H/t to Jim Edwards, the former managing editor of AdWeek, for making us aware of the following (full article HERE):
Ad agencies for the U.S. Census Bureau appear to have learned nothing from a decade-old White House scandal — because they’re busy repeating history.
Back in 2000, the White House was discovered trading ad buys with TV networks in return for positive spin in its war on drugs. That covert operation, which exposed millions to anti-drug propaganda masquerading as drama and sitcoms, ended in disgrace and the White House promised to cancel the program.
Ten years later, that promise is long forgotten. Globalhue, the ad agency that controls much of the government’s ad money targeting minorities for Census 2010, sent a letter to the National Newspaper Association demanding that publishers run six articles about the census or else the government would cancel its ads. (The NNPA represents community newspapers.)
While there was no explicit requirement of positive coverage demanded by Globalhue, the implication is clear: How long do you think the agency would continue placing ads in any newspaper that was digging dirt against the national headcount?
According to congressional hearings in February and March, the letter from Globalhue CEO Don Coleman said:
“In lieu of free ad space, all papers must agree to running six articles (preferably during hiatus weeks) about the Census 2010 as well as two editorials. If paper does not agree to the added value stipulations, buy will be canceled immediately.”
Amazingly, the arrangement proposed in the letter — that ad buys be contingent upon articles written by the papers themselves — is exactly the same as the one conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy during its disgraced ads-for-coverage scheme.