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AP: Newspaper Endorsements Are Meaningless

First we have this somewhat shocking development from the editors of the Des Moines Register:

The Des Moines Register endorsement: Mitt Romney offers a fresh economic vision

Sat October 27, 2012

Ten months ago this newspaper endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president. An overarching consideration was which of the party’s candidates could we see occupying the White House, and there was no question that Romney was qualified for the job.

Now, in the closing days of the general election campaign, the question is which of the two contenders deserves to be the next president of the United States…

Barack Obama rocketed to the presidency from relative obscurity with a theme of hope and change. A different reality has marked his presidency. His record on the economy the past four years does not suggest he would lead in the direction the nation must go in the next four years.

Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America — with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed.

As Joe Biden would say, “This is a big effin deal!” The Des Moines Register has not endorsed a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972.

And, lest we forget, in his interview with the editors of the Des Moines Register, which he tried to suppress, Obama minced no words begging for their support. "I want your endorsement," Obama said. "You’ll feel better when you give it." Apparently, they were willing to risk feeling bad.

By the way, Romney was endorsed by at least three other papers in Iowa, as well: The Cedar Rapids Gazette: “Gazette Endorsement For President: Romney.” The Quad City Times: “Ready For Change.” And the Sioux City Journal: “Mitt Romney: He’s The Change America Needs.”

Naturally, we have this dignified response from Obama campaign, via their flagship, the Washington Post:

Cutter: Des Moines Register’s Romney endorsement not ‘based at all in reality’

By Aaron Blake | Sun October 28, 2012

Top Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter said Sunday that the Des Moines Register’s endorsement of Mitt Romney “didn’t seem to be based at all in reality.”

“It was a little surprising to read that editorial, because it didn’t seem to be based at all in reality — not just in the president’s record, but in Mitt Romney’s record,” Cutter said. “It says that he’d reach across the aisle, which he’d do the exact opposite. It’s the exact opposite of what he did in Massachusetts.” …

By the way, has any Republican campaign ever made snarky comments like this when newspapers endorsed Democrats? (Hint: no.)

Meanwhile, as the Daily Caller notes:

Newspapers abandon 2008 Obama endorsements, choose Romney

By Neil Munro | Sun October 28, 2012

Republicans are touting a list of newspapers that have switched their endorsements from then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008 to Gov Mitt Romney in 2012.

Their list is topped by the Des Moines Register, the largest newspaper in swing-state Iowa. But it also includes five Florida papers — Florida Today, the Orlando Sentinel, the Pensacola News Journal, Naples Daily News and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — plus the Quad City Times, on the border between Iowa and Illinois.

Other newspapers in Republican Texas and Democratic New York, California and Illinois have also flipped to the Republican presidential contender from 2008, when they endorsed Obama…

A Nevada newspaper, the Reno Gazette-Journal, also flipped, potentially pulling a few move votes towards Romney in that swing state…

According to a list maintained by the American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara, only one major newspaper that endorsed Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008 has backed Obama this year. Obama’s “shortcomings,” the San Antonio Express-News editorial board wrote Oct. 22, “don’t justify a change in leadership.”

From the Associated Press:

Endorsements flood in, but do voters care?

By JOSH LEDERMAN | Mon October 29, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — … As the campaign nears its nail-biting conclusion, both campaigns are trumpeting a flood of newspaper endorsements — and using them as a stamp of approval in television ads and emails. On Sunday alone, Obama’s campaign touted 10 endorsements he picked up, including the Detroit Free Press and the Toledo Blade. Fourteen papers, including the Florida Times-Union and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, gave their nod to Romney…

So Romney is leading in the sheer number of endorsements.

But who reads newspapers anymore? For all the energy spent winning and then advertising endorsements, do they make any difference?

"The short answer is no," said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College. "But at this stage in the campaign, you’re looking for every edge you can get, even if it’s a microscopic edge."

Newspaper circulation has steadily declined in recent years, from almost 47 million per day in 2004 to barely 40 million last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America. While there’s little data to show whether voters listen to what their local paper has to say about elections, there is some evidence that endorsements from people — like celebrities and other politicians — sometimes have a minor effect…

The newspapers that subscribe to the AP news wire must be thrilled to hear how irrelevant they have become.

The AP ends their article this way:

[N]ot all newspapers want to get their hands dirty by wading into messy political fights. Count the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel among them; The paper announced Friday it had decided to "get out of the political endorsement business."

And never mind that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is one of the most liberal ‘newspapers’ in the country.

"This loss of credibility is a high price to pay to conjure a ghost of newspapering past that we have come to believe is of little value today," wrote editorial page editor David Haynes. "Endorsements are a relic of a time when every town had more than one newspaper, of a time long before the wide river of commentary now available to anyone with a smartphone."

Yep, it turns out that newspaper endorsements are just like polls. They are completely meaningless if they help Republicans.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, October 29th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “AP: Newspaper Endorsements Are Meaningless”

  1. GetBackJack

    I recall the AP singing a different stanza when these same papers endorsed Big Zero

    It’s like the AP doesn’t know we have the Interwebs or something

  2. OTA Mom

    It mattered so little to get the Register’s endorsement that the Obama campaign contacted them for the “off the record” conversation they thought would clinch things for them? Puh-leeeez!

  3. Anonymoose

    These are the same people who when “O” decided to “evolve” his position on gay marriage were standing by their desks watching the speech on TV like it was the moon landing, yet are completely ignoring Benghazi and Fast and Furious. “O” is their hero and embodies a good portion of their identity—if he loses in effect they lose.


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