The Washington Post Spent Millions on Super Bowl Ad Honoring Journalists. The Response is Mixed.


The Washington Post ran an ad during the Super Bowl to shine the spotlight on the dangers of reporting and the importance of journalism in today’s world.

Narrated by Tom Hanks, the ad features scenes from the World War II to the present as well as focuses on reporters killed and missing.

Those reporters include Austin Tice who is missing in Syria but suspected to still be alive, Marie Colvin who died in 2012 and Jamal Khashoggi of the Washington Post, who was murdered in 2018.

The ad also featured Fox News’ Bret Baier as well as CNN’s Anderson Cooper reporting from the field.

CEO Fred Ryan said in a statement appearing on WaPo’s website, “The Super Bowl is a remarkable moment to recognize the courage and commitment of journalists around the world that is so essential to our democracy.”

He added: “We decided to seize the opportunity to make this a milestone moment in our ongoing campaign.”

Yet the ad was not without controversy even among WaPo staffers.

Fredrick Kunkle, a staff writer at the paper and co-chair of its union, ripped the $5 million per 30 seconds price tag for the ad as an “infuriating expense.”

Likewise, responses on Twitter were sharply divided, with some saying the ad made them proud to be journalists while others wondered just how many writers’ salaries could have been paid with the same millions spent on the Super Bowl spot.

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