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.