Seattle Times Purchases Political Ads

Friday, November 02, 2012


The Seattle Times Company has undertaken an experiment it says will show newspapers deserve more political ad dollars: buying and publishing political ads on its own pages. Readers have seen full-page ads in favor of the Republican candidate for governor, as well as ads in support of a referendum that would legalize gay marriage. Bob Garfield speaks with Eli Sanders of Seattle's alt-weekly The Stranger, about why the ads have infuriated subscribers and the newspaper's staff, while leaving everyone else scratching their heads.


Eli Sanders

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [3]

Paulo Hugs from Seattle

If they have the money for it then why not advertise. Marketing in Seattle creates jobs and doesn't hurt anybody.

Nov. 28 2012 12:33 PM
Lack Thereof from Seattle


The Stranger makes no secret of it's liberal leanings. It's editorials are unquestionably frank statements of opinion, argued passionately. And they often put them on the front page.

The Seattle Times, on the other hand, purports to be an unbiased, even handed source of pure neutrality. And these were not editorial pieces run in the opinion section as you seem to think - these were full-page color advertisements, in regular advertising positions throughout the paper, run for free at the paper's expense.

The Stranger might endorse a candidate in an editorial, and they might even run their editorial endorsements on the front page. But if that candidate wanted to run a full page ad mixed into the bulk of the paper, they'd have to pay just like everyone else.

Nov. 10 2012 02:31 AM

I have been searching; have they yet published their traditional survey of how the staff proposes to vote in the presidential election? The quadrennial survey that reveals that Slate staffers vote something like 90%+ for the Democrat, with the rest of the votes split evenly among Greens, Libertarians and Republicans.

So the Seattle Times staff didn't like this? Why do I have the feeling that if the only ad that had run, was the pro-gay rights story, this would have been consigned to the "Dog bites man" file.

I'm trying to figure out how the ad purchase by the newspaper's advertising division was supposed to have damaged the news division. Where's the news in any of that? Newspaper editorial boards all over the country are endorsing candidates, routinely Democratic candidates. Why should we believe that there is any magical divide between the "news" and the editorial board of of a major newspaper, but that those same news divisions can be tarnished by rare advertising stunts?

Look, The Stranger is the left-wing alternative weekly that helped propel Dan Savage to prominence. The Stranger is no, uh, stranger to controversy itself, or to regular attacks on the Seattle Times:

Nov. 03 2012 10:32 AM

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