Seattle Times political ads ‘didn’t appear to move the dial at all’

The Seattle Times explained last month that it was launching a $75,000 ad effort on behalf of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna to prove that “in-paper advertising is an effective means for campaigns to deliver their messages to voters.”

It appears the newspaper backed a loser and, thus, its ad-effectiveness experiment failed.

William Dietrich, who worked at the Seattle Times from 1982 to 2008 (on and off, he notes), writes:

Though McKenna has yet to concede and vote counting remains glacial in Washington State, it appears likely he will lose narrowly to Democrat Jay Inslee, as polls predicted all along. Washington hasn’t elected a Republican governor for three decades.

More importantly, the Times blatant favoritism of one candidate over another didn’t appear to move the dial at all. …

My wife wanted to cancel our subscription. We didn’t, out of my loyalty (I worked at the paper for a quarter century) and my trust that reporters would do their best to remain fair.

Dietrich says the paper’s ad strategy “seemed pathetic, extortionist (buy our ads or we give it to your opponent free!) and now an abject failure. …The McKenna ads were not just ethically wrong, they were dull.”

I’ve invited the paper to respond.

* The gift that didn’t give (williamdietrich.com)
* Seattle Times pays for McKenna ads (jimromenesko.com)

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