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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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. felicity  •  Sep 23, 2007 @5:14 pm

    Ah yes, fluoride. I remember it well, obviously a communist plot . In lieu of nuking us, they were going to poison us all with fluoridated drinking water.

    Rightie rants really haven’t changed much. I wish they would crash in the political desert but, unfortunately they probably won’t. From a book by David Mamet on the nature, purpose and practice of the movie business. (He should know of what he speaks.)

    Righties run a campaign as a drama with themes, slogans, inflammatory appeals, and villains. A staged thriller. (The ‘Left’ lectures) In drama we suspend our disbelief. We don’t watch a full-length animated feature and say to ourselves, “Wait a minute. Elephants can’t fly.”

    The key is ‘we suspend our disbelief’ which is why the right uses drama and why, even when the content is ludicrous, the public buys the pitch – or at least doesn’t question its veracity or relevance.

  2. Bonnie  •  Sep 23, 2007 @6:09 pm

    I’m with on this. I never saw the ad and would not even know about it except for the rightwingnuts yelling about it. Since any one connected with the Bush Administration has proven to be a liar day after day after day, I found the ad as I heard about it (still haven’t seen) to be clever wordplay. It seems to me we need to rename the rightwingnuts “Henny Penny”–the sky is falling every day.

  3. Silver Owl  •  Sep 23, 2007 @6:21 pm

    I’m not getting the fuss myself. NYT stated a price. Move On paid the price. NYT ran the ad within seven days.

    Granted they did not check with the wingnuts on the best date convient for them. The wingnuts seem to think all ads require their specific approval on when they run.

  4. PurpleGirl  •  Sep 23, 2007 @6:21 pm

    I agree with you completely. It’s a non-issue to me. The only New York Times ad I’ve cared about the last two weeks is the pro bono ad they give the organization I work for. They began running an ad for us about 10 years ago; most years they are able to run it on the day of our Opening Meeting (rally for the volunteers to kick off the school year). But since it is pro bono, they don’t guarantee when it will run. This year it did run on the day of the event. (Yay!)

    Now I’m stuck looking at the New York Post and waiting to see the pro bono ad they promised us. (It hasn’t appeared yet, boo hiss.)

  5. Swami  •  Sep 23, 2007 @7:52 pm

    They should conserve their howls so they can scream loudly that we were stabbed in the back when it comes time to admit Bush’s defeat in Iraq.

    Remember the Alamo!
    Remember the Maine!
    Remember Pearl Harbor!
    Remember the Cakewalk!

    ” you’ll be greeted as liberators” – Abu al- Curveball

  6. Swami  •  Sep 23, 2007 @8:03 pm

    Iraqi PM: Shootings ‘cannot be accepted’

    Anybody wanna bet that somebody is gonna eat some crow?

  7. Doug Hughes  •  Sep 23, 2007 @8:18 pm

    I do not underrate the success the Righties have had this week. They sidetracked the discussion from an evaluation of the surge policy to a circus over the ‘integrity’ of General Petrus. They won – and they won big. Factor in the Webb amendment going down in flames; this has not been a good week.

    The answer is not easy; Democrats have to ‘speak to truth’ and do it in a united, coordinated way. Even the Dems on the campaign trail need to close ranks with a message. My message?

    ‘”The surge has failed to produce an exit strategy; without political reconciliation in the civil war, we are doomed to year after year of troop losses. Bush is talking about a ‘Koria style’ occupation lasting decades in a VietNam environment where anyone could be out to kill GIs.”

    Democrats controlled the dialogue of the midterms; made it a referendum on the war. Now that they’re in power, they have given the initiative – as far as the dialoge is concerned, to the Republicans. Time to take it back.

  8. whig  •  Sep 23, 2007 @8:42 pm

    I think Kathy @ Liberty Street had a good take on this issue too.



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