WashPost Desperately Tries to Dispel Fake News Label with Tom Hanks-Narrated Super Bowl Ad

The Washington Post took the unusual – and expensive – step to air an ad during yesterday’s Super Bowl to dispel the notion that they are not the worst of fake news purveyors with an ad narrated by actor Tom Hanks telling audiences that journalists are “important” to society.

Hanks narrated the Sunday TV spot is meant to combat fake news and burnish the reputation of journalists for the Washington-based newspaper.

The 60-second ad for the newspaper contained photos illustrating some of the nation’s biggest stories from World War Two to the present with Hanks talking about how important journalists are as “gatherers of fact, as well as the profession’s larger importance to society,” the Post said in its Friday announcement.

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“The Super Bowl is a remarkable moment to recognize the courage and commitment of journalists around the world that is so essential to our democracy,” Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan said. “We decided to seize the opportunity to make this a milestone moment in our ongoing campaign.”

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The spot will end with the paper’s recent slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Journalist Marie Colvin, who died covering the siege of Homs in Syria in 2012, will also be shown, as will radical Muslim activist Jamal Khashoggi who supplied some few opinion editorials to the paper before his death in Turkey last year.

The paper only recently jumped in to purchase the 60-second slot during the big game. The Post reportedly paid up to $5.25 million for the spot.

“This was a chance for a broader message about the role journalists play in our everyday lives and the risks they take to bring us the facts,” CEO Ryan concluded.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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