WHY ENDORSE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Stephen J. Winters, former Connecticut Post opinion editor:
"Here are reasons why we endorse:
* "to fulfill our obligation and responsibility as a constitutionally-
protected media enterprise to not only be a part of our communities but to
also help improve those communities.
* "to offer information and perspective that voters can use in evaluating
* "to create dialogue with our readers.
"Our endorsements are not made:
* "to tell readers who they should vote for.
* "to make a compact with any candidate.
* "to figure out who's most likely to win a contest."
Time magazine Managing Editor Rick Stengel recently:
"During the 1936 presidential campaign, the Chicago Tribune, under its
archconservative owner, Colonel Robert McCormick, wholeheartedly endorsed the candidacy of the Republican Alf Landon. The paper was so vehemently anti-F.D.R. that 10 days before the election, switchboard operators at the newspaper answered the phone by saying 'Hello. Chicago Tribune. Only 10 days left to save the American way of life.' I confess that I've never quite understood why newspapers endorse presidential candidates. Sure, I know the history and the tradition, the fact that newspapers in the 18th and 19th centuries were often affiliated with political parties, but why do they do it now? Why do it at a time when the credibility and viability of the press are at all-time lows? More important, why do it at a time when readers, especially young readers, question the objectivity of newspapers in particular and the media in general?"
In a column discussing the Chicago Tribune's historic endorsement of
Sen. Barack Obama for president, Paul Weingarten, a member of the paper's editorial board, wrote on Friday:
"Of all the articles that appear in this newspaper, few are as mysterious to readers as its presidential endorsements. Readers ask Tribune editorial board members all the time how those decisions are reached. Was there a lot of shouting? And finally, who really decided?
This year, with the Tribune's endorsement of its first Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama, we expect even more questions. A lot of readers will be surprised by the decision to endorse Obama. But maybe you don't know the Tribune as well as you think.
So let us remind you of the paper's long record of independent thought, of reporting - and sometimes making - history. Yes, the paper has stood for Republican principles for a long time. In 1855, a young politician named Abraham Lincoln wandered into the offices of the Tribune on Clark Street. Lincoln handed over $4 for a subscription and complimented the new co-owner and managing editor, Joseph Medill, on his stand against intolerance. 'I didn't like it before you boys took hold of it,' he said of the Tribune."
The Salt Lake Tribune's endorsement policy explained by Editorial Page Editor Vern Anderson: - "Utah's Independent Voice Since 1871":
We endorse candidates as a public service to our readers. We also believe endorsements are part of our responsibility as a newspaper to enlighten, inform and promote public dialogue. With the exception of the presidential endorsement, which is scheduled to run on Sunday, they are based on face-to-face meetings with each candidate and on our own research.
Our endorsements are not intended to tell people how to vote. Rather,
they reflect how the editorial board would vote, and why, if it had a ballot. Most often our endorsements are based on positions we have taken over time on a number of public policy issues. But not always. Sometimes we see particular strengths in a candidate that are well-suited to the office, even if we disagree with many of their views. We endorse both Democrats and Republicans, sometimes heartily, sometimes not. As readers know, we are far from infallible. We've made several endorsements we'd take back if we could.
BRUNSWICK MAINE TIMES RECORD: Obama for President
His vision for reuniting this fragmented nation, not audacity, makes Barack Obama the best hope to lead the United States for the next four years. His perspectives on the challenges that will confront the next president reflect the intelligence, wisdom and modernity required to position America to thrive in the 21st century.
Obama's action plan for addressing the critical issues that the 44th U.S.
president will encounter on Jan. 21, 2009, offers more depth and innovation than that of his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain.
In his bearing and his thinking, Obama better reflects the long-held "" but recently tarnished "" American values of equality, justice, fairness and civil liberty. He recognizes that government affects everyday Americans' lives, so policies should be crafted to benefit the middle class directly rather than indirectly via crumb-spreading by those who have been allowed to consolidate wealth and power during the Bush administration.