The Not In Our Name project has had a setback:
We had planned for the new Not In Our Name statement of conscience to run on Friday, January 21, in the New York Times. We had a contract and a confirmation number. This ad was to be our answer to the inauguration, and it was timed to appear in the middle of the inauguration news coverage.
The ad did not run. The advertising department were themselves deeply surprised by this, and have not been able to explain what happened. In fact, we were told that to their knowledge this had never happened before.
At the same time, the Times lead editorial said that this should be a time of legitimacy and acceptance for the President — and that this was especially something that the opposition has to come to terms with.
It is unacceptable that we do not yet know why something that “has never happened before” happened — a full page paid ad, accepted and slotted in, did not run. This is especially so when the content of the ad, the need to resist the course that this administration has set, is so important to the people of this country and the world. There needs to be an investigation of what went wrong and why. If it was just an honest mistake, we expect that the Times itself would want to know why in order to prevent it from occurring again.
The Times has given us a new ad reservation number and assured us that the ad will now run on this Sunday. However, there is the danger of it being buried in the back of the first section. This would be another way of marginalizing and rendering relatively invisible the voice of conscience and dissent.
We urge signers and supporters of the statement to e-mail the Times to demand that the ad run in the Sunday Week in Review section (where there will be summation of the inauguration) or in the first 10 pages of the first section. Send to the President and General Manager of the Times at firstname.lastname@example.org and to the advertising department at email@example.com.
it has come to my attention that, for reasons as yet unexplained, the full-page advertisement taken out by the Not In Our Name project and scheduled to run on Friday Jan 21, did not run. The ad was accepted and a confirmation number was issued, putting the Times in clear breach of contract. Since its timing was particularly crucial to the effectiveness of the ad in question, the Times has a great deal of explaining and compensating to do.
Moreover, on the day on which the ad was scheduled to run, a Times editorial emphasized “legitimacy and acceptance” of the president and called for those who did not vote for Mr Bush to “wait for another day” to criticize him. The implication is very clear, and if the Times wants to retain public trust there must be a full, unfettered investigation into the reasons for the breach, the results of which investigation should promptly be made public. In addition, the Times must do everything possible to repair the damage done: specifically, the ad, which is now scheduled for Sunday, should run together with the inaugural coverage in the Week in Review section, or within the first ten pages of the front section. Finally, next to the ad the Times should run an apology to the Not In Our Name project.
Anything less will leave in the public mind a very strong impression that the NYT actively suppresses political dissent.