Sudanese Ad Can't Wash Away Genocide But Censorship Is Worse
Putting aside the fact a publisher can accept or reject any ad they choose for any reason whether they agree with the ad's message or not, human rights activists are not pleased with The New York Times' decision to take $929,000 from Sudan for an eight page insert touting the country's "peaceful, prosperous and democratic future. On one hand you can say this is wrong because it attempts to glorify what many, including the Times itself, feel is a not so nice government. On the other hand, you can laud the move as a clear separation of church and state between the paper's editorial and its advertising, the kind of thing American's love to celebrate.
There are, however small, always bright spots even in the thickest of the muck and that's likely what this Sudanese ad campaign is attempting to convey. While perhaps a contrarian point of view in this instance, the effort appears to be an attempt to inject some optimism, some upside - if there can be any - to the horrific state of affairs. Certainly we're not supporting a government that reportedly does bad things to its citizens but we do support the right of anyone to tell their side of the story even if some see it as a blatant lie. Besides, it's just an ad. People know the difference between advertising "facts" and editorial "facts."