A curious dichotomy appears to be unfolding way out yonder in the Valley of the Sun.
The Arizona Republic — for the first time in the newspaper’s history — has endorsed a Democrat for president. Hillary Rodham Clinton got the nod from Arizona’s largest newspaper over Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.
The reaction from around the country has been stunning, to say the least. But get this: The endorsement has ignited a firestorm in the Phoenix community, with subscription cancellations out the wazoo — and even reportedly a death threat against someone high-up in the paper’s management chain of command.
Here’s the dichotomy.
Critics of the so-called “mainstream media” keep saying that newspaper endorsements don’t matter, that they no longer carry the weight they once did in an earlier era when papers were run by media titans named Hearst, Chandler, Graham and Pulliam.
Why, then, has there been such a reaction to the Arizona Republic’s recommendation? Is it that average rank-and-file Americans really do care after all?
I kind of feel the pain their experiencing in Phoenix. In 2010, the paper where I was working at the time, the Amarillo Globe-News, decided to endorse a Democrat for Texas governor over the Republican incumbent. We backed former Houston Mayor Bill White over Gov. Rick Perry. We might as well have endorsed Satan himself. The reaction from our readership was ferocious.
The good news, though, is that I don’t believe we received any death threats.
Part of the criticism we heard, of course, was that our voice “didn’t matter.” If so, then why firestorm of anger over what we said?
The same question perhaps needs to be asked now as we digest the reaction to a major newspaper deciding to go against tradition by — for shame! — backing a Democrat for the presidency of the United States.