Immigration consternation: Progress email ad outrages
The marketing email is nothing new, and if you've ever purchased anything online, you've probably gotten 'em, probably deleted 'em.
That's what Zach Carter usually does, until one from the Daily Progress caught his attention June 16 with this subject line: "Tell President Obama YOU Support Arizona's Enforcement Law! –Paid Advertisement by NumbersUSA."
Carter calls the subject line "obnoxious" and describes the ad's content as "raging right-wing propaganda."
The email that went out to subscribers of the DailyProgress.com is an ad for NumbersUSA, an organization with the logo, "for lower immigration levels," and it asks recipients to click a button to send a fax to President Obama supporting Arizona's controversial new anti-illegal immigration laws.
"I don't like to be asked to support this from a news organization," says Carter, a journalist who is economics editor for Alternet. "It's not like they wrote a story about this and I disagreed."
In an email he fired off to the Progress, he asks, "Why are you sending me this ad asking me to endorse racism in Arizona?"
Former Albemarle supervisor David Slutzky also received the e-ad, and was equally perturbed. "I'm fine with the Daily Progress or any other paper expressing opinions in editorials," he says. "What troubles me is when they step outside that for advocacy."
He calls the missive "inappropriate" and "unseemly." Slutzky, too, contacted the paper to share his displeasure and notes, "The Daily Progress endorsed me. I don't have an ax to grind with them."
Progress publisher Lawrence McConnell acknowledges hearing from readers who think the email was inappropriate. "The response we've gotten so far indicated this did not meet expectations for email marketing," he says.
He points out that the email states at the top the content does not reflect the views of the Daily Progress or parent company Media General.
"This is not something we're sponsoring," he says. "It's a paid advertisement as it says. It is not our message."
Still, the response the paper has received may have it sticking with resorts advertising weekend getaways rather than organizations that advocate immigration policy.
"We're carefully evaluating the comments we've received today," says McConnell on June 16. "We may reevaluate sending out emails of a political nature."
And by June 17, the decision was made. In an email to the paper's marketing list, writes McConnell, "...[W]e've decided to reject in the future any email advertising of a political nature, either about candidates or issues."
Updated 4pm with the correct spelling of Zach Carter's name.
This story appeared online only.