Freedom Of Expression And Other Lapses In Judgement
The other day while watching MSNBC, I nearly fell out of bed in fits of laughter from merely reading the news crawl on my TV. It was the first announcement and update of newspaper editorial endorsements in the Presidential race. As a Kerry partisan, I was obviously encouraged by the significant early endorsements from major dailies in battleground states, such as Philadelphia newspapers’ The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, the St. Louis Dispatch, and the Detroit Free Press.
But what followed would bring about a good chuckle and grin from any Kerry Democrat! Not only was Bush trailing in number of endorsements, but also the named publications on his short list read like fictitious monikers, right out of a 50s’ Hollywood black and white movie production: The Tulsa World of Oklahoma, The Columbian of Vancouver, Washington, The Pueblo Chieftain of Colorado and The Courier of Findlay, Ohio. The most noteworthy of Bush’s endorsements so far is the New York Sun, which I strongly suspect is the Big Apple version of the Moonie Times. And, for all you polling junkies out there, your fix comes in the form of the most recent tally of cumulative daily circulation stats for each candidate:
Pro-John Kerry endorsements/Total Daily Circulation: 2,534,377
Pro-George Bush endorsements/Total Daily Circulation: 637,187
I actually stumbled across a weblog now dedicated to tracking these endorsements – explog.com. The site includes links to all pertinent editorial page endorsements, where available.
Now, just as probable as a bad career move by Rob Lowe, an Ann Coulter book without footnotes, and a police warrant out for Bobby Brown’s arrest, I could ace a handicapping of the nations most prominent editorial pages. Decisions by The New York Times, Washington Post and L.A. Times are as confidently predictable as the Wall Street Journal,New York Postand the Chicago Tribune. However, since the demise of the House of Hollinger, the Chicago Sun-Times goes to even money, in spite of the fact they have already thrown their support behind Barack Obama.
Moreover, this entire exercise stems from my gut instinct that in the midst of this palpable lull that stretches till Nov. 2nd, these endorsements could have as close to an equal impact as the Presidential debates, especially among Undecided Voters.
Isn’t it as significant (probably more) as the manufactured outrage over John Kerry’s comments about Mary Cheney, when the Albuquerque Tribune of New Mexico, which supported Bush in 2000, has instead endorsed John Kerry in this election? Will the same media pundits who graded George Bush’s performances in the last two debates on a remedial curve, give equal airtime to the substance of the Portland Oregonian replicating the same warranted flip-flop?
I did get another chuckle upon learning in passing, that Bush’s Crawford, TX hometown paper (which also supported him in 2000), had decided also to endorse his opponent. But, it was only upon researching this rant, that I discovered the publication’s actual name – The Lone Star Iconoclast – and, that central to the harsh fallout over the paper’s heresy was that not backing the town’s favorite son, was really bad for bidness. For certain, only the Dixie Chicks could possibly understand what the paper and its Editor in Chief W. Leon Smith are feeling and experiencing right now. In fact, I can’t remember any of us Democrats - and alleged virulent ‘Bush-haters’ - going this ballistic when Zell Miller really went Red State!
Consequently, when did simply expressing one’s opinion become more of an injurious transgression in this country, than alleged felony drug charges and sexual harassment?