Yesterday's New York Times featured an excellent and stomach-turning investigation into Cargill, a meat-processing company that makes yummie prepackaged hamburgers with E. Coli and ammonia. We like it even more now that we know Cargill is a Times advertiser.

The piece—a meticulous investigation into the food-safety practices of Cargill and its suppliers, including revelations that some slaughterhouses refuse to sell to companies that test their meat for E. Coli and that some pre-made hamburgers contain meat that was treated with ammonia—has no doubt launched 1,000 vegetarians.

So we were surprised when a tipster pointed out this morning that Cargill was, as of about 11 a.m., advertising on the Times web site. It wasn't a rebuttal ad, just a run-of-the-mill branding campaign, apparently. We asked a Cargill spokesman why his company was underwriting the operations of a paper that just skewered it: "In answer to your question, it is random—advertising schedules are done months in advance."