September 13, 2007
New York Times
620 8th Ave
New York City, New York 10018
Dear Mr. Sulzberger:
We read with great surprise today’s published reports that the New York Times charged the anti-war organization MoveOn.org a discounted rate for its full page ad in your news pages that was not offered for our ad presenting the opposite point of view on the same subject.
The full page MoveOn.org ran on September 10, 2007 attacked General David Patreus’ credibility and patriotism. Freedom’s Watch’s full page on September 11, 2007 honored the memory of the victims of 9-11 and reminded your readers that America is engaged in a global war on terror.
According to the published reports, MoveOn.org paid $65,000 for its full page ad. This rate was not offered to Freedom’s Watch to run the same size ad with the same placement on September 11, 2007. The New York Times representative explained to us that we could run a “standby rate” ad for $65,000, but we could not pick the date or placement of the ad. At a minimum, it’s clear that MoveOn.org was able to pick the date of their ad or was given preferential treatment on the timing of the ad because it was reported before it was published.
We are at a loss to explain this discriminatory pricing. The only difference between the ads appears to be that Freedom’s Watch disagrees with your paper’s editorial policy while MoveOn.org basically agrees with it. Surely it is not the policy of the Times to give discounts to certain advertisers based on this. And surely you do not wish to convey that your newspaper has suspended any patina of objectivity and fairness and is now actively promoting the MoveOn.org worldview in your news pages.
To redress this imbalance we should be permitted to run the same size ad with the same placement for the same price next Monday, September 17, 2007.
Not addressing this imbalance will be a clear signal about the New York Times “slant” on this and other issues of public importance. That signal will say that your news pages are now striving to match your editorial opinions and are no longer interested in evenly presenting both sides of an issue.
A copy of the ad Freedom’s Watch now wishes to run is attached to this letter. Please send your prompt response to Larry Weitzner at Jamestown Associates (Fax 609-514-7339).
Very Truly Yours,
Bradley A. Blakeman
President and CEO
cc: Vice President & Assistant General Counsel George Freeman, Advertising Account Representative Randall Etcerton, President and General Manager Scott H. Heekin-Canedy .