SAN FRANCISCO — The ad in Time magazine and TV Guide features a photograph of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and is headlined, "While TV covered their farewell speech, we were going through her drawers."
It goes on to claim that San Francisco Examiner reporter Phil Bronstein "first broke the story of Imelda's amazing wardrobe" and that "TV doesn't have time for his kind of investigative reporting."
It is all part of the newspaper's attempt to beef up its lagging circulation by trying to persuade Bay Area residents to turn off their TV sets and turn to the afternoon Examiner.
Instead, the ad seems to have turned off reporter Bronstein and much of the Examiner staff.
"The ad takes three years of my work and trivializes it," fumed the investigative reporter, who in fact has broken many important stories about corruption in the administration of the former Philippine president. "It reduces my work to a panty raid."
FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Wednesday September 17, 1986 Home Edition Business Part 4 Page 2 Column 3 Financial Desk 2 inches; 70 words Type of Material: Correction
An article in the Business section on Monday incorrectly reported that TV Guide had published a San Francisco Examiner advertisement with a picture of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and headlined, "While T.V. Covered Their Farewell Speech, We Were Going Through Her Drawers." The ad, which ran in Time magazine, was modified in TV Guide to read, ". . . We Were Going Through Her Closets," because of a policy barring "cutesy ads with sexual overtones and double-entendres," a TV Guide representative said.
And--for the record--Bronstein did cover the Marcos speech and was not the first to report about Imelda Marcos' extravagant collection of shoes.
"Everyone feels cheapened and angry about it," said Managing Editor Frank McCulloch, a veteran of the Sacramento Bee, Time and the Los Angeles Times.
McCulloch said he opposed running the ad when the subject first came up because the idea seemed "smart-assed and sophomoric" and "portrayed reporters in an unflattering light."
A spokeswoman for the Examiner said the ad isn't scheduled to run again. She said the advertising campaign is "tongue in cheek" and "there is no representation it is accurate to the last detail."
Still, staffers fear that the damage is done. "It undermines our efforts to portray the Examiner as a serious newspaper," said copy editor Courtenay A. Peddle, who authored a petition denouncing the ad and quickly garnered nearly 90 signatures in the newsroom.
Meanwhile, there is no comment from the man who is said to have authorized the advertisement's placement, Examiner publisher William Randolph Hearst III.