Worth Noting

For the first time everever, mind you — the Chicago Tribune endorses a Democrat for president.

Did it help he was from Illinois? Oh, probably. They did also endorse another guy from Illinois for president, too. Even so.

The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post endorsed Obama today as well, but by any measure, this is the big newspaper endorsement of the day.

25 Comments on “Worth Noting”

  1. And by ever, you mean 161 years.

    But really, being an everyday reader of the Trib it doesn’t surprise me at all. They’ve known Obama from his earliest days in politics — long before he became even a statewide name. That they are so effusive is a bit of a shock, though…

  2. This is their forty-first presidential endorsement. The first two went to Whigs. In 1872, they endorsed Liberal Republican Horace Greeley, who was also the Democratic nominee. Their only other non-Republican nominee was Theodore Roosevelt with the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party. Like Greeley, Roosevelt had been a Republican.

    Adlai Stevenson, also from Illinois, did not receive their endorsement twice. It didn’t help Stephen Douglas either, although they did endorse a semi-native son that year.

  3. And I would like to echo the tone of the Tribune article. The reasons I’m voting for Obama do not include litmus tests on hot button subjects, sound bites or unreasonable stories spread by e-mail, but instead the realization that competence and pragmatism still have a place in the United States.

    There is a better way to do business in D.C. and across the political divide as it exists today. Get rid of the divide. In reality we are not as divided as the pundits would have us believe and if we give this a chance we could possibly fill in the divide and get some positive outcomes for a change.

    I’m not going to get into the inevitable right/left bickering that happens all too often. (even here, can you believe it?) I’m firmly of the opinion that the next breath we take to talk about this election should be after Nov. 4th and the first thing all of us should say is “OK, Let’s get to work.” Because that’s what we’re facing here folks, a ton of work to be done, no matter how the vote goes.

    Even if the vote doesn’t go the way I want, I’m not quitting on this country or our process, I’m not going to whine or throw childish “he’s not my President” tantrums. It’s the 21st century, time to grow up and get to work

    thanks for the soapbox

    a moderate Republican for Obama (yes, we exist)

  4. You’ve convinced me, Scalzi. I’m not voting McCain. I’m going with this Lincoln fellow. Take that, Stephen Douglas.

  5. The reasons I’m voting for Obama do not include litmus tests on hot button subjects, sound bites or unreasonable stories spread by e-mail, but instead the realization that competence and pragmatism still have a place in the United States.

    Yes, PLEASE! Competence and pragmatism!

    I’d be a whole lot less pissed off if there a Republican candidate who demonstrated thoese two qualities!

  6. The LA Times one is pretty impressive, though — first endorsement they’ve bothered to give since Nixon in ’72, AND their first ever Dem endorsement as well.

  7. Newspapers (and other media outlets) shouldn’t be endorsing candidates. Leave the endorsements on the editorial pages. Show the people the facts, uncolored with your opinions and let them make their own decisions. That’s the job of the newspeople. Watching Fox and MSNBC both leave me feeling icky. The fawning over their respective candidates destroys their credibility.

  8. PeterL@7

    Generally a newspaper’s endorsement does appear on the editorial page, at least that is where the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times run their endorsements.

  9. PeterL:

    You don’t actually read the physical newspapers much, apparently. As Steven notes, endorsements typically run on the editorial pages or are otherwise clearly marked as editorial content. Beyond that, speaking as a former newspaperman, there’s a solid wall between the news departments and the editorials department. An editorial position doesn’t chance what’s going on in the newsroom.

  10. I spent a year in Madison, Wisconsin, where the two best newspapers were the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sin-Times.

    And the Trib has endorsed a Democrat?

    Must be a sign of the Apocalypse . . . .

  11. I agree with Atrios: It’s no surprise that the Washington Post endorsed Obama. They endorsed Kerry in 2004. Hiatt’s taken the editorial page way to the right; it’s basically a neocon paper these days, but they still feel compelled to maintain this veneer of center-liberalism for some reason, and endorsing Democratic presidential candidates is one way they do it.

  12. And since the L.A. Times is owned by the Trib these days, it’s not surprising that they went that way. The Denver Post also announced their endorsement of Obama today.

  13. Obviously you guys are correct in that I don’t read the physical paper that much (or ever in the past 5 years or so).

    And though my foot is firmly planted in my mouth, that doesn’t prevent my fingers from typing so I’m going to be stubborn and say that I still do think they should refrain from saying that the “Chicago Tribune” endorses said candidate as that implies the whole paper, regardless of any actual divide between the editorial department and the rest of the paper.

    I guess I’m just tired of what I want to be supposedly objective bodies of information and reporting being so obviously biased.

  14. @PeterL, As far as I understand it, it has been traditional for papers to have a position to advance. I think the main way to be truly informed is to read many sources of information. The other way is to read Scalzi’s blog.

    Obama reminds me of one of those super cool Heinlein characters. :)

  15. @Hector: Aha! But the question is, who? Not quite Ben Caxton, I think, but neither is he a Jubal Harshaw.

    Dare I say Michael Smith, the Man from Mars? (He did joke about being from Krypton).

    Or perhaps more of a Bonforte, or a Daniel Boone Davis?

  16. PeterL @ 13

    Part of it is an historical leftover, from when newspapers were as much about political boosterism as about bringing you the news (which is why some papers are still called the Democrat or the Republican). They were started as sheets to help elect their guys or bring about their policies. Over time, they evolved and the concept of journalistic integrity was introduced, but the editorial pages have always been there.


    GVDub @ 12

    While the LA Times is owned by the Tribune Company, it has a different editorial board. Nevertheless, what makes its endorsement surprising is that, as PeterL wishes, they have not endorsed anyone for president since 1972 when they endorsed Nixon. The surprise then is not who they endorsed, but that they actually endorsed anyone.

  17. Jeff @ 3:

    “In reality we are not as divided as the pundits would have us believe..”

    Respectfully (I mean that), hogwash.

    Nearly eight years of being called a “traitor” by fellow citizens who actually support a president who considers the U.S. Constitution “just a piece of paper” has left me jaded. All because we dared oppose this little man.

    (And they continue to support him, even now.)

    “…if we give this a chance we could possibly fill in the divide and get some positive outcomes for a change.”

    M,kay, how about George Bush supporting “modern conservatives” go first?


    This sound repudiation of “modern conservatism” coming leaves me, in a lot of ways, gleeful. Modern conservatism = support of torture = extraordinary rendition = domestic spying = Abu Grahib = “kill him” at Palin rallies = George Bush = Sarah Palin winking = Dick Cheney = $7,000,000,000,000.00 for Wall Street = $1,000,000,000,000.00 national debt.

    Good riddance to it.

    I think these phony “modern conservatives” small government George Bush supporters owe the rest of us a goddam big apology.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for it, mind you.

    But still….

  18. @ 16, Sean L continued a speculation of Obama as an Heinlein character.

    “Or perhaps more of a Bonforte, or a Daniel Boone Davis?”

    I think that Bonforte is quite apt. For those who do not know the Heinlein character, John Joseph Bonforte, read the novel Double Star.


  19. Midwestern Progressive @ 19

    I was all set to get snarky and defend myself and what I believe in and then decided. “Nope, not going there.”

    I did say Moderate not modern. I don’t know what a modern Republican is, and if you noticed, I said I wasn’t going to get into the left/right bickering that happens. Why, you might ask, cause it’s a waste of breath.

    IMHO, a Moderate is one who is in the middle of the political spectrum. I’m pro-choice, anti-gun control, not threatened by the increase of marriages in California, and did not agree with the recent bailout.

    So, Socially Liberal, fiscally conservative, and incurably optimistic.

    I’ll say it again, “let’s get to work