It is an ad, not an editorial or a news article. Papers have always published ads that are from groups with many varying viewpoints. If they are not obscene or illegal, then it is the group or person purchasing the ad who bears the ultimate responsibility for the content rather than the forum in which the ad appears. You can see ads for groups on the right on MSNBC which definitely leans strongly to the left as a network and ads for groups on the left on FOX which most definitely promotes an agenda on the right.
A newspaper should be a neutral provider of information in its articles although increasingly in this country it seems like most media outlets have staked out claims on either end of the spectrum and abandoned any pretense at neutrality or even moderation. This should not really surprise us since students of history know that we had “partisan” papers that attacked our founding fathers more viciously than anything seen in modern papers/TV.
I don’t believe the language used was “hate speech” although they clearly don’t care for Mr. Dobson or his views. No one tried to incite violence against him or used foul language in the ad. Are we all supposed to jump on the moral outrage bandwagon and boycott this paper or something?
This is still America where everyone has the right to express an opinion that is not in lock step with that of the current government or anyone else. Although I agree with him some of the time, I can acknowledge that Mr. Dobson has said some ridiculous things in the past himself that some people might find extreme or offensive. The only perfect person that I know of lived 2000 years ago and his name was not Dobson.