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The latest MoveOn shoe to drop was over at The New York Times. The public editor has said we screwed up. He is the ombudsman whose job it is to examine the actions of The New York Times itself and tell what he finds on the pages of The Times.

Today the public editor said The Times itself was wrong to give MoveOn a discounted rate to run that ad attacking General Petraeus as "General Betray Us."

MoveOn got a special rate of about $65,000 for an ad that should have cost more than double that rate. Today MoveOn actually sent The Times another check for nearly $80,000 so it can be seen as having paid the proper amount.

The editor, a man named Clark Hoyt, said the ad "ignited charges that the liberal Times aided its friends at MoveOn.org with a steep discount in the price paid to publish its message, which might amount to an illegal contribution to a political action committee."

Hoyt also said: "The ad appears to fly in the face of an internal advertising acceptability manual that says, 'We do not accept opinion advertisements that are attacks of a personal nature.'"

Hope that Hoyt isn't the only one around there who thinks the ad was an attack of a personal nature. I'm afraid he might be.

The fact is, the publisher thought it was an error, at least it was a mistake promoting dialogue, and the vice president of sales thought it was only a mistake of not charging enough. Hoyt thought differently, saying: "I'd have demanded changes to eliminate 'Betray Us,' a particularly low blow when aimed at a soldier."

Three cheers for Clark Hoyt. I bet he isn't terribly popular among Times staffers today.

That's My Word.

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