Two large newspapers printed their presidential endorsements this weekend. The Indianapolis Star and The Anchorage Daily News are both the newspapers of record for their respective states and have the largest circulation numbers. That, however, is where the similarities end.
The Alaskan newspaper makes a nod to their Governor's historic candidacy, but in the end the Daily News endorses Senator Obama.
Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.
Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.
The Star, however, decided to "withhold an endorsement in the presidential race this year." The Indianapolis newspaper will not support the Republican presidential candidate for the first time in four decades, but they can't bring themselves to actually endorse Obama.
After lengthy and impassioned discussions, the Editorial Board remains evenly divided, along philosophical lines, over whether McCain or Obama is the better choice for president. For that reason, the board will withhold an endorsement in the presidential race this year.
That decision should in no way discourage any voter from enthusiastically casting a ballot. The issues facing the United States are critical, and the two major-party candidates offer sharply contrasting visions of how the nation should proceed. It's more vital than ever that Americans help shape their future by active participation on Election Day.
The Anchorage Daily News has truly decided to take a courageous stand. While Gov Palin is currently riding the wave of the national campaign, like Cinderella at midnight, pundits and polls think she'll be sent home with her pumpkin soon. If she keeps her day job as Alaska's Governor, she will be able - at least to some degree - to control the newspaper's political access; the sensible route would have been to endorse your soon-to-lose Governor and curry favor with her administration.
Meanwhile, Senator Obama has fought hard to win Indiana's electoral college votes. Hoosiers haven't supported a Democratic ticket since Lydon Johnson, but things are looking awfully blue lately. Regardless of CNN's maddening refusal to move us out of the "Leans Republican" category, three polls released last week showed Obama leading McCain in Indiana. MSNBC lists us as a tossup state. Even Karl Rove has turned our state blue on his website tracking the election.
In these days of declining circulation numbers for print newspapers, investigative journalism has become one of the first casualties of the traditional media vs online content wars. Newspapers have consolidated or been swallowed up by large corporate entities; editing and proofreading has been outsourced overseas at many large dailies. Entire sections of the paper have been cut as part of the cost-cutting measures and even the grocery store circulars have moved to direct mail now that the newspapers reach fewer and fewer people. Election year endorsements has become one of the few standards of greatness left clinging to the presses like Spanish moss.
Sadly, the Indianapolis Star decided to shirk their duty - to abdicate the only responsibility left to them. While our state - and the country - tilt decidedly blue, Hoosiers are left wondering if the Star has any relevance left with the community. Meanwhile, Daily News readers can know that their newspaper of record took the time to thoughtfully make a decision based not on populism, cronyism or party affiliation, but on a careful analysis of the candidates.