The Washington Post has pulled a "humorous" TV spot that included the
suggestion of a reporter in danger and references to a kidnapping.
The spot, which ran several times on local Washington stations, aired only
days after the confirmation of the death of kidnapped and murdered Wall Street
Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Eric Grant, director of community affairs for the Post,
said that in response to a query from Broadcasting & Cable, the paper determined that the spot was
inappropriate for now, but it could return at a later date.
The connection was clearly coincidental but unfortunately timed.
In the commercial, a city editor type expresses concern over the whereabouts
of a staffer, Harris, who hasn't been heard from in a couple of hours.
"I hope he's OK," says the worried editor.
When Harris calls in, sounds of sirens, a car chase and a crash can be heard in
the background as he talks about the kidnapping of "the governor's
He concludes, "It's not good," then reveals that he's been in the
audience of a subpar "B" movie, reviewing the film.
The ad is part of the Post's "If it's important to you, it's important to us"
A similarly themed commercial, for instance, shows a sports editor pressing a
sportswriter over his failure to secure an interview with the pitcher of a
no-hitter, who turns out to be a ninth-grader who had a book report due.
The movie-reviewer ad ran a few times over the weekend and into this
The Post said it received only one complaint from a viewer.
Both newspaper ombudsman Michael Getler and media critic
Howard Kurtz said they had each recieved a message about the ad, but neither had