Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Word To The Wise

My previous post on the latest tally of newspaper presidential endorsements was assured to spark those fun partisan debates with Bush apologists again, already at a disadvantage on the subject matter from the word go. As they insisted previously when musicians the likes of Springsteen, R.E.M. and The Dixie Chicks hit the road in support of John Kerry, editorial endorsements too, meant absolutely nothing to the average voter. Yet, I finally realized why such opinions had a tremendous significance to me.

It’s like the conversation I’ve been practicing, given the opportunity to rebut some Conservative blowhard (picture Neal Boortz), going on and on about the supposed ‘Liberal Media Elite bias’. Given the option to shut his mike off, I would start by asking ‘Are these not smart people, college educated, most with higher degrees?’ Yes. ‘Are they not talented, gifted individuals, given that they’ve excelled to the top of their chosen profession?’ Yes. ‘And, given their access into the corridors of power in this country, privy to information and certain political truths therein we as mere citizens will never become aware of – and they choose to be Liberals?’

Editorial boards can be just as partisan as a campaign surrogate booked to deliver a crisp, effective version of that day’s ‘message’ on Fox News. However, it has always been my impression that major editorial page endorsements are held to a higher standard, always having the responsibility to make a persuasive and substantive case based on fact. However, as we’ve seen from the Presidential endorsements published so far, a Publisher’s ideology will trump the pragmatic consensus of it’s editorial board (most Bush over Kerry), robbing their readers of a decision based on careful deliberation.

Not surprisingly, neither was the case when it came to the opinion of my hometown paper, The Chicago Tribune. Although, their editorial page of late has reflected a moderation of views (especially on social issues), even a scandalized Jack Ryan could count on their endorsement as long as he’s listed as a Republican, on voter’s ballots. (Although, I will publicly admit to being wrong and absolutely shocked, seeing that the Trib endorsed Barack Obama!) However, in an endorsement that truly reflects Illinois’ dark, rich shade of Electoral College Map Blue, The Chicago Sun-Times – facing the Conservative publisher/Kerry leaning editorial board dichotomy - got it right.

And, contrary to my many detractors of the previous post, Editor & Publisher insists there was detectable movement towards the challenger in polling after major newspapers in Oregon and Washington state, endorsed John Kerry. Therefore, it is reasonable to place even greater significance, on news that every major Florida daily backed Kerry with two abandoning Bush, after supporting him in 2000. All total, 34 publications switched horses to Kerry in this year’s election.

Curiously, there were 5 newspapers that actually switched over to Bush, after backing Al Gore in 2000. The most significant of the ‘farcical five’ is the Denver Post, where the above described scenario of Publisher vs. Editorial Board was played out, sparking unexpected outrage from Post readers.

My point here is that I am a discerning person, especially when it comes to politics. I am probably not going to find any agreement with a Bush endorsement, but I want to read the best case made for doing so. I am not going to find much disagreement with a Kerry endorsement, but it will help clarify those issues where we differ.

However, a wise electorate that goes through a similarly weighted process before casting their ballot tends not to be an Undecided or Bush voter.

Posted by Bert M. Caradine at October 30, 2004 10:43 PM