The New York Times reports what MoveOn has already announced – that the group has paid the Times an additional $77,508 for the “General Betray Us?” ad. The paper’s ombudsman reported over the weekend that the Times had in fact given MoveOn a break in the price of the ad. But when a Times reporter tried to find out how that happened, the Times clammed up:
The newspaper had maintained that it charged MoveOn the same “standby” rate of $64,575 that it charges all advocacy groups for full-page, black-and-white advertisements that can run anytime in a seven-day window. But the newspaper’s spokeswoman, Catherine Mathis, was quoted Sunday by The Times’s public editor, Clark Hoyt, as saying an advertising sales representative had “made a mistake” in granting the discount.
The sales representative should have charged $142,083, she said, because MoveOn wanted the advertisement to run on a specific day — Monday, Sept. 10 — and was therefore not entitled to the “standby” rate.
In a follow-up interview yesterday, Ms. Mathis declined to comment on how the original mistake occurred or how it came to light.