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MoveOn pays up, Giuliani camp refuses to do likewise

Reported by Chrish - September 30, 2007 -

After making (literally) a federal case over the MoveOn.org ad that brought General Petraeus' report to Congress into question FOX hammered MoveOn AND the New York Times for an alleged "sweetheart deal." After New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt announced that there had been a billing error, MoveOn promptly wired the difference, $77,508 to settle their bill.

Not so Republican presidential candidate and FOX fave Rudy Giuliani, who demanded the same discounted rate as MoveOn for his rebuttal ad.

Giuliani's campaign claims that they don't have to pay the full rate and deserved the so-called "stand-by" rate (which does not have a guaranteed run date or placement). According to the Washington Post,

"A spokeswoman for the Giuliani campaign said the campaign was charged the proper rate since they were not guaranteed a specific day the ad would run.
Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella said 'Our ad not only met the acceptability standards of The New York Times, but it was placed at the standby rate with no commitment it would run on a specific date.'"

However, in the much-lauded editorial by Hoyt that admitted the "error," he wrote

"In the fallout from the (MoveOn) ad, Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York mayor and a Republican presidential candidate, demanded space in the following Friday’s Times to answer MoveOn.org. He got it — and at the same $64,575 rate that MoveOn.org paid."

And the candidate himself stated that his ad was to run Friday (9/14) - listen here for two specific mentions of running the ad on that specific day.

Now FOX covered this relentlessly, up until the point that MoveOn said they would wire the difference. Brian Kilmeade on FOX and Friends attributed the revelation of the mistake at the Times to a complaint filed with the FEC by a "conservative organization" (which he did not identify, the American Conservative Union), and co-host Steve Doocy excused Giuliani from ponying up the $77k because "...a deal's a deal. If the New York Times is going to sell it to him for $65,000, that's the price."

The double standard that FOX accused the New York Times of, offering "special favors," perhaps even an "illegal discount," to their "liberal friends," seems to be misdirected. Of course there's the daily double standard attacking liberals/Democrats on FOX, but also it seems that the Times spokeswoman, Catherine Mathis, has applied a double standard as well. Her paper reports that :

"The sales representative should have charged $142,083, she (Mathis) said, because MoveOn wanted the advertisement to run on a specific day — Monday, Sept. 10 and was therefore not entitled to the “standby” rate."

Later in the same article, however, she seemed to excuse Giuliani's campaign from paying the higher rate because she "confirmed that the newspaper did not commit to a specific date."

But according to Giuliani's own comments, twice he demanded that his ad appear Friday September 14th - which it did.

Lane Hudson has filed a complaint with the FEC, charging that the discounted ad rate for the Giuliani campaign amounts to "the receipt of corporate soft money contribution in excess of the limits established by the Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971 and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002."

At this time it certainly appears that the New York Times has made and Giuliani has accepted an illegal campaign contribution. We'll keep you updated on all the outrage this sparks on FOX News, fair and balanced.