Saturday, August 19, 2006

CD 8: Arizona Daily Star Will Endorse…

...No one! Nope, not in any primary election race, according to the rumor trolls. Could that possibly account for why Fitz’s August 17th Lisa Simpson cartoon is missing from his archives?

(Or am I simply too dense to find it? Help me out here.)

All the campaigns will be giving this the “no news is good news” spin until our collective heads spin.

8 comments:

AZYouLikeIt said...

I've heard that rumor too.

Maybe it's just a ploy by the Star editorial board to get the campaigns off their back. :-)

Art Jacobson said...

Dear "Az"

There's a lot here we could all hash out regardless of what gnarly political predispositions seperate us on the primary election debate scene.

1. Should newspapers endorse partisan candidates? Does it call into question the "Chinese Wall" that's supposed to seperate the editorial office from the news desk?

I think the assumption by many newspaper readers has always been that the editors may spend more time thinking about and analysing the political scene.

On the other hand (at least in the Star) the number of column inches devoted to politics on an annual basis is a vanishingly small per centage of total coverage. How well informed can they really be?

There may be more truth than you suspect to your claim that they just want to get the pols off their backs.
Vetting all the rascals running for office is time and money intensive.

2. Is there any evidence that newspaper endorsements really make a difference; and how would we determine whether they do or not? How many people ever read the editorials?

Incidentally, I think we may now remove the "no endorsements" story from the realm of rumor.

For a fresh rumor comsider the unverifiable street talk that the Star's political reporter (Scarpinato)
is either being heavily 'backstopped' or pushed into other reportorial duties.

Art

AZYouLikeIt said...

I hadn't heard the Scarpinato rumor, but the fact that he didn't write today's push poll piece certainly lends credence to that argument.

He took a lot of heat for the Gabby ad watch, and the new publisher at the Star is reportedly quite gun-shy. They may be benching him, at least for the time being.

As for whether nonpartisan papers should even be endorsing candidates... I'm not sure. If you say "no", it raises the question of whether papers should be writing unsigned editorials at all. TV stations across the country have abandoned commentary almost entirely. Many people subscribe to the paper specifically for opinion pieces.

I suppose there's an argument to be made for dumping editorials but keeping columnists and op-ed pieces, which of course would cease to be op-ed if they're no longer placed opposite the editorials. :-)

I'd say the stronger thing for a paper to do is let the reporting prove its independence from the editorial pages. The WSJ has perhaps the most conservative editorial board in the country, but its reporting is rarely criticized for being partisan.

wearetribal said...

I think the critical issue here is that the newspapers and journalists in general have lost what credibility they ever may have had. Where are the journalists who asked the relevant questions before the invasion of Iraq? Where is the unbiased coverage of the current administration? Sure, you have Leftist voices, but is there no way that anyone can oppose Bush without also buying lunatic crap about him plotting 9/11 and so on?

The invasion of Iraq; on the one side you had most of the media playing the role of incredibly gullible dupes. On the other you had a small cadre of Leftist voice spouting all sorts of crap about it being for oil and motivated by racism. One side said it would be a cakewalk, the other instant bloodbath.

And obvious flaws in logic were never identified by either side. The whole idea of Saddam being a threat because he had a nuke was a farce, and I seem to have been the only one to notice that. He had no delivery system. No missiles, no airplanes, a border closely watched by satellite with enemies on all sides. Sure, but then people said he would just give it to the terrorists...the same people he had spent 25 years killing and torturing? I somehow doubted it. And smuggling a multi-ton object out of a country under sanctions is not such an easy task. Somehow no one else realized that even if Saddam had a nuke, all it would mean was that he could nuke himself.

I am grateful the Weekly endorsed Giffords. But gods they frustrate me otherwise. They are against sprawl and destruction of the desert we live in, but for every single thing that leads to sprawl and destruction of the desert! More roads. For protecting central city neighborhoods from being changed to allow more people to live in them. Against building housing for wealthy people in the downtown area.

Then their political "coverage" is mostly deeply embarrassing and disturbing. Who is "ahead?" What is the political advantage of the position that candidate took (it is assumed that actual belief in the position is unlikely)? What do they have to do to win? It is pure cynicism and fortune telling.

Why the hell would anyone give them a shred of credibility? Credibility is earned. They have not earned it. On the contrary. In fact there was a recent study that showed the "experts" on TV trail Joe Blow on the street for accuracy of their predictions.

Art Jacobson said...

He Lives! He Lives!

The rumors of Scarpinato's journalistic demise were greatly exaggerated. He is all over the CD 8 coverage in today's (Sunday's) Star.

x4mr said...

I guess folks already know that Scarpinato has plenty to say in today's paper, with three pieces including a rather interesting piece on a meeting where Weiss asked Jeff to drop out of the race.

Hmmmm. Just going for a landslide, Patty? I have a different read. Can't recall if I posted it or just spoke/email, but pretty sure that Jeff strength draws from Patty more than Giffords. Whatever this DVD draws will draw more from her.

I don't know how Scarpinato figured it to be be 2 from Patty for every 1 from Giffords, but that seems reasonable.

As for the should and impact of endorsements, who knows? Regarding the should, I am on the fence and see good arguments on each side. As for impact, my speculation is that it varies by the specific race/proposition.

I think high profile races attract more attention and folks tend to think more for themselves based on multiple media, word of mouth, party, etc..

I think newspapers can have significant impact on propositions, judges, and items where folks want to read something, "Don't know and might not care, just tell me what to do on this one."

When a well read newspaper publishes a one page, "Here's how to vote" Voting Guide shortly before the election, I think its influence can be significant in the lower profile or more complicated items.

x4mr said...

Art,

Just saw your post. Yes, we now know Danny's been busy. Note, however, that this morning's Ad Watch on Aboud was done by Brodesky.

Maybe they'll keep Dan out of the advertising commentary business for awhile.

AZYouLikeIt said...

It's also worth noting that Brodesky did not give Aboud's campaign a chance to respond to the article.

It's a fact check -- the ad needs to stands on its own, without additional explanation. Either it's true or it's not, and as Brodesky notes, this ad is not all true. The Star treated Aboud's campaign the same as they treated Gabby's, which seems perfectly fair to me.