Newspaper ads take aim at Martha’s Vineyard

Cape Cod Times, ProJo, and Boston Globe accept ads from right-leaning nonprofit.

A migrant moves to embrace MVCS CEO Beth Folcarelli. Migrants were met with care and compassion, but that's been skewed by Republican politicians and their followers. — Rich Saltzberg

A newspaper that bills itself as the daily newspaper of the Cape and Islands allowed a right-leaning nonprofit to purchase a full-page ad trolling one of the Islands it purports to cover.

The Cape Cod Times ran a full-page ad from Citizens for Sanity, which mocked Martha’s Vineyard’s response to the nearly 50 migrants who were transported to the Island by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The ad was also in the Providence Journal. A different advertisement, printed by the Boston Globe, took a shot at U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and, in the process, also mocked Martha’s Vineyard. (Full disclosure: I was a bureau chief for the Cape Cod Times for 12 years, and briefly curated a newsletter for the Boston Globe. I left both news organizations on good terms.) 

The Martha’s Vineyard Times won’t quote the ads, but they portrayed the Island in mocking tones, much the same way that Fox News host Tucker Carlson has on his show and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has repeatedly on Twitter.

The Martha’s Vineyard Times received an inquiry to run the same full-page ad that was run in both the Cape Cod Times and Providence Journal. Publisher Peter Oberfest rejected the ad, saying it did not meet the newspaper’s standards, and calling it “a very bad joke at the expense of human beings.”

On its website, Citizens for Sanity highlights some of the billboards and ads they’ve taken out across the country. The nonprofit’s mission statement is “to return common sense to America, to highlight the importance of logic and reason, and to defeat ‘wokeism’ and anti-critical thinking ideologies that have permeated every sector of our country and threaten the very freedoms that are foundational to the American Dream.”

Once they convince a news outlet like the Boston Globe or Cape Cod Times to run their advertisements, they wear it as a badge of honor on Twitter.

The newspaper ads are the latest attacks on the Island in the wake of the migrants and refugees being transported to the Vineyard with no notice, welcomed and cared for by volunteers, and then brought to Joint Base Cape Cod to an emergency shelter, which has better facilities and resources for the individuals to make the transition into housing.

But that hasn’t stopped followers of DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Cruz, R-Texas, from skewing the narrative. Describing Martha’s Vineyard as a “tony enclave” that “deported” the migrants and refugees at the first opportunity. It’s a narrative that’s led to threatening messages to those who advocated for the migrants and refugees, like state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and some of the volunteers.

Anne Brennan (no relation), editor of the Cape Cod Times, referred questions about the ad to Audrey Pass, a spokesperson for the newspaper’s parent company, Gannett. Pass asked The Times to send her a copy of the ad in question, and then asked for the questions by email.

Pass referred the question to another Gannett spokesperson, who ignored the questions of whether the newspaper received any backlash, whether the ad was vetted, and whether there was any policy in place to handle such ads. Instead, the spokesperson issued a one-line statement. “Cape Cod Times and the Providence Journal published this ad on Sept. 22, 2022. We do not plan to run this advertisement again,” the email stated.

Heidi Flood, a spokesperson for the Boston Globe, emailed back a response to the Warren ad, also ignoring the questions, with a brief statement: “The Globe has no comment.”

Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University and the author of a media blog as well as several books on journalism, said the news outlets could have rejected the ads in question.

“These ads are not only designed to inflame an already volatile situation, but they also promote falsehoods. As we all know, the Venezuelan immigrants were welcomed in Martha’s Vineyard with open arms,” Kennedy wrote. “Senator Warren is dragged into it for no reason except that she’s one of the right’s favorite targets. News organizations reject ads for violating their standards all the time, and these should have been rejected as well.”


  1. Imagine being so devoid of morals and ethics that you print a pack of lies for a few ad bucks. Shame on those newspapers for parroting the fascist rhetoric of those slobs on Faux News.

      • They are. However, shaming them (if they even have shame) is simply the consequence of their morally and ethically bankrupt choices.

      • they are– and the privately owned newspapers are not obligated to run them.
        They chose to accept the money for what is clearly propaganda.
        No one is saying that the opinions of lying pieces of fecal matter should be banned.
        But citizens who have a sense of morality and some respect for the truth are free to express their displeasure at the choices of the editors of these publications.
        I will be more than happy to further explain the concept of free speech to you if you bother to reply to me.

  2. The papers that ran the ads have lowered their standards and to many in the area, probably damaged their reputations. That’s something a paper can never get back. Meanwhile Gov. DeSantis is about to find out how the people in his state react when their lives are threatened.

  3. Don’t you wonder what they’re trying to accomplish with these ads? Seems to me the money would be better spent defending DeSantis and his cronies against the lawsuits that result from their cruel publicity stunt.

    • They’re reaching out to all the stupid people who eat up the Republican lies. An extraordinary number of Republicans still believe Trump won in 2020. Repeat lies often enough and there are always plenty of idiots to believe it. Fairness, honesty, and truth are not part of the Republican Party— and it’s worked fairly well for them.

  4. As a manager for almost 40 years my experience has been that employees always think they leave on “good terms”. Usually, not so much. Do you think you might be a bit biased in your reporting?

  5. Martha’s Vineyard got pretty sensitive, welcome to the real world. People say things about you that aren’t true, when you’re in politics, people take ads out that slander you and demean you. Wow, and other news water is wet. Very disappointing the MV Times appears so naive.

    Yes, ads can always be rejected when they don’t meet standards. But by not providing a quote from a source that is legitimate that could describe why the ads HAVE been published, another media professor, for example, I’m going to go with the Boston Globe, even though the ads were execrable. This reporting is uneven.

    Real life, people. Note to Martha’s Vineyard: if you can’t take the heat, leave the kitchen. In the world beyond our beautiful island, life is more complex and people tell lies about each other for money, power, and fame. It’s real. I hope the MVT accepts this comment. As far as I can tell, it crosses no boundaries and violates no standards set.

    • If you don’t think people tell lies about each other for money, power or fame on the island, you obviously haven’t been here very long.

    • We don’t always pick our battles. Sometiems our battles pick us. I don’t accept the premise of your argument here. Imagine if Nazi propaganda had the whole world believing that Jews deserved the Holocaust because people chose to just let the lies spread and said nothing because “that’s just the way it is.” Truth is always worth fighting for. We know the world is full of dishonest, immoral people who do dishonest, immoral things. That’s just all the more reason to fight the fight. What kind of a world do you want to live in? Your actions and choices do make a difference.

    • I’m trying to figure out your point, here, Jennifer. You’re looking for the “other side” of why the ads were published? For what reason? To normalize lying, political dirty tricks, and bigotry? And then you’re telling the people of MV that they’re naive for recognizing and speaking about the lying, tricks, and bigotry? The people of Martha’s Vineyard are just everyday American citizens, like anywhere else in this country. And they did what most Americans would do for people who are in need–they helped them. They did nothing wrong. They just wanted to help. And the migrants did nothing wrong. The Florida governor and some right-leaning bullies, however, took extra steps to inflict cruelty on a group of people and the people who did the right thing by helping. Americans are good people. So I’m not sure who it is that you think you’re standing up for here. But I don’t think you’re making the statement you think you are.

    • The whole point of the article is to make you aware of the political bias of news agency and take it into account. The mv times never said that the globe or cape cod times are “fake news” only that they ran an ad designed to make you angry. It worked

  6. As with just about everything the Reichwing does these days these ads weren’t meant to add anything positive to the immigration issue, which is a very legitimate issue that needs fixing, and has for decades. The ads have two goals: (1) to stoke anger, resentment, and grievance whether it’s against the migrants, or the compassionate residents of MV; and (2) to own the ‘libs’. One has to feel sorry for all those whose lives revolve around hated and jealousy, especially if they also call themselves Christians.

  7. I have been reading and watching all of this from Mexico and I could not be more proud of the Vineyard I know and have loved for forty-one years.
    What in the world was Cape Cod Times thinking? What an incredible stupid business and PR move for a few bucks.
    I hope they pay the price for this senseless blunder.
    And BTW George, thanks for not quoting any of the ad.

  8. For a bunch of islanders who always Claim to be so compassionate, and tolerant it doesn’t shock me one bit to see all the constant hatred and vile comments about those who have different opinions and or values!
    Kinda reminds me of when Marines and soldiers returned from combat in Vietnam and how they treated us, some to this day, even the guys who got drafted, those who came back severely wounded and still suffer!
    I clearly remember it like it was yesterday and especially whenever I read comments like these all the time.
    As old Chesty said “We are totally surrounded, that simplifies the problem”.
    I also have a bias for the truth!

    Thanks George.

    • We are totally surrounded by Liberals.
      People who think that we should not have invaded Vietnam.
      Or Afghanistan, Iraq, or Iran.
      Should we invade Ukarine and free it’s people from the yoke of Communism?
      Call in the Marines?

    • Woody, having different opinions and beliefs about facts is one thing. Having opinions and beliefs formed around lies is another. The truth is worth fighting for.

    • Most of the negative comments here refer to people who have no “values” (trumpists), and opinions based on lies and falsehoods deserve to be mocked, ridiculed, and scoffed at. The residents of MV have been the target of an endless stream of lies since DeSantis pulled his stunt. Are they to sit back and be slandered without calling these people out for their campaign of hate?
      Your mention of the treatment that servicemen received when they returned from SE Asia is a huge logical fallacy, known as a false equivalence.

    • I didn’t go to Vietnam, but I was in the service during it.
      When I returned home, no one yelled at me.
      In fact, the widespread belief that soldiers returning from Vietnam were routinely harassed is not true.
      Indeed, there were a few isolated incidents, but it is my belief that it was very rare.
      Many more people were harassed, assaulted and spit on for protesting the war than participating in it.
      I don’t personally know any veterans who were harassed, but I was for opposing it.
      Especially while I was on active duty.

    • I keep getting censored Woody, I’ll try my own experience. When I returned from Vietnam I went through Washington state and St. Louis/Lambert airports. There were FBI Agents in both restrooms I visited. Many men wanted to change into their “civies”. They were not allowed,. Change when you get home or you are coming with us, in handcuffs. I wanted to wear my uniform, I was being picked up by a WWII Marine Veteran who stormed the beach at Iwo Jima. My Father. I knew why they wanted get out of uniform. The phrases I remember hearing were “baby burner” and “killer”. Welcome Home I never heard until about the 1980’s. It was 1970, my Mom welcomed me home.

      • Bob, I have many, many very similar stories coming home, but I won’t waste my time.
        However, 3 weeks ago I was waiting outside my Acupuncturist’s doorway for my weekly appoint and this old bag saw my walking cane, personally made for me in Texas, made by other Veterans out of donated Christmas Trees. Mine is #401 of 1000.
        A woman heading to the ATM next door saw my personalized cane and all Holy hellb immediately broke loose!
        She said “I grew up in the 70’s and I know all about you dam guys” an began totally freaking out big time, to say the least!
        Fortunately my totally shocked Acupuncturist saw the whole thing and swept me in his office.
        That was fifty one years ago and she has carried that deep hatred for 51+ ready to express in a nanosecond!

        I am a big boy, I can deal with it and have been since my return 50+ years ago as long ‘as they keep their distance’!

        When I first returned my reaction was very much different as if you are not a ~Wash A Shore~ I am quite sure you would remember.

        *End of Story*

  9. Right to Free Speech. Censorship is the downfall of civilization. Allow people to access and see other viewpoints and allow them to form their own opinions. Leaners to the left only see their perspective and attempt to destroy and cancel anyone who feels differently.

    • You’re absolutely right, Mike. I think back in history and of the communist countries of today that shut down opposing views, not the America I grew up with. The Dems and media are trying their hardest to shut down all opposing views. Thank you MV Times for standing up to the democrat regime and allowing opposing views and free thought to be published.

    • So that’s why the right is banning books in schools ? No discussions about gender, slavery or right to choose issues ?
      Excuse me for the whataboutism, but really, how can you be so blind to the irony of your comment given your multiple posts here in support of suppressing the opinions of others ?

  10. Where were the Editorial Boards of these newspapers when these ads were proposed? And now, after their publication, will those same Editorial Boards remain silent? And if they do remain silent, will advertisers in those papers react the papers’ profiting from the misery of migrants who were exploited, and the illegality of the MV stunt? This is why there’s no hope for reconciliation between the sick right and the rest of the polity.

      • Still not sure what your rules are George you let the usual leftest commentators print awful disgusting things about right wing people and you feel it is all right. But when someone goes after your wayward woke friends it never makes the paper. You are no better than the ones you go on about.

        • Bob, if you click on User Agreement at the very bottom of the page, there’s a detailed list of rules to follow when commenting.

    • I just posted a reply to you that I am certain will not pass the “censorship” you speak of.
      But you wouldn’t want to see it, and neither would your 12 year old daughter–
      my apologies to George for having to read it to make my a point–

    • Robert, you are free to publish what ever you want in your newspaper.
      This is America.
      The government does not own the newspapers.
      What part of private property don’t you get?

  11. You do realize, I hope, that the First Amendment only protects speech against interference from the GOVERNMENT. Newspapers are private companies and they can and do, every single day, get to choose what they print. I assume these papers’ business offices think their bottom line will be enhanced by such ads? Maybe it will and maybe it won’t.

  12. So nobody thinks its a problem that people are routinely shipped all over via planes and buses to places like Boise , Denver, Chicago, and NY with absolutely no plan? This has been ongoing for MONTHS and MONTHS . (My friend who lived by the Boise airport saw it first hand all the time). So why is it an issue now when Martha Vineyard has to step up to the plate?
    More importantly, why do all the democrats refuse to address the real issue of migration, where these countries are more than able to support their own people?
    Soft compromised politicians who refuse to address the crime lords that have taken over South American countries. Americans should not have to support every person sneaking across the border. And we do , with food stamps, apartments, phones, education all saddled on the back of working Americans. There is a process of legal immigration but apparently democrats want to throw away the system. We already have tons of drugs coming over with no oversight on who is actually coming. That is very foolish, one day we will all pay the price of this short-sighted view.

    • good for you to acknowledge that the Biden administration is stepping up and moving legal migrants to various places around the country where they may have family members welcome them.
      Of course, many of those working Americans you speak of were once migrants–
      Right ? Talk about short sighted —
      Who mows your grass, tends to your flowers, cooks dinner for you when you go to a restaurant, stocks the shelves in the supermarket or cares for your children in daycare ?
      Guess what– they are not all native Americans.
      And of course, since you are so informed about immigration policies , you do know that every single one of those 50 migrants from Venezuela who were dumped on the Martha’s Vineyard tarmac were legally within the borders of the United States — Right ?
      Ask your “friend” if the officials at the Boise airport had any notice that a plane load of migrants were arriving.

  13. Funny how you want the rest of the country to care for your policies, but when the real world washed up on your shore you threw humanity out with your trash . Your fake love for others only goes as far as their donations to your special interests.

    • No one threw these refugees from Communist Venezuela off the Island.
      They were told what would be available to them on the Cape.
      They were not lied to.

    • It has already been said numerous times, Steve, but I’ll say it one more: the State of Massachusetts, NOT Martha’s Vineyard, was responsible for the decision to have the migrants moved off. If you have any questions about that, you can contact Gov. Charlie Baker’s office.

    • It’s not the criticism, Karen, it’s the malicious deception being perpetrated to push false narratives that is the problem- and that matters, because without the truth, how do you know who to vote for? Right-wing media got it wrong this time around.

  14. Wealthy enclave playground for the wealthy in the north east and New England the point is not about humanity not about who is right or who’s wrong it’s about who’s going to pay for it people in these places seem to have no problem with them, being absorbed into urban communities where they do not reside, and are not responsible for the impact on services and who will pay for them or as Democrats always say, pay your fair share since I taxpayer who lives near an urban center have to shoulder the the responsibility that the federal government has created while you people sit on your beaches and watch beautiful sunsets, and think happy thoughts, and how the world should be rich !

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