As long as minority-directed media can show they receive CPM prices significantly below those paid for similar white audiences, it will be impossible to clear the air of the suspicion that advertisers don't fairly value minority consumers -- through ignorance or intent.
Mr. Bradley is playing catch-up on this issue. His rival for the Democratic nomination, Vice President Al Gore, joined Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard last spring in prodding top marketers to reexamine their minority ad practices, and ordered the federal government to look at how its own ad dollars were spent.
But Mr. Bradley, speaking to Advertising Age last month, took unusual pains to put the ad business on notice that it will hear more from him about possible inequities. "The only position you can take in defense of it is that you want it that way, and nobody wants it that way," he said.
There are pitfalls here if the candidates succumb to the idea that ad dollars can be apportioned on some sort of quota system under which businesses serving various communities get their "fair share." Nor can government regulation address what makes a "fair" price. We believe Mr. Bradley is right in his belief that any ad inequities are solvable by bringing them into the open. He'll find