Cleveland Plain Dealer endorses ... none of the above

Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer offered its endorcement for President (birth year, postal code and gender required), a tradition of American newspapers.

Who did the Plain Dealer endorse? NOBODY.

Much like many Cyburbians in the FAC, the “endorsement” edirotial (note the quites) has mostly negative things to say about both Bush and Kerry.

Bush is an idiot who made way too many bad judgement calls. Kerry is a flip-flopper who proclaims “help is on the way!”, but has no clue about how to pay for that aforementioned help.


I’d say more newspaper endorsements have defected away from Bush than toward him but haven’t seen any figures. The Detroit News, a Republican paper, also declined to support anyone. The Lansing State Journal, a small but generally Republican rag, has endorsed Kerry.

Is that the debate: Wow?

You would be correct.

“We believe our readers are perfectly capable of judging that conduct for themselves and deciding whether Bush’s flaws bother them more than Kerry’s ambiguities.”

Yes, the readers are perfectly capable of judging most anything. So why not eliminate the editorial section entirely, and add more comics?

Maybe they’re still sulking because Kucinich didn’t get the nomination.

The Tampa Tribune, which goes as far as to say that they are conservative, has this to say about Bush:

and does not offer an endorsement. They are pretty harsh on his efforts in Iraq as well. Full text is available here. Underling in the quote is mine.

The St. Petersburg Times, which is more liberal, but still endorses a raft of Republicans for the House and State positions, endorses Kerry and Democart Betty Castor to fill the position currently held by Senator Bob Graham.

I don’t remember who said this first, but vote even if you have to hold your nose while doing so.

Hey, that’s my hometown birdcage liner. And, I found a link to that:

“The sum total of Bush’s accomplishments is systemic failure. If he were a corporate CEO, Bush would be fired by the board of directors. Voters should fire this commander in chief. They should hire John Kerry.”

I might have to subscribe. :wink:

While I suppose a newspaper’s endorsement is news worthy I question whether it has any practical effect. Anyone who knows who a given paper endorses has been paying attention and, as the grand old Plain Dealer said, is fully capable of making up their own mind. What is note worthy is that when a paper has a particular political slant its editorial staff and publishers represent the local intellectual elite of that particular sept. When the elite of the party abandon the party’s candidate that is news and is bad news for the candidate. It probably doesn’t directly effect anybody’s vote but it betrays a loss of confidence in the candidate among party’s leaders and dry rot deep in the party’s structure.

None the less, I’m not seeing this as significant until the Columus Dispatch and the Chicago Tribune fail to endorse President Bush. When that happens then we will all know that not only have the rats abandon ship, the navigator and the foremast hands are leaving, too.

For what it’s worth, the old Columbus Dispatch was a leading “Monday Morning Quarterback” during the Korean War. The editorial cartoons that stick in my mind were of President Truman, in a Hawaiian shirt, carrying a UN flag that had a spider’ web instead of the girded globe. The Dispatch did not like the Korean War or Harry S. Truman. They thought well of Bob Taft.

I’m actually sort of interested to see if this election basically hobbles the tradition of national newspaper endorsements for good. Kerry is definately kicking ass in the endorsement contest: his endorsements reach a wider audience, and virtually no Gore-endorsing paper that I know of has switched to Bush, while several even quite prominent ones have gone from Bush to Kerry. And then there’s the large number of Bush2000 papers that have chosen, uncharacteristically, not to endorse at all.

Do people really CARE what newpaper editorial boards think anymore? Should they? I mean, why is their opinion worth more than the horde of pundits we now have to tell us what to think, and do it faster and with pictures? And with a much much wider and often more interesting pool of opinion writing on the web, it seems like the editorial endorsement is something of an old hat.

Because Nobody can make this country better! :smiley:

St. Petersburg Times associate editor Martin Dyckman, in an Oct. 24 column “New crises facing us defy tired, old labels” observes:

I’ve never served on the editorial board of a major newspaper, but this sounds plausible to me. I wonder if it is indeed true, and if the same sort of situation might be responsible for other newspapers that withheld an endorsement?

Big ol’ forehead slap. “…might be responsible for other newspapers withholding endorsements,” rather. Or, “…might be responsible for the withholding of endorsements by other newspapers,” whichever is closest to English. Obviously I’ve never served on the proofreading staff of a major newspaper, either.

According to Editor and Publisher magazine, about 5%-10% of voters take newspaper endorsements into consideration when making decisions.

And judging by the paper endorsements so far, E&P makes a few guesses of its own:

I don’t know about this. For me, I use the newspapers to get a clue about judges, commissioners, state representative and other lesser political figures that I might not otherwise get a feel for. But for more newsworthy positions like President and Senator, I will get enough data that I don’t really care who the paper supports. I’d guess this is true for most folks. Even in “undecided” voters I doubt there are many, if any, people who will not know what either is about* but would say, hey, let me look in the paper and see who they say I should vote for. Possibly Senator, like here where Betty Castor and Mel Martinez** are in a dead heat, but not for president in a hot race like this. Or maybe ever.

*This is not to say that voters might think they know what a voter is about but be totally incorrect.
**Betty Castor would probably win hands down if Martinez were not hispanic. There are a lot of hispanic voters here who totally disagree politically with Martinez but are considering him out of a sort of cultural pride.

I’m feeling too lazy-assed to find a link to a cite. But I read some place that the editorial board of the Plain Dealer wanted to endorse Kerry but were overruled by the rag’s owner. This led to friction and the non-endorsement is the sickly child of a compromise that resulted.

According to Gangster Octopus’s cite, the count is that 33 papers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have endorsed Kerry this year while 2 papers that endorsed Gore in 2000 have endorsed Bush this year (a more recent count is 37 to 6). In addition, 6 papers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have declined to endorse either candidate this year.

The story (at a point before they had made their final decision not to endorse at all) is here:

Actually, here is a more detailed article on the behind-the-scenes action at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

**Bolding ** mine.

The Tribune has endorsed Bush,,1,1802792.story

and it was quite controversial with many readers, enough so that one of the editorial board wrote a 2nd column explaining how they came to that decision.,1,1702703.column

In the explanation, the editor “admitted” the Trib has always been guided by conservative principles (“The Tribune believes in the traditional principles of limited government; maximum individual responsibility; and minimum restriction of personal liberty, opportunity and enterprise. It believes in free markets, free will and freedom of expression.”) and has endorsed the Republican candidate for President since at least 1872! So, IMO, the odds of a Kerry endorsement were slim divided by none.

The explanation, however, does go to lengths to explain the mechanics of the endorsement, highlighting the fact that the editorial board is not a democracy, and the recommendation is based on the what the head of the Board feels is the “consensus”. In addition, the publisher retains the final right to override the Board, although we are assured that was not the case here.

What makes it particularly interesting is that the Editorial page has not been very friendly with Bush recently, at least IMHO. The main editorial does a fair amount of rationalizing and apologizing for the President (again IMHO), but does call him on various errors and mistakes. AND two members of the editorial board, who write weekly opinion columns, published pieces choosing Kerry, or in the case of Steven Chapman, at least not Bush (,1,5831482.column).

The point relating to Spavined Gelding’s quote above, is that the explantion purposefully brought forth the arguement that there is value in a paper, such as the Trib, “always” endorsing a one party exclusively, and that is, when they don’t, you know the candidate is a real stinker.

One last bit - the Trib did endorse the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, for Senate, which it has done only 2-3 times in its history. Granted, the Republican, last minute substitute Alan Keyes, is widely seen as an extremely conservative carpetbagger and has tremendously little support in the state. You could speculate the Trib may have been very close to endorsing Kerry (or not endorsing anyone), but could not face the possibility of choosing a Dem for Senate and President. :wink:

The Dispatch has endorsed Bush, I believe.