Quality is a HUGE differentiator on the Internet - just think how much crap is out there in any niche.
So I just clicked over to read John Cook's P-I blog and I tried to start reading a good entry, but found it hard to focus because of this widespread gem of an ad.
Now I've certainly seen some ads on nytimes.com - but I don't think they would run this one - mainly because of the associations - you probably have seen this ad before - probably on a crappy, scammy site of some sort, so that is what I think of - even though the P-I is a solid, real newspaper.
Web publishers need to make sure that they don't suffer reputational damage by allowing 3rd party ad networks to place crappy ads on their sites - and in prominent real estate, no less.
As an aside, I noticed this VC-finder drop-down on John Cook's blog:
Note to self - when I start a firm, I will name it "AAA Venture Partners" - to make sure my listing beats out Chris & Ted (9:12 3200m!) for this screen real estate. (That one's for you, Dave!)