News-Sentinel Trying To Weasel Its Way Out of a Public Presidential EndorsementThere seems to be no small debate brewing at the Knoxville News-Sentinel about whether the paper should endorse a candidate for President, as has been the custom in years' past. The KNS is taking a poll to ask readers whether it should make an endorsement. After all, says the reasoning, no one really cares about newspaper endorsements any longer, right?
It is true that newspaper endorsements do not carry the weight that they once did, but who a paper endorses for various political offices-but especially for President-gives the reader a clear picture of where the paper's editorial bias happens to fall. Every newspaper has such biases, but many want to conceal that reality so that they can slant the news to their liking without readers remembering their editorial line. The News-Sentinel has long shown itself to be a paper that is far more liberal in its outlook than the community that it purports to cover.
As much as I don't like that reality, the News-Sentinel has the right to take whatever editorial line it might choose to take. One has to wonder if the present reluctance of the KNS Editorial Board to endorse a candidate is really tied to the fact that many on the staff may support Barack Obama, and perhaps the editorial board does as well. Most East Tennesseans will be voting for John McCain, and that's just reality. Perhaps the News-Sentinel is less concerned about not endorsing candidates because the practice is outdated, and more concerned that if they endorse who they would really like to, the paper would lose a ton of subscribers.
The reason the News-Sentinel is trying to poll its way out of an endorsement is because they know the backlash that would come if they make their endorsement public. The News Sentinel should not use an internet poll as a means to play the coward and tell the people where the newspaper stands.