate for an ad of that size and type is $181,692.”

A spokesman for MoveOn.org confirmed to The Post that the liberal activist group had paid only $65,000 for the ad – a reduction of more than $116,000 from the stated rate.

A Post reporter who called the Times advertising department yesterday without identifying himself was quoted a price of $167,000 for a full-page black-and-white ad on a Monday.

This is creating quite a hubbub in the blogosphere but I’m inclined to wait for more information before buying into conspiracy theories. It may well be that, as Dale Franks contends (in the comments of his co-blogger Bruce McQuain’s post) “nobody pays the full rate for advertising anyway, except for the hayseeds who don’t know any better.” If so, then the “open rate” could well be meaningless.

UPDATE: ABC’s Jake Tapper reports,

New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis tells me that it’s Times policy to not “disclose the rate that any one advertiser pays for an ad. The rate that is charged for an ad will depend on a variety of factors including how frequently the advertiser advertises with us, the day of the week, is it color, is it black and white, what section it appears, all of those kinds of things.”

Mathis says the newspaper tries “to keep our advertising columns as open as possible” and “there are many instances when we’ve published opinion advertisements that run counter to the stance that we take on our own editorial pages.” As an example of how the Times is open to all points of view in advertisers, Mathis points out that on September 11, 2007, “we published a full-page advertisement from Freedom’sWatch.org, an organization whose view is opposite of MoveOn.org.”

Freedom’s Watch spokesman Matt David, however tells me the group was charged “significantly more” than MoveOn.org for its ad. The organization says it plans to run a response to the MoveOn.org NYT ad in the Times, “and we plan to demand the same ad rate they paid,” David says.

Given the gravity of the date, there may have been more competition for the space. Or Freedom’sWatch may have gotten superior placement. Or the ad might have been in color. I don’t have easy access to the print edition at the moment but that information will come out.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Media, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Well, as a capitalist, free society, the NYT can charge whatever they want to whomever they want. It’s not like anyone here is a protected class, and “price discrimination” is quite legal in this case.

    What the NYT should do is say: “Look, we’re biased, and we charge less for political ads that we agree with”. End of story.

    Except that the myth that the press is “impartial” would be blown out of the water. But everyone knows that anyway.

  2. jpe says:

    What the NYPost should do is confirm that they’re run by Vampire hordes that feast on stray dogs captured in the Bronx.

    Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Mitch – this is a fun game.

  3. mw says:

    “The organization says it plans to run a response to the MoveOn.org NYT ad in the Times, “and we plan to demand the same ad rate they paid,”

    New York Times responds: “You are going to give us $167,000 of revenue for a one day, one page ad we otherwise would not have received? Ooh! Ooh! Hurt me!”

    If the intent was to persuade anyone, the MoveOn ad was a complete waste no matter how much they paid for it. No target audience except the choir. they acheived more polarization and alienation from their position than persuasion. It was pure political masturbation. Apparently it all felt very good to MoveOn and their supporters, but if they had bothered to look up from the mirror, they might have noticed they were not having political intercourse with anyone except themselves. Anyone else seeing it was just compelled to avert their eyes. If all MoveOn wants to do is play with themselves – fine. I just hope they don’t hurt themselves – they look like they are trying way too hard. They would be better off taking that activity behind closed doors where nobody else has to watch.

  4. mw says:

    Correction: $65,000

  5. Wayne says:

    That is why campaign finance is a joke. The MSM can give free or discounted media coverage that would normally cost millions to buy to whatever bias cause they want to promote.

  6. Kathy says:

    It may well be that, as Dale Franks contends (in the comments of his co-blogger Bruce McQuain’s post) “nobody pays the full rate for advertising anyway, except for the hayseeds who don’t know any better.” If so, then the “open rate” could well be meaningless.

    James, good for you. You’re the only rightie blogger I’ve seen who pointed this out.

  7. MarkT says:

    Did Freedom Watch disclose how much they paid?

    Is their organization the same status as MoveOn (e.g. non profit)?

    Were the ads placed similarly?

    Were they both in color?

    etc.

  8. Andy says:

    Were they both in color?

    No. Freedom Watch’s ad was, apparently.