Melissa (dreadfulpenny81) wrote in talk_politics,

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Newspapers and Politics

For the first time in 71 years, the Chicago Sun-Times is not endorsing a candidate for the 2012 elections. The reason cited by publisher John Barron and editorial page editor Tom McNamee is that the job of print media is to report about the candidates, elections, and issues rather than 'spinning' to favor the endorsed candidate above all else. [Source]
We have come to doubt the value of candidate endorsements by this newspaper or any newspaper, especially in a day when a multitude of information sources allow even a casual voter to be better informed than ever before.
It's true that as time's passed, the internet's cast a wider net into print media, television, and radio. With the click of a mouse, millions can watch a debate, read transcripts of speeches, and verify a candidate's voting record.
Research on the matter suggests that editorial endorsements don’t change many votes, especially in higher-profile races. Another school of thought, however — often expressed by readers — is that candidate endorsements, more so than all other views on an editorial page, promote the perception of a hidden bias by a newspaper, from Page One to the sports pages.
Below are the newspaper endorsement results from 2008:

Since endorsements were tracked during elections in the 1940's, candidates who've received the most endorsements have won the elections except for a few cases: FDR and Harry Truman won their elections while receiving few endorsements and John Kerry received a higher number of endorsements but lost to President George W. Bush (his second term). [Source]

As for media bias regarding newspaper endorsements, a paper from Brown University economists Brian Knight and Chun Fang Chiang suggests that has little effect on voter opinion:
Endorsements for the Democratic candidate from left-leaning newspapers are less influential than endorsements from neutral or right-leaning newspapers and likewise for endorsements from papers sympathetic to Republican candidates. Knight said these results “suggest that voters are sophisticated and attempt to filter out any bias in media coverage of politics.”

1. Do newspaper endorsements of candidates influence your decision in elections?
2. In your opinion, what is the role of print media when it comes to elections?
3. Do you measure a newspaper's credibility by the candidates they endorse?
4. Do you determine whether a newspaper is right-leaning, left-leaning, or centrist by the candidates they've endorsed through the years?
5. Do you think print media is a dying market that should be revived or should it move aside in favor of internet publications?

EDIT: Forgot to add that it's not just this election that the Sun-Times is refusing to publish an endorsement, but all future elections as well. [Full Article]
Tags: elections, media, usa
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