Atlanta Journal-Constitution to no longer endorse candidates

(H/T – Jason Pye)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution announced in today’s editions that, beginning with the November 2009 elections, they will no longer offer explicit endorsements of candidates on their editorial pages:

After listening carefully to readers and thinking deeply about the modern role of a newspaper in elections, the AJC Editorial Board is taking a new approach to election coverage, beginning with this November’s elections.

Going forward, our board will use its unique position to work for readers in pursuing with candidates the issues that are critical to the future of our community. The board will provide readers with clear, concise information about candidates’ positions and records. The AJC will no longer endorse political candidates….

We have heard from readers — and we agree — that you don’t need us to tell you how to vote. What readers tell us they need is information on who the candidates are, what they have done and what they want to do in the new job….

The piece goes on to explain why newspapers had traditionally endorsed candidates, saying that it dated back to when a good-sized city had many, highly-political newspapers. While the number of newspapers has dropped to one, except in the largest of cities, I beg to differ with the AJC’s inference that the average newspaper has become significantly less political than the days when “Republican” and “Democrat” routinely appeared in the masthead.

Perhaps the AJC will become a truly-honest broker of information, as they say they want to be now. However, as Jason said, “…but I’m skeptical that it will give candidates that promote the free-market or less government solutions a fair shake. We should all take a wait-and-see attitude here.”

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