Here’s some news that brings a swarmy smile to my face!
Yesterday afternoon, The Oklahoman – the state’s most trusted source of right-wing propaganda – announced that after a century of only endorsing conservative candidates for public office, they will stop issuing political endorsements all together as opposed to endorsing an actual Democrat.
Opinion: Getting out of the political endorsement business
Throughout its long history, The Oklahoman has made it a point to endorse candidates for political office, whether for local races such as mayor or national offices such as president or Congress. That practice is ending this year.
This decision was not made lightly. We both understand, and respect, the historical role of endorsements from the newspaper’s editorial board. The reality, however, is that it is time to change course.
Yep, that’s right. Instead of falling on the conservative sword they’ve been sharpening since the early 1900s and endorsing Joe Biden over Donald Trump, The Oklahoman is just doing away with endorsements altogether. Basically, they’re taking their ball of propaganda and going home. You have to love it.
Of course, The Oklahoman won’t admit to that being the reason why they’re doing away with endorsements. In a nod to the mental gymnastics the paper would pull over the years when it would endorse a right-wing conservative candidate over a more qualified moderate or liberal opponent, the paper tried to spin the decision as logical and rational.
A primary reason is that this newspaper no longer has full editorial board. For decades it did, composed of the editorial writers and the top brass who would meet with candidates during election seasons, then discuss those meetings and come to a consensus on who, or whether, to endorse. This was the norm until October 2018 when The Oklahoman was sold, resulting in the departure of several board members.
For six months after that, two editorial writers and our editor comprised the board. Today, just the two of us remain.
That doesn’t make any sense. As a one-man editorial board myself, I find it’s a lot easier to impose your will and political agenda when you have fewer people involved in the process.
Another consideration was, how much sway do endorsements really have? We could list any number of candidates or issues this page has supported through the years who wound up succeeding, but also a sizeable number on the other side of the ledger. Perhaps the best example of the latter was the page’s support in 2005 for an increase in the state’s gasoline tax — 87% of voters rejected the idea, the widest margin of defeat for any state question in Oklahoma history.
That’s bullshit. Although their effectiveness has been minimized due to the fall of newspapers, endorsements definitely have sway. For example, I could always turn to The Oklahoman editorial page, see who they’re endorsing, and then know to vote the exact opposite. Hell, sometimes you didn’t even have to turn it to the editorial page! You could just look on the front page of the paper and the editorial would be right there at the top, totally mixed in with the real news coverage.
A third reality is that right or wrong, endorsements can make it more difficult for our reporters. Although the opinion page and the news section are separate entities, it is easy for public officials to lump the two together and hold the views written on this page against the men and women trying to cover those officials.
Look at that! The Oklahoman finally cares about the tough spot editorials can put their reporters in. That only took 110 years or so to figure out. I’m sure the few remaining reporters at the paper are appreciative of that.