From the New York Times:
The top editor of The Times, Russ Stanton, and several of his deputies vigorously opposed the ad before it was published, but they were overruled by the paper’s business executives, according to people with direct knowledge of the dispute, who were granted anonymity to discuss private conversations.Conroy goes on to say the paper wants website advertising to set the tone for the way ads are presented in the newspaper, rather than have the newspaper set the standard.
Mr. Stanton said only, “Obviously, it was not my decision.”
John Conroy, a spokesman for The Times, said, “Stretching the boundaries was what we were going for.” He said Eddy W. Hartenstein, the publisher and chief executive, and other executives would not comment.
Asked to comment, Geneva Overholser, director of USC's school of journalism, seemed resigned to the new world order: "This isn’t newspapering as it used to be, but that can’t be the determinant any more." At least one reporter, who spoke confidentially, accepted the move as a necessary, money-making evil.