Opinion: Editors may be a little too full of themselves

February 29, 2020

I noticed something in the trade press, which is the magazine Editor and Publisher, this week that caught my eye. It was an item that said the Arizona Republic, Arizona’s largest and most influential paper, would no longer endorse candidates for office.

 

That was tantamount to saying the Republic no longer would accept classified ads.

 

When I worked in Arizona, I read the Republic every day. It was an excellent newspaper, and to imagine it wouldn’t endorse political candidates was, well, unimaginable.

 

But my, how the mighty have fallen. The Republic was sold many months ago, along with many of the other large newspapers in large cities. The company that bought the Republic, Gannett, used to print the newspaper you are reading now. So, things change. We are a little newspaper, the Republic is a big newspaper. 

 

Gannett also used to print the Bellingham, Washington, Herald, for which I once worked, and that newspaper, the Bellingham Herald, was purchased by the McClatchy Co. not too long ago.

 

So it goes. Daily newspapers once were big, powerful companies, but now they are small.

 

The time was when big newspaper companies would enjoy using their influence to decide who was going to be the next president, or the next governor.

 

Newspapers had editorial boards, who would call in candidates and talk to them — throw a little of the fear of God into them.

 

One governor I remember interviewing for the newspaper, for which I worked in Arizona, was J. Fife Symington III. The thing I remember most about him was that besides being a friendly guy, he had red hair. Symington was a Republican. He thought of himself as a close follower of Ronald Reagan.

 

The politicians would spend a lot of time telling us (the editorial board) how important they thought we were, and I got the idea they were feeding us a lot of baloney. Politicians don’t think anybody is as important as they, themselves, are.

 

My favorite politician was Republican Barry Goldwater, when he was running for president against John F. Kennedy. He was very truthful, he swore a lot and knew some good jokes. He was the founder of modern conservatism, and the Republic always endorsed him.

 

One thing I would guess is that now the Republic has decided to stop endorsing, the members of that paper’s editorial board don’t feel as important as they might once have felt.

 

Apparently the readers don’t care whether the Republic has given up endorsing, and to me, that says the editorial boards may have been a little too full of themselves.

 

We don’t endorse at the Madera Tribune, by the way, except maybe a couple or three times over several years. We don’t want to get too full of ourselves, either.

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