The Chicago Tribune has taken heat for its endorsement of President Bush (registration required). So much so, that the Trib's Public Editor has written a column explaining "how [they] came to make [their] endorsement."
The endorsement read, in part, as follows:
Bush's sense of a president's duty to defend America is wider in scope than Kerry's, more ambitious in its tactics, more prone, frankly, to yield both casualties and lasting results. This is the stark difference on which American voters should choose a president.It goes on to criticize the perception that Bush has done nothing but create enemies out of former allies and to attack Kerry's "serial dodg[ing]" on "the most crucial issue of our time." It also advocates the President on domestic issues, though it concludes that "[t]his country's paramount issue ... remains the threat to its national security."
There is much the current president could have done differently over the last four years. There are lessons he needs to have learned. And there are reasons--apart from the global perils likely to dominate the next presidency--to recommend either of these two good candidates.
But for his resoluteness on the defining challenge of our age--a resoluteness John Kerry has not been able to demonstrate--the Chicago Tribune urges the re-election of George W. Bush as president of the United States.
The Trib felt compelled to defend this endorsement because of "the furious response by so many readers this week to Sunday's presidential endorsement editorial--there easily were at least 2,400 communications to editors, reporters, customer service representatives and the letters editor."
The Trib's defense of itself is perfectly sensical:
Besides the seasoned judgments of its members, the editorial board is guided in making its decisions by what might be called the "Tribune manifesto," a statement of philosophical principles and attitudes. Based on a 1969 editorial that marked a change of administration--nay, a change of era--at the newspaper, the document was updated last year by Dold, Lipinski and Smith. One exemplary paragraph:The real kicker is the following, which makes me agree with the Trib and think that the people who emailed the Trib are fools who haven't a clue what paper they've been reading:
"The Tribune believes in the traditional principles of limited government; maximum individual responsibility; and minimum restriction of personal liberty, opportunity and enterprise. It believes in free markets, free will and freedom of expression.
"These principles, while traditionally conservative, are guidelines and not reflexive dogmas."
[The Trib has] endorsed the Republican candidate in every presidential election since at least 1872, and ... support[ed] Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate in all but two or three cases.Although this year turns out to be one of those Senate years. The Trib has endorsed Barack Obama.
What just tickles me is the reaction people have to a newspaper that doesn't conform to their beliefs. (According to Wycliff, the Trib got this question frequently: "How does a "Republican newspaper" manage to operate in a Democratic city?" As if they are entitled to a newspaper that "agrees" with the mainstream.) It's like the reaction to Fox News. Suddenly we have a media organization that's willing to kick the standard shtick. Maybe instead of just accusing Fox News of being conservatively biased, liberals should look at the media organizations they "like." Do they like them because the media organizations are in fact unbiased, or do they like them simply because the media organizations don't rub them the wrong way?