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.