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Election Connection

Ringing Endorsements


With all the celebrities, politicians, bloggers and even athletes constantly giving their opinions on the presidential race, do newspaper endorsements matter anymore?


The Chicago 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.

Columbia, South Carolina paper The State has an endorsement page that address issues like 'why elect coroner' and several local amendments, as well as its presidential endorsement of Sen. John McCain.

In a NewsHour report from the last presidential election, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, noted that endorsements are less important to readers than they are for the campaigns, which often use them as proof of their superiority over their rival.


"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?











6 Comments

joe the flak said:

I would never let the newspaper tell me who to vote for in the big national races or even smaller races such as mayor, but I typically have no clue when it comes to who I should support in races like city council member. I typically just pull the lever for the council member candidate that the paper endorses.


Are you kidding said:

If you area just "pull the lever" or "vote your party line" voter...do the country and the world a favor and NOT vote! People like you have put all these pork-barrel spending idiots in Congress. If people rally wnat change read up on your Congressmen and vote out the over spending, not listening to their constiuent losers!!!!!


James McArdle said:

It makes sense to me if Wall Street hasn't endorsed anyone since Herbert Hoover. This shows that they only make bad decisions. History shows what Herbert Hoover did to this country.


Pat said:

While a newspaper won't sway my vote, it is interesting this year to see so many traditionally Republican papers endorsing Barack Obama. The New York Times' endorsement stunned no one, but the LATimes and Chicago Tribune did. More revealing was the Anchorage Daily news, coming from Palin's traditionally red state. The Houston Chronicle, an oil state that is strongly republican territory, just endorsed Obama. This brings home the point that the republican party is so splintered right now it has caused moderate republicans, like myself, to be more inclined to swing democrat that lean with fundamentalists who seem to be setting diversity efforts back a century.


Clark Celmayster said:

PBS you really SUCK! I would never support your station! You are supposed to be unbiased, which you are not! I am an independant! You are just another liberal media outlet! How about a poll as to whether Obama is qualified to be President? What has he done in his life to lead America, other than possibly buy his way into the Presidency? How many of the Obamist really have any clue as to who he is, what he represents, what his ideologies really are? He talks well, campaigns great but is not qualified to lead my America!

Mark my words that we will rue the day he was elected should that unfortunate outcome happen in 2 days! It has nothing to do with color, being Dem or Repub, but everything to do with having the ability to lead AMERICA! Perhaps he might be a great candidate for Denmark, but the greatest country in the world? I think not!

Unfortunately there is no test to take to make sure one is intelligent enough to make a decision as to how our country should be governed, and many americans could not even tell you who many of our leaders are, what our constitution means and what the real issues are!

Bush did a horribible job, but do we really want to go from the frying pan into the inferno? That is where America will be if Obama wins and there is a majority in both houses! With the Congress and Senate at a historic low - 10% favorible rating, America will be for sure headed for even worse disaster!

Change for Change sake is always bad! Yesterday in Colorado Obama spoke about how McCain would call him a communist becasuse he shared his peanut butter sandwhich with another child when he was in kindergarden. Obama doesn't even understand the difference between self decided charity and Government mandated (charity) or re-distribution of wealth!!!

America, tighten your wallets and your sphincters as you are on the verge of getting Royally ^%$&%%!!...


Clark Celmayster said:

PBS you really SUCK! I would never support your station! You are supposed to be unbiased, which you are not! I am an independant! You are just another liberal media outlet! How about a poll as to whether Obama is qualified to be President? What has he done in his life to lead America, other than possibly buy his way into the Presidency? How many of the Obamist really have any clue as to who he is, what he represents, what his ideologies really are? He talks well, campaigns great but is not qualified to lead my America!

Mark my words that we will rue the day he was elected should that unfortunate outcome happen in 2 days! It has nothing to do with color, being Dem or Repub, but everything to do with having the ability to lead AMERICA! Perhaps he might be a great candidate for Denmark, but the greatest country in the world? I think not!

Unfortunately there is no test to take to make sure one is intelligent enough to make a decision as to how our country should be governed, and many americans could not even tell you who many of our leaders are, what our constitution means and what the real issues are!

Bush did a horribible job, but do we really want to go from the frying pan into the inferno? That is where America will be if Obama wins and there is a majority in both houses! With the Congress and Senate at a historic low - 10% favorible rating, America will be for sure headed for even worse disaster!

Change for Change sake is always bad! Yesterday in Colorado Obama spoke about how McCain would call him a communist becasuse he shared his peanut butter sandwhich with another child when he was in kindergarden. Obama doesn't even understand the difference between self decided charity and Government mandated (charity) or re-distribution of wealth!!!

America, tighten your wallets and your sphincters as you are on the verge of getting Royally ^%$&%%!!...


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