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.
WaPo’s ad highlights Anderson Cooper and Bret Baier? https://t.co/SKxFtiP77Q
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) February 4, 2019
I could have made that WaPo ad in about 20 minutes and I only would have charged $2 million. (Would have had @BrentScher do voice over)
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) February 4, 2019
Yeah, I have a lot of friends who work at the WaPo, but that ad was masturbatory mush. It will only hurt their brand.
— Esoteric Jeff (@EsotericCD) February 4, 2019
that wapo ad pic.twitter.com/DbBy1qIm2r
— maura quint (@behindyourback) February 4, 2019
Where is the wapo commercial about the very fake news media
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) February 4, 2019
That WaPo ad about the importance of the media in this time of “darkness” included clips of Fox News reporters.
— Isaac Chotiner (@IChotiner) February 4, 2019
The WaPo ad cannot come sooner.
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) February 4, 2019
The WaPo ad makes me proud to go to work tomorrow
— Anne Rumsey Gearan (@agearan) February 4, 2019
Imagine working at WaPo and wanting a raise & seeing that bullshit $5,000,000 ad
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 4, 2019
Wow I just cried during that Tom Hanks WaPo ad. Wow.
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) February 4, 2019
I missed the WaPo ad but wouldn’t have missed the 63 reporters they could have hired with that money.
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) February 4, 2019
I dig the WaPo commercial but it's kinda sad that journalism needed a Super Bowl ad.
— Sarah Baicker (@sbbaicker) February 4, 2019
Standing ovation in my living room for that WaPo ad.
— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) February 4, 2019
All my friends applauded at the WaPo commercial so at least I have friends who support my occupation as I am currently doing it (literally watching, tweeting, assigning, editing, slacking).
— Saba Hamedy (@saba_h) February 4, 2019
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