The Denver Post endorsed President Bush for re-election Sunday. Tuesday, the Post’s editors reported they received 700 letters about the endorsement, every single one of them critical.
More than 700 readers have given us their thoughts on Sunday’s presidential endorsement, and they add up to a passionate dissent. An endorsement is meant to provide the newspaper’s perspective and to stimulate readers’ consideration of issues and candidates. Most readers look over the paper’s analysis and then draw their own conclusions, as today’s letters certainly demonstrate. Every letter we received was critical of the Post endorsement;
In the case of Sunday’s Bush endorsement, the editorial board, like the country, was divided, and we took extraordinary steps to ensure that the full range of views was represented in our pages….Together, these pieces reflect the sharp division of opinion in Colorado as Election Day nears.
Daily Kos thinks presidential endorsements are on their last leg.
Is it worth it to any paper to endure hundreds or thousands of angry letters, newspaper cancellations, protests, and other negative publicity in order to endorse a candidate? And really, it’s not as if newspaper presidential endorsements carry much weight these days anyway with the proliferation of alternative media.
I think Kos is right about the lack of weight of presidential endorsements. But, I also like knowing where my hometown paper is coming from. When the editorial board is split, I think it’s only fair to run two endorsements, one by members in each camp. Or none at all. Printing only the majority opinion without stating that’s all it is seems disingenuous, at best.
You have to give the Post credit though, both for acknowledging the discord and printing the results of the feedback. And for not waiting until after the election to do so.