Endorsement of Kennedy ordered?

Dateline: Fri 11 Nov 2011

People talk. The chat now is that the Star's editorial board would have liked to endorse Greg Ballard in his bid for re-election for mayor of Indianapolis, but Gannett -- the publisher? someone higher up the food chain? -- stepped in and "ordered" the paper to support Melina Kennedy.

The reasoning was that Gannett wants to turn Indy into Portland, Ore., a "nice, liberal city."

The outcry from readers shows that such strategies, if true (and I find it believable) do not work.

However, in fairness, I'm sure Dennis Ryerson and Dan Carpenter were in Kennedy's camp.  No doubt the publisher, too. They and the following are all members of the editorial board, which is supposed to call these shots.

But Tim Swarens, the editorial page editor, would have been a Ballard backer, and Russ Pulliam's last two columns dissecting Kennedy's strategies show clearly his understanding of her flawed platform, especially on education -- to say nothing of his conservatism and Republican politics. Gary Varvel, cartoonist, would have backed Ballard, too. Not sure about the others (Beth Murphy, for instance). And what about Matt Tully and Erika Smith? I think Erika was sincere in her support of Ballard, but I still think Tully was asked to back Kennedy to complete a dueling columnists sideshow.

So what gives? Is the Star -- which attempts to stress local copy and local talent -- taking orders on its editorial positions from Gannett HQ? Is the editorial board of the paper completely gutless?

And if so, why don't the people who work there blow the whistle?


Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I have always hated the concept of newspaper candidate endorsements. That is not the job of a newspaper - to tell people who they should vote for. This has always smacked of journalistic arrogance and condescension.

When I worked at a smalltown paper, the editor decided to make endorsements in a city election. The day after the election, the losing candidate for mayor's followers paraded out in front of the newspaper office with signs protesting the endorsement.

They gave me the evil eye when I walked into the building, not knowing that I wanted to join them in their protest.

2011-11-11 11:45:45

hendy [Member] said:

Endorsements are done by those that provide non-partisan ink by the barrel.

I frankly don't believe Gannett is trying to turn Indy into Portland OR; sounds like a Fox News rumor if I ever heard one.

Why The Star endorsed Kennedy is a mystery to me. Maybe they thought that they were pimping the potential winner. Certainly the Birthers in the crowd would have nothing to do with it.

2011-11-11 13:27:14

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

When they made that endorsement, she was a safe bet.

She lost it in the last month with a campaign focused on issues that didn't matter to voters.

They also endorsed 17 of 29 Council, Republicans, so they're on the short end of that stick. They even endorsed that 25th-floor flack Barbara Malone.

Thankfully, the voters didn't.

2011-11-11 19:24:59

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

And as far as people that work for the Gannett STAR blowing the whistle on whether the STAR takes orders on its editorial positions from Gannett HQ, don't you know what happens to whistleblowers? They get punished, get fired, and the vast majority of attorneys have given up on finding a feasible way to help them.

2011-11-12 09:33:46

escapedbeforebeinggannettized [unverified] said:

Being endorsed by the Star is the kiss of death. Like the Heisman trophy winner whose NFL career typically goes nowhere. No one cares who they endorse. It matters not.
I think it is somewhat arrogant that they even do that, being a self-anoited
matter of importance. Gannett runs the Star from afar. I have seen it firsthand, so do not ever doubt that.

2011-11-12 19:05:30

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Newspaper endorsements are a time-honored tradition. It's one barometer of review. Not the only one.

2011-11-13 09:37:57

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"Newspaper endorsements are a time-honored tradition."

TTT. With all due respect and with recognition that this is an arguable subject, I believe newspaper endorsements are a bad time-honored tradition.

Kind of like the ashtrays filled with cigarette butts that were on most reporters' desks when I worked in newsrooms from the mid-1970s until the 1990s.

2011-11-13 14:52:07

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Whitebeard: I didn't say it was a good tradition. I said it was a time-honored tradition.

It's throw-back to times when newspapers actually mattered.

2011-11-13 16:11:50

dukeyoung [unverified] said:

Check the header, Ruthie. Maybe you could hire one of those laid-off

2011-11-13 19:17:40

ruthholl [Member] said:

Thanks dukeyoung. I knew there was a reason I woke at 2:47 a.m.

2011-11-14 01:48:03

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