See that gigantic Twitter widget in the right third of the Washington Post‘s main web page? That’s the Obama campaign’s Truth Team 2012 Twitter widget, purchased as an online ad. You’d need a magnifying glass to see the “Advertisement” disclaimer at the top, which is less than an eighth of an inch high in gray type on a gray background. Here in the newsroom, it took a few minutes to realize the thing was an ad.
But it gets better. Just last night, the Post put up its own piece on how the Obama campaign is taking over the web page of the Columbus Dispatch:
Residents of Columbus, Ohio, might be forgiven if they thought their local newspaper had been commandeered Tuesday by President Obama’s reelection campaign.
A major portion of the Web site for the Columbus Dispatch was taken over by advertising for Obama, whose campaign is pushing supporters to the polls as voters in the crucial swing state begin casting early ballots. By early evening, Obama for America campaign ads still flanked both sides of the newspaper’s landing page, with more ads across the top and bottom and a large display ad that took up much of the remaining screen when expanded.
Scrolling down led the user to a regular Dispatch news story on… the start of early voting.