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.Apologies should be extended to Bob Owens and others who claimed that the Times incorrectly and impermissibly extended a discount rate to Moveon.org to run their heinous ads attacking General Petraeus right as he was giving testimony before Congress. The full page ad ran in the Times, and I was appalled that the organization would attack the General even before his report was heard. It was a preemptive attack on his reputation and integrity.
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.
Mathis said an advertising representative left the liberal group with the understanding that the ad would run that Monday even though they had been charged the standby rate.
The group should have paid $142,083 to ensure placement that day.
The General was quite forthright and blunt in his assessments of the situation in Iraq, and the success of the surge in Iraq is such that even the Times itself cannot ignore that the security situation has improved to the point where the political failures within the Iraqi government take precedence over the security situation.