by WorldTribune Staff, February 4, 2019
The anti-Trump Washington Post laid out a cool $5.2 million for an ad during the Feb. 3 Super Bowl broadcast. Tom Hanks narrated the ad which highlighted journalists, including slain Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who work “oftentimes in the face of grave danger.”
The Post’s publisher, Fred Ryan, noted: “We feel that this is the right moment, at the right venue, to present this important message to the large audience of Americans and international viewers that watch the Super Bowl.”
Ostensibly the Post’s Super Bowl ad buy championed the American Free Press, but it represented a clearly partisan perspective and coming amid the continued laying off of thousands of staffers in the media industry, it didn’t even sit well with the paper’s own reporters’ union.
Fredrick Kunkle, the co-chair of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild’s bargaining unit, tweeted “The Post is now paying, say, $5M/30 seconds to tout journalistic freedom during one of the glitziest and — given the NFL’s knee-taking protests and concussions — more controversial sports events in our country.”
“While I too am extremely proud of the Post and its legacy,” Kunkle continued in a number of follow up tweets, “this seems like an especially infuriating expense for a company that has: a) tried to take health care insurance from part-time employees b) moved everyone toward riskier forms of health insurance, c) made it easier to lay people off d) cut their severance e) frozen their pensions and resisted the smallest enhancements to remaining retirement benefits until Sen. Bernie Sanders shamed it into doing so, f) refused to add a single day of paid parental leave to its measly four weeks and g) must know that other media companies, sensing trouble ahead, have been trimming staff.”
USA Today noted that the Post’s 30-second Super Bowl ad “shows several slain and missing journalists affiliated with The Post and other publications. …The commercial shows major news events from World War II to the present day and describes how journalists are gatherers of facts on the world stage.” The ad ends with the paper’s logo and its slogan: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
USA Today also noted that Hanks has been an outspoken advocate for the media, even delivering a brand new, $1,700 coffee machine to the “embattled” White House press corps.