The Corner

Newspaper Nods

We’re going to see a slew of newspaper editorial-board endorsements for president between now and Election Day, and a lot of them are sure to appear this Sunday. I’m generally not too interested in these dull statements of partisanship, especially at the federal level. Is there an undecided voter anywhere waiting in suspense to read what the New York Times says? Still, I just reviewed The Hotline’s list of America’s “100 most influential papers” and whom they’ve endorsed in the last three cycles. I put a check mark next to the ones that endorsed the winner in 1992, 1996, and 2000–i.e. the ones that picked Clinton-Clinton-GWB. It’s a short list: the Austin-American Statesman, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Hartford Courant, the Portland Oregonian, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the Seattle Times. Now those are some endorsements that might be worth watching, if only for crystal-ball purposes. Yet they may also trend toward Kerry because they’re in the media and many of them could be eager to return to liberal form after breaking with tradition four years ago. Early evidence suggests that this may be the case: Both the Portland Oregonian and the Seattle Times have done their endorsing–and both are for Kerry. So here’s another paper to watch: the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the only major newspaper to have endorsed Poppy Bush in 1992, Clinton in 1996, and GWB in 2000. And then there’s the Montgomery Advertiser, the one major paper to go for Bush in 1992, Dole in 1996, and Gore in 2000. Call it the kiss-of-death endorsement.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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