Moving on on MoveOn

The New York Times director of acceptable advertising (a job title that sounds rather than being the minister of silly walks) gives a good explanation of policies that led to the pricing of the now notorious MoveOn Patreus ad — far better than the company spokesmen last week.

The ad was published because it complied with our standards. This ad was also accepted because it is our ongoing desire to keep our advertising columns as open as possible to the public, which we believe is a First Amendment responsibility. I would also point out that this ad was similar to other ads that criticized President Bush, former President Bill Clinton, and countless other public officials.

Within the category of political or advocacy advertising it is common practice throughout the newspaper industry to offer a standby rate in addition to open rate advertising. When a group buys a standby ad, it can request a particular date for it to be run, but receives no guarantee that it can appear that day. The lower cost of such ads reflects the flexibility that gives us. Any political or advocacy group calling up today to request a standby ad would be quoted the same rate that paid.

  • And if say Group X would have wanted to take out an anti-Hillery ad it never would have happened.
    NYT do not wonder why your readership is going down

  • At what point do you believe groups like are no longer grass roots efforts but mainstream or a new category of advocacy or even special interest groups?

  • Brian O’Connell

    The NYT has no First Amendment responsibility for openness. To claim that would elevate them to some kind of steward of our free speech, which I reject. The claim also sounds like a version of the Fairness Doctrine, whose former legal mandatoriness is a strange concept for a newspaper to impose upon itself.

    Sure, they can have a policy to publish opposing or extreme views, but it’s nothing to do with the 1A. The policy is completely voluntary on their part- there’s no legal obligation, which seems to be implied here.

    Conversely, there shouldn’t be any legal consequences for the NYT even if they had a policy to print all Democratic ads for free. The fact that some have mentioned that a discount for MoveOn might open the Times to some legal hassles based on FEC regs just shows how unconstitutional and chilling of speech those regs are.

  • Pingback: Outside The Beltway | OTB()

  • old maltese

    It sounds reasonable on the surface: stand-by ad at stand-by rate.

    But the ad’s text says:

    ‘Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.’

    So didn’t they *know* that it would run on the specific day of Gen. Petraeus’s first day of testimony?

    Maybe the Times did promise them the day, instead of accepting it as a stand-by.

  • Great work old maltese! My profound apathy prevents me from actually reading the tripe.

    When people lie to themselves so much, lying to the world is but a tiny incremental step…

  • Jeff,

    You going to update this post after the Times recent confession of guilt? Going to change your characterization of “good explanation’?