. Kerry is crushing Bush in terms of newspaper endorsements, and Salon
cuts through the standard Republican lie / talking point response to this trend:"Look, the Republican candidate will never win the contest for editorial board endorsements. The major dailies across the country tend to skew liberal," RNC chairman Ed Gillespie told CNN last week. That spin comes straight out of the GOP handbook that insists the mainstream press tilts to the left, so of course newspapers love Democrats come Election Day.
The Republican spin on this is an out and out lie. Like so many Republican talking points it is based on the national myth they have created about the media, rather than actual fact:
Since 1940 when industry trade magazine Editor & Publisher began tracking newspapers during presidential elections, only two Democratic candidates -- Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1992 -- have ever won more endorsements than their Republican opponent. That's because newspaper publishers, who usually sign off on endorsements, tend to vote Republican (like lots of senior corporate executives), which means GOP candidates pick up more endorsements. A lot more. In 1984, President Reagan landed roughly twice as many endorsements as Democrat Walter Mondale in the president's easy reelection win. And in 1996, despite his weak showing at the polls, 179 daily newspapers endorsed Republican Bob Dole, which easily outpaced the Democrats' tally by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.
Once again, myth trumps reality for Republicans. Editorial endorsements quite clearly skew toward Republicans, no matter how much the GOP would like to lie and claim otherwise.
On November 6  E&P predicted a huge win for Bush pointing that newspapers endorsed Bush 2 to 1 nationally and citing data from their survey of 800 top newspapers executives one week before the election (59% for Bush, 20% for Gore). As E&P noted in 2000, "One has to wonder: whatever happened to the so-called 'liberal press'?" The better question for the Bush/Cheney team is, why have all those GOP publishers abandoned the president this time around?"
Perhaps the problem here is that Republicans are calling other conservatives liberals. You know they hate that.