Blogs > Cliopatria > "Flip-Flopping" Newspapers

Oct 25, 2004 1:32 am

"Flip-Flopping" Newspapers

For those who've missed it, Editor and Publisher keeps a running update of newspaper editorial endorsements. Thus far, 33 newspapers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have endorsed Kerry in 2004, while only two that went for Gore in 2000 have urged a vote for Bush this year. Newspapers endorsements don't have the effect that they once did, but in a state such as Florida, where all the major papers have now come out for Kerry, this can make for a very effective campaign ad.

Meanwhile, lest he be bested by Tom Coburn, Alan Keyes returned to his usual peculiar ways in a debate late last week with Barack Obama. Among Keyes' better lines:"the persecution of our Christian citizens,""social self-destruction,""the use of the body in this way is ... an abomination,""no one has the information necessary to avoid incest," and"gun-control mentality is ruth-less-ly absurd." He also compared women who seek abortions to slaveholders. (In Oklahoma, James Dobson is doing what he can to ensure that the Coburn campaign continues to lead the way in bizarre commentary. At a rally for Coburn, Dobson claimed that gay marriage"will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth"; of Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, he remarked,"I don't know if he hates God, but he hates God's people.")

Meanwhile, the year's potentially biggest House upset might occur in Illinois, where longtime GOP representative (and 1980 presidential candidate) Phil Crane appears to be in trouble, despite representing a strongly Republican district. Last week, the normally reliably Republican Chicago Tribune endorsed Crane's Democratic challenger, Melissa Bean, a few days before it issued a truly glowing endorsement of Obama, which was far more enthusiastic than its recommendation of Bush's re-election.

Finally, Oregon has a long tradition of being a bit too goody-goody in the electoral process. Among the first states to adopt the initiative and referendum, most recently it made news when it became the first state to go to all-mail ballots. Secretary of State Bill Bradbury dismissed concerns of fraud--and thus far has not been forced to eat his words.

In the name of providing voters with the maximum amount of information, Bradbury's office also recently instituted a policy of allowing prominent policymakers and organizations to include position statements for or against referenda questions. The"pro" side on the anti-gay marriage referendum makes for interesting reading, since a satirist created a variety of anti-gay marriage organizations and then submitted statements that somehow got by the secretary of state's office and were included in the voters' guide as real positions. I'm not sure, however, that there's anything here with which Alan Keyes would disagree.

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Jonathan Dresner - 10/26/2004

I don't know about 'play' but I did see at least one article about the Crawford paper's endorsement of Kerry: locals are very unhappy, not so much because they're Bush supporters (though they mostly are) but because Kerry's election would cut into the local economy which has benefited from the tourist/journalist influxes. And the Crawford paper's publisher is something of an outsider, being from another county....

Derek Charles Catsam - 10/26/2004

The Lowell Sun is conservative, but in some ways is a decent newspaper. As to how much play it has gotten, Fox news has featured the story prominently with a justification along the lines of "is it a problem that a paper that knows Kerry so well." (because local, mid-range papers are such astute observers of national poltics, and because such papers have such great access to sitting US Senators . . .) The story about the Bush hometown paper is not getting the same play. I'm shocked. Shocked!


Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2004

Your vice president has certainly tried to make that clear. Try not to pick up his bad habits.

Richard Henry Morgan - 10/25/2004

I don't think Leahy hates God's people. I do remember one exchange, though, during Judge Bork's confirmation hearings. Leahy demanded to know why Bork hadn't done pro bono work. Bork, being from the old school, replied that he hadn't been asked (old school lawyers being the kind that don't solicit clients).

Leahy asked Bork if he had done consulting work. Bork replied he had. Leahy seemed perturbed, incredulous that Bork had done modest consulting work, and not pro bono work. The rest of the committee sat there in embarrassed silence. Leahy hadn't done his homework. Everyone else on the committee seemed to know that Bork was working to pay off his wife's considerable medical bills, as she was dying of cancer. I understand the operation to remove Leahy's foot from his mouth was complicated and long, but ultimately successful (for a while). He might not hate God's people but, like most of God's people, he has his A-hole moments.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2004

It's true, though it doesn't seem to be causing much of a stir. One really far right-wing newspaper in Boston has endorsed Bush, but there's no stir about that, either. As KC suggests, newspaper endorsements don't seem to carry much weight these days.

Sharon Howard - 10/25/2004

I hear a story that Bush's home town paper in Texas has endorsed Kerry, causing an uproar. Is it true?

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