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Chris,In my opinion, positions voiced on the editorial page do less to persuade than they do to illuminate. They help the reader understand the prism through which the news has been filtered. Thoughtful readers do realize that everyone, even "objective" reporters, must have subjective opinions. And based on those editorials we find validation of your opinions in the often nuanced (and probably subconscious) prominence and editing of important stories. If I were running the editorial page (thanks for asking, but no), I would do less to reveal my personal bias toward candidates and more to explain the rationale of their supporters.
Thanks again for the variety of opinions. Our ethics board, which meets monthly, plans to discuss this topic more at our meeting Tuesday. I'll report back afterward.
Hello Chris,IMO, one of the reasons people own and run newspapers is for the common good of informing society, but also to influence the world and opinions. In a capitalist society, those papers that don't fit the market where they are would not be profitable, so a balance does have to be struck.I think it's fine and dandy for the newspaper to be up front with its endorsements. At least they are being clear with their intentions. Can a paper be truly objective? I think its intentions should be up front. I don't always agree with the VA's picks, but I do read the points and take them into consideration.Also, IMO, I see no evidence whatsoever of "elitism," under Tim Delaney's guidance of the Viewpoints page. He's always supportive when I talk to him on the phone about letters to the editor, and I appreciate that.
I think that if newspapers endorse candidates, they should do so based on the person's record on such things as freedom of the press and open meetings/records. In other words, endorse candidates that are supportive of both newspapers and the public service newspaper staff provide for the community.
I appreciate the various feedback so far. To be clear, I posed this question out of a concern about how readers perceive the newspaper's fairness, not because of any fear about mass cancellations. I'm not aware of even a single cancellation because of our latest round of election endorsements.After reading your comments so far, I remain torn about the value of election endorsements. I hear some of you -- who all say you wouldn't cancel a subscription over an endorsement -- say the editorials make you question the newspaper's fairness. I hear others say it's part of the newspaper's First Amendment obligation to offer endorsements. I certainly share the sentiment that we want to make people talk and think.
I personally think that a paper should not be endorsing any particular candidate or party over another. The press (or the whole news media really) is seen as always leaning to the left. And I read other papers and articles I see the same tendency. The Advocate in endorsing Obama(I feel) is just going with the flow.I do think you should be involved and stress the differences in the candidates and what their politics would do to the local area. But just give me the facts,I'll make up my own mind. And No I would not cancel my subscription over it and I just take it with a grain of salt when you do.
You're only going to get accusations of bias from the people whose candidate you don't endorse. The people who will make such accusations do not understand the editorial opinion process.I think that backing down from a traditional place that a newspaper holds in a community because of such ignorance is cowardly. I would have much less respect for a paper that backed down because they were afraid of taking a strong stance on a political candidate or an issue because it might anger a part of the readership that just doesn't know how things work.If you're concerned with accusations of bias, take the opportunity to educate people on the hows and whys of endorsements. And do it alongside the endorsements in the print Advocate.As long as the endorsements do not come from the angle of personal preferences, but instead are based on rational judgement of the candidates' positions and their value for the Victoria area, the state of Texas, and the country, then the paper has a strong defense against any accusations of bias. in fact, these endorsements are a jumping off point for a good, lively conversation in the community about the elections. The Advocate has the ability to start a conversation base on rationality and thought.Don't stop doing things because some readers don't like what you say. Educate, inform, and - most of all - make people talk and think.
Toni,The Advocate's editorial board consists of the publisher, secretary/treasurer, community conversation editor, circulation director, senior editor, managing editor, local editor, assistant local editor, a senior copy editor and myself as editor.Except for election endorsements, do you see evidence of elitism in other opinions on the Viewpoints page or in news coverage? I admire how involved you are in the political process. If you ever want to attend one of our editorial board meetings, we'd be happy to get your input. You can give me a call at the office to set that up -- 574-1271.Chris
I rarely agree with whom newspapers endorse. Makes no difference to me. Newspapers have been endorsing candidates since the Gutenberg Bible, well maybe not that long. It is something that should continue. To cancel ones subscription over such things is trite, and these people probably can't reason anyway. But support who you think is the best, not what is easy. We aren't talking about hard news, this is an editorial board, and their ideas go on the editorial page aka the "opinion" page. If folks don't agree, they can write a letter to the Editor and it will appear on the same page.
I don't think that newspapers or any media outlet should endorse anyone. We all joke about it, but the media is supposed to be unbiased to provide the most accurate coverage.When I was in high school, I got into UIL and "newswriting."I fared pretty well for myself in that arena and it only validated my hopes of making a career for myself in journalism. The very first thing I learned was that in order to win the competition, you had to write about the facts and do it without any bias.I don't have a subscription to your paper (because I am trying to save trees and I do everything online...) but even if I did, I wouldn't cancel it over this - even though I feel as another commenter that it hurts the credibility of the paper.I don't know who your editorial board is or what it takes to be on it, but from the things I have seen come from this "board," I can tell it is a small group of elitests who apparently are doing and saying what is in their best interests and not the community.
Take the safe route and endorse John McCain....I am not a spokesman for the left ,but I am pretty sure no one from the left willeven question your decision,because our minds are made up.It's the right that pays attention to the cartoons,columnist,endorsements etc. in this city.Been down this road before. ....I will not ever cancel my subscription over what the Victoria Advocate does.It's your opinion,your endorsement ...Nothing else.It has always been a tradition for the Advocate to endorse, so don't break that trdition and go the safe route ....John McCain.
IMO, I think it makes me question the papers credibility when reporting on issues surrounding the candidates endorsed by the paper. Is the paper biased in their reporting. In this day & age we the general public have resources a plenty to research the candidates & their platforms. As far as bond issues & ballat initiatives, ammendments & such, what y'all do is a service as those can be a tad confusing. As a small community paper, endorsing local people is not in your best interest, you can make some pretty big enemies that way.