In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review January 28, 2008 / 21 Shevat 5768

By endorsing candidates, newspapers risk becoming the news themselves

By Mitch Albom

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I walked past a coffee shop Thursday night, and through the window I saw a TV screen. Under the words "breaking news" came the following information:

The New York Times had endorsed Hillary Clinton and John McCain in the presidential primaries.

I wondered if this was "breaking news."

Or if it should be news at all.

Once upon a time newspapers' endorsing political candidates was as logical as baseball cards having players' photos. Newspapers were bald-faced about their political views. They argued them. They pushed them. In some cases, they were little more than the publishing arms of a political party. Those were the old days.

These are not those days.

These are days where information comes at you like blinding snow, where opinions never stop, and where, more than ever, you wonder who is behind your data. Is it a newscast or an advertisement? Is it a Web blog by someone pretending to be someone else? Is the host of a show in favor of something because he's paid to be so?

Is it reality — or reality TV?

Newspapers have been fighting this ugly storm for years. In a time of confusing signals, newspapers try to balance on increasingly shaky ground — that of nonpartisan reporters of the world's unfolding history.

That doesn't mean newspapers lack opinion. Columnists are hired to express their views. Op-ed pieces argue a point. Even headline writers slant the news with their tone. ("We Win!" in a sports section is hardly what you'd call dispassionate.)

But when it comes to choosing a political candidate — particularly for president — newspapers should get out of the endorsement business.

Here's why: The average reader doesn't lack for information anymore. With computers, DVRs and satellite TV, anything you want to know about a candidate you can call up, replay or download. Newspapers are no longer informing readers with an endorsement.

What they are doing is making themselves targets. The U.S. political scene is so divisive that if you endorse a Democrat, you become a target of Republicans, and vice-versa. If you vocally chose a candidate, you get vocally lambasted by some contrary radio host or TV commentator.

And while that is no reason to cower from your views, newspapers often talk about perception. The perception of bias. The perception of undue influence.

If, through an endorsement, readers think you've surrendered your objectivity, you need to pay attention. Even if you're certain you haven't.

At my newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, endorsements are decided by the editorial board — four editorial page writers and the editorial page editor, according to Ron Dzwonkowski, who holds that latter job. On big races — such as president — the editor and publisher "will likely want to be heard," Dzwonkowski says.

They don't sit in a room and argue "I like this guy." They admirably lay out issues that matter to our readers, and select which candidate they feel will most effectively deal with those issues.

"A newspaper can't recommend policies," Dzwonkowski says, "without also recommending the people who'll implement the policies."

But maybe it should. Here's why: First, these are candidates. The truth is, we have no idea who will deliver on campaign promises. (Which is why we sometimes lament an endorsement four years later.) Besides, five or seven people deciding whom an entire newspaper will endorse sends a confusing message: I may disagree with the choice, but as an employee, I am lumped in with it by readers. My objectivity is therefore questioned.

Meanwhile, with an endorsement, a newspaper leaves a concrete footprint. The New York Times, in praising McCain for "working across the aisle," also trashed Rudy Giuliani as a "narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man" whose "arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking."

So how will the Times' coverage of Giuliani be taken from here on in? Could you blame people if they say, "You can't believe what the Times writes about Rudy — they hate him"?

This is too big a price for a newspaper to pay — especially for throwing one more hat on a candidate's pile. Everyone from Oprah to Chuck Norris endorses candidates now. A newspaper may gain more by keeping that opinion to itself.

Besides, there's an old adage in this business that when the newspaper becomes the breaking news, it's not good news. We should remember that.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

"For One More Day"  

"For One More Day" is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Sales help fund JWR.

Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.

Mitch's Archives