With all the
celebrities, politicians, bloggers and even athletes constantly giving their
opinions on the presidential race, do newspaper endorsements matter anymore?
Tribune's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama was the first time in the
paper's history that it had given its seal of approval to a Democrat. And the
Wall Street Journal, which has traditionally not endorsed any political
candidates (and hasn't endorsed anyone since Herbert Hoover) is rumored to be readying an editorial.
It is fascinating to look back over the years at newspaper endorsements on a national level. The New York Times, which this week endorsed Obama, published an interactive feature where you can peek back at all of the paper's endorsements. They range from the obvious, like Lyndon Johnson in 1964, to the obscure, like John Palmer, who lost to McKinley in 1896.
But as we get closer and closer to November 4, it's the local endorsements - for school board and state office - where a newspapers' opinion comes in handy. We've all had months and months to think about our choice for president, but many of the local races have been brewing in the presidential race's shadow. And while it's nice to think we're all as informed about our local races as we are about the race for president, somehow I don't think that's always the case.
Features like the L.A. Times' Vote-o-rama and a super easy-to-read endorsement box provide a good run-down of everything from local measures and propositions to national and state candidates.
In a NewsHour report from the last presidential election, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the
"The effect of the editorials doesn't come out of people reading them, they come out of the ads by the candidates saying 'I've been endorsed,'" she said in 2004.
A more recent Editor&Publisher piece found that while this year Obama is leading McCain in endorsements, historically, the GOP has the edge. E&P is also tracking all of the newspaper endorsement that have come out so far this year.
Do big newspaper endorsements affect your opinion on national races? What do you depend on your local paper for as far as endorsements?