Monday, March 31, 2008

Complaints and questions

C: I do not think your newspaper should try to pick who anyone should vote for. You should report facts and not influence your opinions. Let voters choose who they want in office. - W.M.

A: We've covered this topic before, but it's worth bringing up again with the primary approaching. We've never, in recent memory, bothered to endorse presidential candidates in a primary because the candidates have always been chosen by this time. This Democratic primary is different, and we'll probably favor one of them in an editorial. Endorsing candidates is one of those things we've been doing at this newspaper for 200 years. But doing so because it's always been done doesn't necessarily make it right.

Some newspapers have ceased endorsing candidates because their editors believe that it damages their newspapers' credibility as objective observers of the news. We continue to editorialize in favor of candidates because we believe our readers are intelligent enough to distinguish between opinion - that which you'll find on the editorial page - and news.

We believe it's important for us to share with our readers the conclusions we draw from being in much closer contact with candidates for local offices than individual readers can be. Of course, unless Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama troop up to our newsroom and submit to a barrage of our questions, we have no more information to base an opinion on than any other average reader, and a good case can be made for not making an endorsement of either.

We like to think that readers have respect for our opinions, but how much those opinions might influence those of our readers is anyone's guess. We are not presumptuous enough to think that readers will vote solely on the basis of our editorials, and we certainly hope that they do not. Voters choose candidates based on information they receive from many sources, and usually after much thought and debate.

Our primary concern here at the Observer-Reporter is that people vote, not for whom they might cast their ballots.

No comments: