A column in today’s Amarillo Globe-News encourages folks to “read between the lines of newspaper endorsements.”
OK. I usually do that. I also read between the lines of this particular essay, which contained a couple of points worth noting.
One is the timing of a particular endorsement mentioned by the author of the essay, Globe-News director of commentary David Henry. He writes about the paper’s impending endorsement in the Leticia Van de Putte-Dan Patrick race for Texas lieutenant governor. More on that in a moment.
Second is this: “The reason Patrick isn’t piling up newspaper endorsement is — let’s face it — his habit of saying politically incorrect things, and some editorial boards consider themselves above such behavior.”
I am almost ready to lay down some real American money and suggest that the Globe-News endorsement, when it comes, will back Patrick in the race to become the state’s next lieutenant governor. Columnists and editorialists usually don’t refer to political correctness unless they intend to make light of it, denigrate it, or say they outright they oppose it. The tone of the statement quoted on this blog suggests one or both of the first two points.
That’s fine. Any newspaper is surely entitled to endorse whomever they wish.
However, the timing is a bit troublesome.
The election occurs on Tuesday. The endorsement will come out on Election Eve or on Election Day. Either way, the response time from readers either endorsing or opposing the newspaper endorsement — whichever way it goes — is extremely limited. Readers likely will have little or zero time to write something, submit it and then get it published prior to the time voters go to the polls.
Oh yeah. They’ve got the digital edition. Readers can post comments online. Good luck getting to them if you don’t pay to read the digital version of the newspaper.
Back in the old days, when I ran editorial pages in Amarillo, in Beaumont, or back in Oregon, we had a policy that cut off campaign-related letters to the editor one week before election day. We sought to avoid what a former editor of mine would call a “last-minute dump” by foes of a candidate who would disparage a candidate without giving the other side enough time to respond.
Accordingly, we usually managed to get our editorial recommendations on races published well before Election Day. With the advent of early voting, indeed, it became imperative that we get our endorsements on the record prior to the start of the early-voting period.
I guess that’s changed these days. The timing of the newspaper’s endorsement in this highly important race amounts, in my mind, to a last-minute dump.
That’s their call. I’m still looking forward to reading what my former newspaper has to say regarding this important statewide race.
I might be surprised. Then again, probably not, if what I read between those lines is accurate.