Snarknado website Gawker featured this item yesterday:
New York Times Doesn’t Know Who Bought Strange Pro-Bloomberg Ad
Late last year, print readers of The New York Times discovered a full-page color ad, signed by a group called “Appreciative New Yorkers,” touting former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s policy achievements. “Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg and your administration, for all that you have done for New York City,” it read in large lettering. Who are these thankful New Yorkers with a spare $70,000 to spend on praising a politician? Not even the Times knows.
Usually the Times will disclose the names of advertisers when asked, even if the ads themselves are unclear—for example, when a PR firm owned by the personal flack of Roger Ailes purchased two Times Book Review ads for Zev Chafets’ 2013 Ailes biography, in an effort to distract from Gabriel Sherman’s unauthorized biography of the Fox News chief.
Whoever wanted to thank Mayor Bloomberg, however, took unusual steps to make sure they couldn’t be identified . . .
(Clicking on discovered in the first sentence takes you to this excellent Dr. Ads post.)
In case you missed it, here’s the ad:
More from the Gawker piece:
According to a Times executive briefed on the matter, the business side agreed to an arrangement in which the buyer needed only to submit an alias and a billing address, which the buyer supplied only after Times personnel promised not to divulge it. Payment was made with an untraceable traveler’s check.
The business side never determined the buyer’s identity. “The entire process was extremely secretive,” the executive said.
Last month – after we tried several times to contact the Appreciative New Yorkers, to no avail – the hardworking staff asked Did Michael Bloomberg Pay For A NYT Ad Praising Michael Bloomberg? and, a week later, Did Michael Bloomberg Run Another NYT Ad Praising Michael Bloomberg?
Apparently Gawker readers share our suspicions. From its comments section:
Stranger things have happened, yeah?