The Absolute Karmic Irony of iStation’s Full-Page Ad In The N&O Today

When a product that supposedly has already been purchased and is now “working for free” has to buy a full-page ad in the Sunday edition in the state’s most circulated newspaper (N&O and Charlotte Observer are owned by same company and share content), then it should say something about the doubt surrounding its procurement.

But this full-page ad has some funny irony.


Ads finance papers and it’s a prime revenue source for the News & Observer. And full-page ads especially in Sunday editions must cost extra.

It’s funny to think that the ad space iStation spent helped to “buy” the ability of the editors to print a Sunday op-ed.

Two pages after the iStation ad is the “Opinion” page. The one is by Ned Barnett entitled “A failing grade for NC’s top educator.”


It begins,

Mark Johnson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, is said to be weighing whether to seek reelection or run for lieutenant governor in 2020. There really isn’t anything to weigh. He should run for lieutenant governor. It would be a good fit, a job with few responsibilities and a lot of politics. As for reelection, that should be off his list. Another four years of the would-be wunderkind superintendent turned isolated bumbler shouldn’t be on anyone’s list.

And then later with ad revenue from iStation helping to finance the “Opinion” page, Barnett states this:

Johnson began his tenure with a “listening tour” of North Carolina schools, but he’s not much of a listener. In June, he ignored the opinion of an evaluation committee in awarding an $8.3 million contract to test the reading skills of North Carolina students. Last year he took $6 million in money that was supposed to be directed at teachers and bought more than 24,000 Apple iPads for K-3 schools. Many schools didn’t need the devices and returned them.

He called out the iStation contract.

And by the way in iStation’s ad it brags about how it has already enrolled 400,000 students and assessed 15,000 of them.

Enrolled 400,000 students? How did that happen? From teachers or from the state?  But only 12,500 students assessed? They just bragged about how iStation has just assessed 3.5% of the students enrolled when most all of the schools literally just started the school year.