By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The only candidate

I’ve written plenty of candidate endorsements over the years. And I think it’s safe to say that the heart of any editorial that urges voters to support a particular candidate is the notion of comparison. You should vote for Candidate X because of her own fine qualities and because Candidate Y would take us in the wrong direction. Or, We think Candidates A and B are both well-qualified, but Candidate A has more experience. You get the idea.

But today the Boston Globe endorses Deval Patrick in the Democratic gubernatorial primary without ever mentioning his opponents, Chris Gabrieli and Tom Reilly. This is longstanding practice at the Globe, but it isn’t a good one. At its most absurd, the editorial page once endorsed a challenger over an incumbent for a congressional seat without once mentioning the incumbent. That’s sticking to an arbitrary formula at the expense of informing the public.

This Globe editorial, published on Friday, is actually much more informative than today’s endorsement. Headlined “It’s all becoming clear,” the piece did, indeed, make it clear — that the Globe was on the verge of endorsing Patrick — and it drew comparisons about the three candidates following their Thursday debate.


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14 Comments

  1. fever

    Perhaps this question is off subject but why does the Globe or any newspaper for that matter feel the need to endorse anyone? I mean shouldn’t the Globe try to simply be an objective reporter of news? To the extent the Globe endorses any candidate I realize that the paper is biased and accordingly respect anything they print even less.

  2. MeTheSheeple

    Hear, hear, hear, for the “reasons why.” I’ve been able to eliminate only one of the three candidates in question. Still looking for additional insight.

  3. Anonymous

    Okay, fever. You have to learn how to read a newspaper. What we call the *op-ed* page is for opinion. The rest is for objective reporting.

  4. Anonymous

    Fever – Do you feel the same way about the Herald? They just endorsed Tom Reilly.What about people like Rush Limbaugh who scream about liberal bias, but openly admit they will never say anything bad about a Republican?

  5. fever

    The endorsement may be in the op-ed section but it was signed by the Boston Globe. Therefore, there is ample evidence the Globe (and Herald for that matter) have a political agenda. The problem with the Globe and people like Rush Limbaugh is that the Globe pretends to be an unbiased and objective reporter of news and Rush Limbaugh doesn’t make any false illusions regarding his political beliefs. I can’t stand Rush Limbaugh but at least he’s honest. And because the Globe thinks you should vote liberal, everything it prints is contorted to influence that vote. The globe just does it a little more subtly than someone like Rush.

  6. mike_b1

    I can’t stand Rush Limbaugh but at least he’s honest.Close the polls! We have a winner in the Most Absurd Statement Ever contest!

  7. Anonymous

    The argument about the distinction between the opinion page and the rest of the paper is nongermane. This is a business that allegedly prides itself on objectivity. To take, basically, the biggest decisions our society makes and announce official bias in favor of one candidate or another totally undermines the notion of objectivity. Yes, an endorsement appears on the opinion page, but it signifies an institutional bias in favor of one candidate. Newspaper political endorsements should have went the way of PM newspaper editions.

  8. Anonymous

    Fever,That’s absolute hogwash. First, Rush is not honest. He’s willing to say almost anything to advance his point. Second, the opinion page does not dictate editorial content. It doesn’t even speak with one voice. Note that it includes writing by Cathy Young and Jeff Jacoby. In practice, the Globe has an irritating tendecy to try to present both sides of an issue, even if there really isn’t one. Basically, you are accusing the Globe of shoddy journalism. Or are you referring to the Globe’s insistance on treating gay people as human beings? What does “voting liberal” mean, anyway?

  9. Anonymous

    Anon 4:23Why the hell does sex have to be attached to EVERYTHING? What’s next, gay weather?

  10. bostonph

    Fever and anon4:17I’m hard pressed to name a newspaper that doesn’t endorse candidates. Even the Wall Street Journal (home of one of the hardest right opinion pages around) endorses candidates.Are you really arguing that all newspapers should be ignored? Should all reporters swear oathes not to have political opinions? Do you believe it’s possible for there to be shades of grey? Or for people to put professionalism over personal beliefs?Sumner Redstone, of Viacom and hence CBS & MTV, endorsed George Bush because “because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on.” Does that make MTV right wing?I think you may have a case with the “Washington Times” (owned by the moonies), but even Rupert Murdoch is a businessman, first.I’m personally much more concerned about “new media” outlets like “WorldNetDaily” and “PunditReview” who don’t endorse candidates, but spend so much time blaming all the worlds ills on “liberals” who control the world that you’re left wondering if they’re referring to Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform liberals. I guess everyone needs a bogeyman, but at some point I want news which isn’t drawn with crayons.

  11. fever

    Let me restate my point, the globe portrays itself as being an unbiased reporter of news and in reality it is nothing more than a political voice of the liberal left. I enjoy reading the Globe but I read it knowing that it doesn’t always give both sides of an issue or contorts a story to feed its political agenda. I also read the Wall Street Journal but in my opinion there is not question where the Wall Street Journal stands regarding its political agenda. If you disagree with my analysis I think the following link is an excellent example of what I’m talking about:http://www.hubpolitics.com/archives/000927.php#comments

  12. Anonymous

    Thanks. As I susected “liberal” means “not rabidly homophobic.”Here’s all you need to know about “hubpolitics”http://www.hubpolitics.com/index.phpDuring the gay debate, both candidates revealed just how out of the mainstream they are, expressing their desires for Massachusetts to become the Gay Las Vegas by allowing our state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples from out-of-state.There’s a couple of nice “all Muslims are evil and smelly” type commentaries.My working theory is “new media” is just infotainment for angry suburban white guys. The Globe just provides a convenient “liberal” strawman.

  13. Anon 4:17

    bonstonph, don’t assume I’m conservative. I’ve never voted Republican in my life. Newspapers should not endorse candidates for elections. If you want your op-ed columnists to wite in favor of one candidate or another under his or her own name, fine, if you want to run letters to the editor favoring one or the other, fine, but an official endorsement betrays an institutional bias in favor of one candidate in an election they purport to cover in an objective manner. It is a practice that should have vanished generations ago.

  14. bostonph

    Anon 4:17,I wasn’t assuming anything about your politics. My point is newspapers are businesses, first. For example, the Globe’s coverage of last night’s debate very closely matches my memory, right down to describing Patrick as “defensive and off balance.” Adrian Walker goes further and describes him as “whiny.” The oped page editorial is kinder, but makes a point of mentioning they’ve endorsed him.What’s the issue?

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