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FOX can't help helping MoveOn.org

Reported by Chrish - September 24, 2007 -

As predicted, FOX continued to cover the MoveOn.org ad in the New York Times a full two weeks after the ad appeared, now harping on the fact that a NYTimes advertising sales rep misquoted the ad price to MoveOn (a price they had paid for preious ads, the so-called "stand-by" rate) and gave them a discount they should not have received. MoveOn has already wired the difference, some $77,000, to the paper and has suggested that presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who received the same discounted rate for an ad he took in response to the MoveOn ad, should do the same. No word yet on whether his campaign will pony up, but FOX Friend Steve Doocy said (of Giuliani, pointedly NOT MoveOn):

"Hey look, a deal's a deal. If the New York Times is going to sell it to him for $65,000, that's the price."

There were numerous pictures of the top half of the ad in question, picture of Petraeus and controversial headline, but, of course!, no mention of the content of the ad. FOX has studiously avoided addressing the real issue, that Petraeus report to Congress was an administration approved "Happy Iraq" presentation meant to lull the American people into accepting an extension of our presence there.

The admission by NYTimes Public Editor Clark Hoyt that there had been a billing error translated to a "bombshell" and Steve Doocy wondered if there would be any more "collateral damage" to MoveOn. Of course, all the free publicity has garnered MoveOn 12,000 new members and added $500,000 to their coffers in one day, the highest ever one-day total of donations, so more "collateral damage" is welcome. Doocy implied that MoveOn got "not just a discount, but an "illegal discount" and that word comes from Hoyt! Well, in context here's what Hoyt said:

"The ad infuriated conservatives, dismayed many Democrats and ignited charges that the liberal Times aided its friends at MoveOn.org with a steep discount in the price paid to publish its message, which might amount to an illegal contribution to a political action committee."
Bit of a leap there, eh? No matter, the inference was made. Hoyt said he personally may not have allowed the ad as it appeared.

Brian Kilmeade emphasized that were it not for a conservative group calling for an FEC investigation this would not have been discovered, and Alisyn Camerota claimed that MoveOn did not get the "standby rate" as claimed by the Times last week but rather "they were just given a special favor." Nowhere in my reading on the subject have I seen anything to confirm that particular claim, and in fact the Hoyt article they are using as a basis clearly states:

"The answer to the first question is that MoveOn.org paid what is known in the newspaper industry as a standby rate of $64,575 that it should not have received under Times policies. The group should have paid $142,083. The Times had maintained for a week that the standby rate was appropriate, but a company spokeswoman told me late Thursday afternoon that an advertising sales representative made a mistake..
But the friends blithely ignored that and Steve Doocy announced " It's not just egg on their face," and the Friends chimed in "it's an omelet." Cute.

In a later segment, in the following hour, Camerota said that it was "interesting" that the investigation by Hoyt revealed that "they shouldn't have charged them the 'friends and family discount,' " and the full quote above from Hoyt was shown and read. kilmeade said we never would have known about this had not a conservative organization asked the FEC to investigate whether the Times had made "basically what turns out to be a contribution to the Democratic party" (!!! he should try out for the broad jump in the next Olympics), and Doocy said we wouldn't have even known about it if MoveOn.org hadn't "bragged" about it! (Actually, they simply answered a question for an AP reporter, having paid the price quoted them by the NYT sales rep.) Doocy wanted to know how, if at all, whoever made this "hare-brained deal" with MoveOn was dealt with. (Remember, in the previous hour, he said about Giuliani's price "a deal's a deal.")

The Friends acknowledged the fundraising boon this has been to MoveOn, but still contended, from their right-wing perspectives, that any candidate that stands with MoveOn will have a price to pay.

In case there wasn't enough right-wing mojo in the studio, Laura Ingraham was brought on to discuss the issue. She said this became a national news story (in no small part due to FOX's obsessive coverage and exploitation) and that Bush commented on it (in response to a question posed at an unexpected press conference by FOX correspondent Wendell Goler,* which soundbite has played repeatedly), and it has been the subject of "every single talk show in the US." But that's not enough - she asserted that this should have been a front-page news story! This proves that the New York Times has an agenda that is "vehemently left and vehemently anti-war." Doocy furthered that, saying they got caught in a sweetheart deal and there's hell to pay, and Ingraham wondered who else got sweetheart deals, and supposed that the NRA and National "Right to Life" people paid triple for their ads. Cute.

Unable to avoid the truth, Camerota reminded her that Giuliani got the sweetheart deal too, and grudgingly Ingraham admitted that he should pay up the additional $77K for "parity." She also dismissed his deal, saying "however they're going to work out the ad rates, they're going to work out..

.the most important issue here is, it is now incontrovertible that the New York Times is siding with the most left-wing socialist organization active in the United States, period, dot, bingo."

The chyron below read "New York Times Betrayal?"

Ingraham conflated the running of the MoveOn ad with the New York Times not being objective (again conveniently ignoring the follow-up ad placed by Giuliani) and reiterated her perspective of bias. Her book was promoed again (how they know it's going to debut at number one on the best-seller list is beyond me, but they assert that it will...must be a big buy at the right-wing blogs?)

Friends demonized the MoveOn ad as a personal attack, ignoring the content below the controversial headline, but neglected to address the ad run by Rudy Giuliani at all - an ad that personally attacked Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for her skepticism of Petraeus' portrayal of Iraq and attempted to tie her directly to the MoveOn ad. They said MoveOn got an "illegal discount" but Giuliani got "a deal." The blatant bias is theirs; their illogic and rationalization obvious for anyone who cares to see it.

*Amended 5:40pm : The question was asked not by Wendell Goler but by Washington Times correspondent and FOX News Contributor Bill Sammon - my mistake. ch