Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, September 23rd, 2007.


Political Desert

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The Right Blogosphere is in a tailspin. I expect it to crash into the political desert any time now.

The political desert is the place where fringe groups go to howl, unheard by the rest of humanity. For example, do you remember the people whose cause [not so] célèbre was opposing fluoride in drinking water? I actually miss the anti-fluoride nuts. I figured it was a good thing they were wound up about something that, relatively speaking, wasn’t a big bleeping deal. I could listen to their rantings and ravings with a peaceful heart, content that the worst thing they could do was fail to prevent some tooth decay. And I think every American whose head was screwed on all the way just ignored them. They lived in the political desert.

Today the Right Blogosphere is in a full-throated screech over this news story in the New York Daily News:

Officials at the New York Times have admitted a liberal activist group was permitted to pay half the rate it should have for a provocative ad condemning U.S. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus.

The MoveOn ad, which cast Petraeus as “General Betray Us” and attacked his truthfulness, ran on the same day the commander made a highly anticipated appearance before Congress.

But since the liberal group paid the standby rate of $64,575 for the full-page ad, it should not have been guaranteed to run on Sept. 10, the day Petraeus warned Congress against a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Times personnel said.

“We made a mistake,” Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications for The Times, told the newspaper’s public editor.

As the NY Times public editor explains,

Eli Pariser, the executive director of MoveOn.org, told me that his group called The Times on the Friday before Petraeus’s appearance on Capitol Hill and asked for a rush ad in Monday’s paper. He said The Times called back and “told us there was room Monday, and it would cost $65,000.” Pariser said there was no discussion about a standby rate. “We paid this rate before, so we recognized it,” he said. Advertisers who get standby rates aren’t guaranteed what day their ad will appear, only that it will be in the paper within seven days.

Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications for The Times, said, “We made a mistake.” She said the advertising representative failed to make it clear that for that rate The Times could not guarantee the Monday placement but left MoveOn.org with the understanding that the ad would run then. She added, “That was contrary to our policies.”

The Right Blogosphere is all over this “issue” like sharks to chum. The list of rightie bloggers weighing in is like a Who’s Who of Wingnutland. However, if in fact no other ad was bumped so that MoveOn got its desired date, what the bleep difference does it make? And sales people fudge the rules all the time if it means they can sell something that might not otherwise have been sold.

Is it just me, or do you think anyone in America who isn’t already a drooling Wingnut is going to give a flying bleep what the New York Times charged MoveOn for the bleeping ad?

This past week righties foamed at the mouth over the MoveOn ad; over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad possibly visiting Ground Zero; over Dan Rather filing a lawsuit. These are the issues they care deeply about, in other words. And I say, let ’em howl. Let ’em rant and hyperventilate and go all buggy-eyed. Let them be as out there as they wannabee.

Let ’em earn passage to the political desert, in other words. And let’s not stand in their way.

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