The New York Post has found that the Times is perhaps a bit more than just sympathetic. The Times it turns out gave the MoveOn crew a 65% discount - from $181,000 to $65,000 - for the risible "General Betray Us" ad that the group took out in the Times on Monday which coincided with General Petraeus' testimony to Congress on the progress of the war.
According to Abbe Serphos, director of public relations for the Times, "the open rate for an ad of that size and type is $181,692."
A spokesman for MoveOn.org confirmed to The Post that the liberal activist group had paid only $65,000 for the ad - a reduction of more than $116,000 from the stated rate.
A Post reporter who called the Times advertising department yesterday without identifying himself was quoted a price of $167,000 for a full-page black-and-white ad on a Monday.
Serphos declined to confirm the price and refused to offer any inkling for why the paper would give MoveOn.org such a discounted price.
"I'm surprised they had to pay anything at all for the ad," [a] GOP staffer said. "They could have just asked the editorial page to run it and it wouldn't have cost them a cent."
The Times as a private organization is free to charge whatever it wants to run advertisements. It does though tell you exactly where the Times stands - you could certainly argue that the Times paid for two-thirds of the ad and are as responsible for it as MoveOn.org.