UPDATE: More than 100 Seattle Times staffers sign letter protesting ad buy.
The decision to publish these ads is so disappointing [because] it threatens the two things we value the most, the traits that make The Seattle Times a strong brand: Our independence and credibility.
We know you value those things, too. The Seattle Times Company has done an exemplary job providing value to advertisers while also practicing independent journalism.
The Seattle Times Co. announced on Wednesday that it’s running — and paying for — ads in support of gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. The newspaper company’s filing with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission puts the value of the ad campaign at $75,750.
McKenna’s Democratic opponent, Jay Inslee, is asking supporters to respond to the newspaper’s effort with a donation to his coffers.
His campaign manager writes: “I have never before seen something this outrageous from a news organization in all of my time in politics. Not even FOX News has ever done anything like this before. This expenditure makes the newspaper the third largest contributor to McKenna’s campaign effort.”
Times newsroom staffers plan to send a protest letter to publisher Frank Blethen, reports the Stranger’s Eli Sanders.
Here is the letter that the Inslee camp distributed this morning:
From: “Joby Shimomura, JayInslee.com”
Date: October 18, 2012 11:15:43 AM PDT
When I opened up yesterday’s Seattle Times, I about fell out of my chair.
The Seattle Times Company — the largest newspaper in Washington State — took out a full page ad supporting Republican Rob McKenna, part of what they later admitted is a nearly $80,000 independent expenditure on McKenna’s behalf. Reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission show that the Seattle Times will be placing an ad for the McKenna campaign every day until election day.
AP photo via spokesmanreview.com
I have never before seen something this outrageous from a news organization in all of my time in politics. Not even FOX News has ever done anything like this before. This expenditure makes the newspaper the third largest contributor to McKenna’s campaign effort.
See the ad for yourself below [image in email deleted] — and then join us in calling out this outrageous ad by making an urgent contribution of $3 to help us fight back.
Jay and the Seattle Times have had their differences over the years. They supported the Iraq War while Jay voted against it, for example.
But this absolutely takes the cake.
Executives at the Times are claiming that this was purely a business decision. But perception matters, and you can understand why it’s so hard to imagine how they can hope to present themselves as an impartial source when they’re spending nearly $80,000 supporting McKenna’s campaign.
We can’t allow this to go unanswered. Will you contribute $3 right now to help us fight back against this unprecedented move?
Thank you for standing with Jay against this ridiculous expenditure.
Jay Inslee for Washington
* Times Co. criticized for McKenna, gay-marriage campaigns (seattletimes.com)
* Seattle Times to boost McKenna with $75,750 in ads (seattlepi.com)