Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Editor&Publisher, the press-industry biggie that has done such a commendable job of providing Ohioblog with endorsement information to steal, reports that The Plain Dealer's director of community affairs, Shirley Steinman, told the mazazine that the newspaper would decide which candidate ``later this week'' and a few hours later the Let-the-Reader-Decide non-endorsement was published. If another business was this disingenuous with a PD reporter, the newspaper would get itself in one huge huff.
Internet reaction to The Plain Dealer's no-endorsement decision has been generally viewed as a triumph since the paper endorsed President Bush in 2000 and Publisher Alex Machaskee reportedly wanted to do so again despite a PD editorial board consensus for Sen. John Kerry. Here's the view from Daily Kos, a liberal Web site:
``Back in Cleveland, intense public scrutiny probably had a role in fighting off the Plain Dealer's publisher from imposing a Bush endorsement on the paper's pro-Kerry editorial board...getting the Plain-Dealer to sit this one out was another example of Internet activism at its finest.
``If I had to guess, the presidential endorsement is on its last legs. If I was a newspaper publisher, I'd run two editorials - one making the case for each candidate. And it's perhaps as it should be - if people really need help making up their minds, let them read two arguments so they can make the decision themselves.''
Of course, blogs with an agenda - and Daily Kos wants to put Kerry in the White House - is not doing what he recommends newspapers do.
Here's E&P's assessment of the swing states
Editor&Publisher's Greg Mitchell assesses the race this way with almost all of the endorsements in: ``Seventy-two of the largest papers divided right down the middle in 2000. In 2004, the same papers (at least the ones that have announced their picks) favor Kerry by about a 3-2 margin.
``Now, on to a few swinging states, and some predictions, giving (perhaps) undue weight to editorial endorsements:
``FLORIDA: Bush is in big trouble here, at least if newspapers have any sway. Every single large paper has gone for Kerry, with the Orlando and Bradenton papers abandoning Bush and The Tampa Tribune (formerly for Dubya) sitting it out. This is how bad it is for the president: As far we know, his two biggest Sunshine State catches so far are the Ocala Star-Banner and The Ledger in Lakeland. So let's give this state to Kerry. In fact, if Bush pulls this one out, E&P promises never to give any weight to editorial endorsements in the future.
``PENNSYLVANIA: More bad news for Bush. As expected, the two Philly dailies and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette backed Kerry, and The Morning Call in Allentown also switched to him. The Scranton and Harrisburg papers, previously pro-Bush, declared neutrality. Bush did pick up switches in York and Easton, but we have to give this state to Kerry.
``COLORADO: With Dean Singleton taking over as publisher at The Denver Post, both of that city's papers lined up for Bush. Kerry picked up a switch in Boulder, but it's not enough. This state goes in the Bush column.
``MICHIGAN: Unlike in previous years, the Detroit papers are not split,
with the Free-Press going for Kerry and the News, shockingly, sitting it out. Kerry also picked up switches in Flint and Muskegon. Score this for Kerry.
``OHIO: Too tough to call. Of the two big Bush papers from 2000, The Plain Dealer is now (officially) neutral and The Columbus Dispatch
offered a Bush endorsement that was critical of the president. Elsewhere, Kerry gets Dayton, Toledo, and Akron, while Bush gets Cincinnati and Canton.
``IOWA: Kerry gets the Des Moines paper and a switch in Davenport. Bush gets Cedar Rapids. Give it to Kerry.
``MINNESOTA: Kerry grabbed the Minneapolis paper but the Saint Paul Pioneer Press has yet to make a call.
``OREGON: Did anyone notice that this state went from tossup to leaning left (according to the pundits) right after The Oregonian switched from
Bush to Kerry?
``WASHINGTON: Ditto here, when The Seattle Times jumped to Kerry. The Dem now has both Seattle papers, plus Tacoma's.
``MAINE: The Portland paper stayed with Kerry and Bangor gave up on Bush. Need we say more?
``So who wins on Tuesday? If Kerry's newspaper boost in Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania means anything, he can afford to drop Ohio and still take home the big prize. But that's a big `if.'''
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 4:35 PM
Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any
of the contents of this service without the express written consent of Knight Ridder is expressly prohibited.