T Nation

MoveOn and NYT


Office of General Counsel
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20463

Dear Folks,

Sept. 10, 2007 the political advocacy group MoveOn.org ran an ad in the NY Times with the headline, Gen. Petraeus or Gen. Betray Us.

This ad also says "Cooking the books for the White House" making it political communications and subject to FEC regulations. It has been reported that MoveOn paid $65,000 for the ad by

ABC News

and the NY Post

The rate card price of such an ad on the NY Times political advocacy rate card is $181,692.

I sold political advertising for Capital Newspapers in Madison, WI during the 2006 elections. We were informed that there could be absolutely no discounts to the rate card prices for political or advocacy advertising based on federal law. The reason was self-evidently to stop the paper from favoring one viewpoint over another. It seems evident that if the reports are true, the NY Times has favored MoveOn by offering a huge discount to them for political advocacy advertising.

I request an investigation to determine if the law has been broken by the NY Times and/or MoveOn.org.


James Hanson
Madison, WI 53703

New York Times



The strife about the Iraq war in the US makes me fear that we will see the worst aspects of an undecided democracy in action, a hasty and poorly planned retreat.


Let's wait for this until Rudy runs his ad and editorial.


There is such thing as a hasty retreat when applied to an occupying force. If anything, they are 4 years late.

And there is not so much "democracy" in action in this case. The majority of Americans want out. Soldiers want out. Iraqis want them to get out (a majority condones attacks on Americans). Heck, the whole world want the US to withdraw and stop stirring up shit. Alas, Bush's got that nasty veto.


Alas, I can't share your conviction that doing what is right is the right thing to do. Not hastily and not for reasons of domestic politics, anyway.


Guess what the good general's fellow staff officers think of him:

I love salty, old Naval officers.


I am sure he won't get a discount. They are not allowed to give discounts to political ads but MoveOn might be in a gray area. It seems these types of groups are exempt from other aspects of McCain Feingold. Does anyone fully understand the law here?

Even if they did not break the law it sure looks like favoritism from the NYT.


It might be but I doubt it. It does not do them well financially to favor left leaning organizations. They run FOX News adds all the time--wouldn't want to upset the beast.


I love the unnamed sources. You never know if they are telling the truth or if they even exist.

Of course all generals (and admirals) are politicians and therefore weasels so it is quite possible.

One general badmouthing another is like a politician badmouthing another. It is usually hot air but you never know.


Yet they did here.


This is not typical of staff officers. They only make it this far by being extreme professionals--you know, an "officer and a gentleman?" They disagree with each other all the time but they don't usually speak "publicly" about it. It's just not SOP.

That's what makes me think this might not be true.

Officers are not politicians but politicians want them to be--officers hate politicians.


I have read a number of times that there are no honorable men above the rank of colonel. In order to become a general officer you have to engage in political in-fighting.

I don't doubt that they badmouth each other in front of trusted aides. I do doubt that they would say stuff like this publicly.

So much of that world is hidden from our sight. Hard to tell what is going on.


Damn that republican form of government, right Lixy?


An Admiral and an Airborne General disagreeing about how to fight...gee that's never happened before.

Give me a break.

Petreus is a warfighter. If that isn't your MO you will not like him.


I think this opinion is a little shortsighted. I agree we should be bringing the troops home. I agree with what Bush had to say. I don't think we can just say, "Everybody come home now." That being said. I would like a more complete timetable for every troop. 20 down to 15 combat brigades doesn't sound like much.

How much training do these Iraqi's need and how long does it take? I know nothing about this, but it seems to me more of the Iraqi's should be trained by now. Perhaps I'm wrong. It does appear as if the surge has had some effect, I'm not noticing as many troop attacks and deaths as before.

Its hard to have an informed opinion because all we get is from the press, on both sides, and as with most things the truth lies somewhere in between. Then I say we draft randomly "x" number of ordinary citizens and investigate this whole clusterfuck from beginning to end. They should have the power to press charges, assess penalties, make changes and ask hard questions.

Put the constitution back together again. Hold some people accountable. The last people we need running the government are politicians. They are not responsible to the people anymore. We need to make them accountable. - Taking off his rose colored glasses he hits submit.


Only half the story is being told. The NYTimes gives discounts based on how often you advertise, how busy their ad sales are for that particular day, how flexible you are about when the ad runs, and other factors. The book rate for an ad isn't necessarily what anyone pays.

Maybe you guys should demand that the NY Times throw open their financial books for full inspection by the public. Good luck with that. Why limit it to the NY Times though. Maybe you should be asking if anyone else ever receives an advertising discount, who they are, how often it happens, etc.

Maybe you guys pay list price for everything you buy, though.


By the way, the term General Betray Us was coined on the Rush Limbaugh show. A caller referered to General Petraeus and then referred to Senator Chuck Hagel as "General Betray Us".

Maybe it's only a bad thing to say, when the Left says it?


There is a law, no discounts for politics. Did they break it?


bradley, would you be kind enough to cite your sources for this?

One must always keep an eye on your "truths." Who was this caller? Was the caller one of your pals? What was the time frame?

I'm not saying that stupidity, malfeasance, and myopia is absent from Republicans. However, the dems clearly have a monopoly on said "virtues." Therefore, I'll play the odds here and guess the "caller" was one of your pals.



I don't think they disagree with the "mission" the admiral just happens to think Petraeus is a tool.

As far as Zap's comment about no honorable officers above colonel, I disagree. They only become dishonorable, political tools when the move into the Beltway and have politicians' phone numbers in their Rolodex.

Generals in the "field" are different creatures.