MoveOn and the New York Times: The Current State of Play

Posted by: Jon Fine on September 24, 2007

Once you factor out all of the hyperventilating, here is what is actually happening vis-à-vis MoveOn.org’s “Betray Us?” ad:

1. The lefties at MoveOn, who allegedly got a sweetheart deal from the Times, are now voluntarily paying the full price—$142,083—for the ad in question, following Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt’s column on the matter yesterday.

2. The New York Times, that beloved target of the hard right, just better than doubled its money. From an ad that said faction hates.

3. The Giuliani campaign, like MoveOn, got to run its own ad last week at the cheaper stand-by rate of $64,575. Judging from this Giuliani flak’s feint to Times reporter …

“While we appreciate that The New York Times and Moveon.org have both publicly acknowledged their sweetheart deal, no amount of money will make right this misguided ploy attacking a general in a time of war.”

…I am betting that the Giuliani campaign isn’t breaking its legs running to the bank to pay the Times more. (If this continues to be the case, you may wonder how MoveOn paying twice as much as the Giuliani campaign qualifies as a sweetheart deal.)

4. This means the anti-MoveOn side ended up paying a lot less for its ad than the MoveOn side.

5. Unless, of course, the Giuliani campaign steps up like MoveOn and cuts the Times another check.

6. In which case the Times will make even more money.

Reader Comments

DCer

September 24, 2007 9:07 AM

Attacking a General in a time of war is neither novel nor controversial amongst the military where they are accustomed to serving two masters: Mars and The Press. General Douglas MacArthur was widely criticized for his public statements during the Korean War and was removed from command by Harry Truman in April 1951. Listening to "I Can Hear It Now" and other easy to obtain old time news broadcasts, you'll see much "Second guessing" of commanders during war. Similarly, cartoonist Bill Maudlin harassed General George S Patton so much during the Sicilian campaign in World War II that almost the entire image of Patton as a cursing, slapping angry man comes from press treatment of him. Eisenhower removed him from command and put Omar Bradley in charge. This is documented on Wikipedia at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_S_Patton#Controversies_and_criticism
but the 1970 movie "Patton" explores the situation in greater detail.

If General Petraeus is qualified to shine either Patton's or MacArthur's boots then more power to him, but no one is immune from criticism in a free society and stronger commanders in our military who achieved greater success for the world have faced down stronger criticism than this.

Shelby

September 24, 2007 11:51 AM

Mr. Fine has misunderstood the scandal. The problem is not that MoveOn.org got a good deal, or that in the end they volunteered to pay more. The scandal is that the NYT willingly promised ad space worth over $142,000 and charged less than $65,000, to an organization widely seen as being in ideological lock-step with the Times. The move bolsters arguments that the Times is more committed to its bias than it is to independence, fairness, or for that matter its shareholders.

uncleosbert

September 26, 2007 4:19 PM

shelby, the times gave exactly the same deal to giuliani. i have no idea how this makes them biased. what to you implies that the times gave moveon a price break that giuliani didn't get?

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