Oops: WSJ.com Ad Calls McCain Win Before Debate

Journal blames clerical error

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This morning, before Senator John McCain even agreed to attend tonight’s debate, a Web ad paid for by the McCain campaign appeared alongside a Wall Street Journal article boldly declaring him the winner. The foreign policy debate with Barack Obama isn’t scheduled until 9 p.m. tonight.

WSJ.com Ad Calls McCain Win Before Debate

Credit for the screenshot goes to a reader of Chris Cillizza’s now aptly titled “The Fix” blog at WashingtonPost.com. The ad read, “McCain Wins Debate!” unfortunately recalling the Chicago Tribune’s 1948 error declaring Republican Thomas E. Dewey victorious over Harry Truman.

WSJ.com Ad Calls McCain Win Before Debate

Another ad, according to the same report but lacking a screenshot, quoted campaign manager Rick Davis relaying that “McCain won the debate—hands down.” The Journal would not confirm this second ad appeared.

Actually, most of WebProNews’s inquiries into how this occurred were not answered, but WSJ.com vice president of advertising, Joseph Gallagher, said “this was purely human error,” as opposed to an automated contextual advertising one. “It was obviously supposed to launch in the pm,” he said, “and it was mistakenly launched in the am.”

Gallagher said the mistake was caught “immediately” and was taken down.

Ashley Huston, a spokesperson for Dow Jones, the Journal’s parent company recently purchased by News Corporation, chalked up the premature running of the ad to a clerical error. “The advertising was removed as soon as discovered, and we regret our mistake,” she said.

No one from Dow Jones or the WSJ answered other questions regarding who approved the ad, the editorial process involved in accepting ads, potential ethical considerations, the possibility of the ad being confused with a headline, whether the ad would have run even if McCain hadn’t decided to attend the debate, or whether the Journal would have run it in the event the editorial staff or polls decided he’d actually lost—not answering all likely a smart move on their part.

The WSJ.com advertising page says ads require a 5-day lead-time, so it could be the ad was placed, at the latest, before Monday—and likely before the campaign knew McCain would temporarily “suspend” his campaign.

The young man answering the phone for the McCain campaign assured us anyone with the authority to make a statement was on a plane for Mississippi—every single one of them—but promised to forward our inquiries to the appropriate officials in the off-chance they become available.

The McCain campaign has yet to reply otherwise for request for comment. The Obama/Biden camp had not responded by press time.


Oops: WSJ.com Ad Calls McCain Win Before Debate
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  • Guest

    OBAMA self declard ONE the world is waiting for, is arrogant & challenged that McCain does not have to fear a debate. Now that McCain has agreed to debate, guess who is panicking.. The self GODE SEND ONE & his obedient devotees.

  • Guest

    OBAMA self declard ONE the world is waiting for, is arrogant & challenged that McCain does not have to fear a debate. Now that McCain has agreed to debate, guess who is panicking.. The self GOD SEND ONE & his obedient devotees.

    • Guest

      u r stupid oh mitee dumfk

      • Guest

        Pop quiz!!


        How can you tell someone can’t think for themselvers?? 


        They spew their hate laced talking points from El Rushbo.


        Hell you even CALL yourself ditto-heads…  As in, I agree with EVERYTHING you say.


        Sheep.  Ba-a-a-a–a-ah!!!!

  • Guest

    So, some say Obama is arrogant, but I think they’re confusing that with intelligent, what a concept, we haven’t seen that for some time.  I would much rather have a smart president, one I don’t feel I can sit down and have a beer with.  I would prefer to have a president smarter than most of us.

    Go Obama!!!!!

  • http://www.Tribal-Sports-Wear.net Wholesale T-Shirts & Apparel Club

    With all the smoke and mirrors in politics today, a clerical error of this nature always makes me stop and say….. Hmmmmmmmm…

    For any company, having your promotional materials (webpage, product, ads, etc.) ready to go either way is a good idea. However what makes me really wonder sometimes what the real truth behind it all is, is why is the mistake always something like – Such and Such Wins!! You never see it happen the other way – Such and Such Lost!!! Well atleast I haven’t.

    So my opinion on this one is really simple. It is as follows….


    Blank Wholesale T-Shirts and Apparel Club that’s Open to the Public!

  • Andy

    I MIGHT have bought the "clerical error" thingy …



    … if the same thing hadn’t happened in the Washington Post as well’



    • Blowski

      Google’s DoubleClick provide advertising for both Washington Post and WSJ.com. If it was DoubleClick’s mistake, then the mistake would be replicated across both (and possibly more) of those websites.

  • A.Seput
    Hell if  he is declare winner I don’t know why we should have Voting we can save lots money and just say Hey people McCain is winner.

    Boy do we have some Idiots out there

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    jill nihanha

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