Democracy Has Prevailed.

November 2, 2008

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to Wrap Monday's Papers in "Vote for Freedom...Defeat Obama" Bags

I know times are tough for the print media, but this is just sad and pathetic. Tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- a newspaper which has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president -- will be delivered in a bag which has printed on it:

"Vote for Freedom...Defeat Obama"

Yes, they will literally wrap themselves in deceptive -- as if voting for Obama was voting against freedom and, of course, playing into the whole "communist/socialist" meme -- anti Obama speech.

It's a paid advertisement sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

The Post-Gazette will undoubtedly try to explain to us poor, dumb schlubs that there's a difference between editorial and advertising. I'm sure that's the stance they took when they distributed the extreme anti Muslim "Obsession" DVD earlier this month.

But the truth is that the Post-Gazette -- like any other newspaper -- can, and I'm certain, does reject advertisements.

At least two newspapers in Virginia -- The Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Virginian Pilot -- rejected this very same "Defeat Obama" bag.

What does The Virginian Pilot say about newspapers accepting ads like this? They say this about their decision to reject the ad:

The risk for a newspaper that runs the plastic bag ad, according to media ethicist Kelly McBride, is that it may give readers a reason to question its objectivity.

"If your wrap on Election Day is portraying one particular point of view, that's going to be pretty damaging to your credibility," said McBride, ethics group leader for the Poynter Institute, a school for professional journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"I think it would be hard for voters, in that moment, to discern whether this is the paper's point of view or someone else's," she added. "You don't want to do something on Election Day that essentially alienates your readers."

Similar considerations factored into The Pilot's decision to reject the ad, said company business development manager Alan Levenstein.

Because it takes about six weeks to print the plastic bags, permitting a group with one view to purchase that space could deny a group with an opposing view a chance to buy the same space before the election, Levenstein said.

"We want to make sure that we provide equity for all sides, make sure that there is a level playing field," he said. "We want to make sure that we don't look, as a newspaper, that we're endorsing one viewpoint or another."

As a matter of policy, The Pilot would sell space to candidates and interest groups of all persuasions in its print pages, which unlike the plastic bags can accommodate multiple ads in one edition.

Bravo to The Pilot.

If you have a problem with the Post-Gazette's decision I would highly suggest that you take IMMEDIATE ACTION (you can speak to a live person NOW).

Call 412-263-1100

You can ask to leave a message on their Advertising Comment line.

More importantly, since it would seem that $$$ is all they're thinking about, you can choose to call that same number and suspend or cancel your subscription.

They have the right to take whatever filthy lucre they want and wrap themselves in anti Obama muck and you have the right to respond to their oh-so-wrongly calculated decision.

UPDATE: Other suggestions I've seen in comments, on list servs and at Daily Kos:

  • Call these folks to complain:

    "David Shribman, executive editor, 412-263-1890

    You all might want to do the same and if the voice mail is full, work your way down to these:
    Susan Smith, managing editor, 412-263-1858
    Mary Leonard, deputy managing editor, 412-263-0443 "

  • Use the ad bag for your scooped dog poop/used cat litter

    Joy said...

    Not having a subscription, I can't cancel mine.

    All I can hope is that most people will take the endorsement inside the paper more seriously than the bag on the outside. And that this represents republicans throwing money into a hole in the ground. Anyone know if they are doing the Trib as well? That's a bigger seller in the hard-core NRA areas of town.

    John K. said...

    John K: On Wed morning if Hussein Obama wins I go on with it and still make my case for conservatism. If McCain wins you left wingers will begin yelling two phrases. First, the election was stolen and 2nd Impeachment. Which shows how sick the left has become.

    Clyde Wynant said...

    I suggest that anyone who gets one of these use it for what it is meant for; to empty the cat littler box into.

    The P-G is betting that no one will care, but they are wrong. This is a low point for them, though perhaps inevitable. What is funny is how it mimics the very practices their editorial board eschews in the McCain campaign, where doing "anything to win" has left him devoid of any moral compass.


    macyapper said...

    John K.: Barrack Hussein Obama IS going to win.
    There's no IF.
    And YOU are going to be miserable.
    And WE will urinate on your grave.
    Gloat much?
    Not nearly enough.

    Anonymous said...

    IS the NRA still a relevant political organization these days?

    Conservative Mountaineer said...

    Oooo.. liberals calling for canceling subscriptions to a liberal newspaper. Sweet.

    Can't cancel mine 'cuz I canceled 2 or 3 years ago.. only thing I miss are certain sports sections stats/scores pages.. nothing else. Print media is so.. yesterday, anyway.

    Ol' Froth said...

    Good gravy I might have to start buying the Trib. Although I like the cat litter idea, and then take your filled bags and fling them upon the P-G's doorstep.

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