As Bloomberg endorses Obama, a chance to reimagine media endorsements
Bloomberg View | Groundswell | Slate
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's endorsement of President Obama, published in Bloomberg View Thursday, carries the weight of both his office and the news organization he founded and owns. Also on Thursday, Bloomberg Businesweek unveiled its next magazine cover, which argues that climate change was responsible for Hurricane Sandy. Bloomberg cited Obama's commitment to fighting climate change as a key reason for his endorsement. Question:
So how tightly integrated was the release of today's @bw cover and Bloomberg's Obama endorsement?
— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) November 1, 2012
But while other publications' endorsements are generally not composed by elected officials who own media empires, they can still mean a lot to campaigns.
There's debate, though, whether they serve readers. Endorsements aren't necessarily relics that need to be scrapped, J.C. Stearns argues, they just need to be re-engineered for the Internet age. Editorial boards could link to articles that influenced their decision, Stearns suggests:
Newspapers still make endorsements because they believe that as careful observers of the election they are uniquely positioned to assess the big picture, pull together diverse viewpoints and important threads of the debate with the goal of boiling it down for their readers. I believe there is some truth in that notion, but that in the digital age where transparency is king, readers expect the newsroom to show their work.
Other Stearns suggestions: Town halls, explainers.
Meanwhile Dave Weigel looks at the newspapers that have flipped endorsements from Obama in 2008 to Romney in 2012. Many of them, he notes, view Romney's flexibility on certain points as a virtue. "Most of these papers have this in common: They stop the clock on Romney’s 'real' beliefs in 2006, and they restart it on Oct. 3," Weigel writes. "These newspapers are convinced: The Real Mitt Romney is a moderate who got one over on conservative primary voters."
Related: Dylan Byers wonders why Bloomberg's endorsement isn't on the Bloomberg View homepage and notes one sentence in it broke Bloomberg house style (Politico) | The Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph endorses Romney "after several hours of spirited debate" (The Telegraph) | Obama and Romney endorsements in swing state newspapers (Poynter)