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Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Page Drops Endorsements

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by lcjjdnh, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. lcjjdnh

    lcjjdnh Well-Known Member


    Let me preface this by saying the entire idea of "objective" news coverage is sort of bunk anyway. But assuming you believe it can exist:

    I understand the theory of not wanting people to think the rest of the news coverage is biased--most people probably don't recognize the supposed divide between editorial/news sides--but this seems like a marginal issue. People will shout bias at any perceived slight. They assume a conclusion and then use facts such as your support of the candidate on the editorial page to support; they don't reason to that conclusion the other way around. On the other hand, to the extent they provide little value because readers don't care, as he points out, any marginal cost outweighs it, so I can see that perspective.

    That said, not sure why the editorial board believes it's OK to speak on all those other issues, but not endorse candidates. Their assumption appears to be that these are civic issues everyone can agree on. I suppose one can probably write very bland editorials supporting the abstract idea of "better" schools and "lower" crime, but suggesting solutions and even prioritizing issues have political and value judgments implicit in them.
  2. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I like this move by the Sun-Times. They say they will still conduct and print/post online the Q-and-As of an "endorsement interview," which often is one of the few times candidates discuss issues in depth during a campaign. To me, that's the major benefit of the newspaper endorsement process.

    And leaving aside the objectivity debate (that could go on forever), as a practical matter, papers gain nothing from endorsing candidates. No one says, "well, the Sun-Times endorsed Daley, so I'll vote for him."

    All it does is provide a roadblock for a paper's reporters when candidates who weren't endorsed win and then take it out on the reporter covering their government beat (trust me, I've endured this when I was a reporter in podunk-ville).

    The right approach — and I believe this is what the Sun-Times is doing — is to continue interviewing candidates on the issues, continuing taking sides in editorials on issues (and even ballot initiatives), but stop endorsing individuals.
  3. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Sort of ironic, since Marshall Field III founded the Chicago Sun to provide an alternative editorial voice to Colonel McCormick's Tribune, specifically in regard to the Trib's isolationist policy.
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    If you're going to drop endorsements, go all the way and eliminate both the editorial and op-ed pages.
    PS: Newspaper endorsements do matter, but in inverse proportion to the stature of the office in question. Presidential endorsements don't mean squat, but an endorsement by the Globe or Herald in a state rep primary where many voters have no clue who the candidates are carries some weight.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    The editorial board is worried about Kelsey Grammar and his crew killing everyone.
  6. This .. magnified.
    I think they are also intrinsically valuable in elections of city, county and board officials, such as BOE.
    And complicated issues, like levies that become muddied by TV ads so voters have no idea which end is up.
  7. linotype

    linotype Well-Known Member

    Not to go too far off topic, but "Kelsey Grammar" would make for an outstanding SportsJournalists.com screen name.
  8. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

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