Listen up, choir

October 17, 2008

The other News-Sentinel — the one in Knoxville, Tenn. — is conducting an online poll to see if its readers think the paper should endorse a presidential candidate. The results so far are pretty lopsided:

Yes, take a stand. 13% 40 votes
No, we don’t need your opinion. 86% 246 votes

Newspapers endorse candidates mostly because newspapers have always endorsed candidates. They started as political organs with a little bit of shipping news thrown in, and, in some ways, that’s what they still are. I doubt if very many editors still think their editorials actually change anybody’s mind. In Fort Wayne, readers have always had the luxury of reading the editorial page that most agreed with their own views — sort of like blogs before there were blogs. Now that there are blogs, with millions of people doing the equivalent of preaching-to-the-choir endorsements, it would be silly of us to finally get out of the game we started.

Arguing is fun. It used to get me really wide awake in the morning to read an editorial by Larry Hayes in The Journal Gazette and curse myself blue in the face before finishing my first cup of coffee. It still gets me through the day hoping that there are a few people out there getting apoplectic at the dinner table because of something I wrote.

Eat it all up while you can. In case in slipped your attention, next year is the one out of four in which there will be not a single election at the local, state or federal level. The only fun we’ll have is if the people we’ve already elected do something stoopid.

Oh, wait.

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