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Newspapers switch their endorsements to Romney

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 5th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a dramatic switch of support, 28 newspapers that originally endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008 are currently endorsing GOP contender Mitt Romney. This has proved true of conservative - as well as some liberal-leaning newspapers.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Over 100 editorial boards of newspapers had endorsed Romney as of Friday last week; Obama had received approximately 85. The questions remains: Who endorsed Obama four years ago switch to Romney this year -- and more importantly, who will convince voters with their endorsement?

No surprise, the reason given for the endorsement over Obama for Romney boiled down to a single, ongoing troubling issue: the U.S. economy.

Four years ago, the Des Moines Register who heartily endorsed Obama, have now handed their endorsement to Romney and talked about the economy growing at an "unacceptably anemic rate." Three other Iowa newspapers are also backing Romney.

"It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get different results in the next four years. And while the nation's economy is still sputtering nearly four years after Obama took office, the federal government is more than $5 trillion deeper in debt," The Orlando Sentinel wrote in its endorsement.

"It just racked up its fourth straight 13-figure shortfall. Obama's defenders would argue that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, and would have made more progress if not for obstruction from Republicans in Congress. But Democrats held strong majorities in the House and Senate during his first two years."

The Tennessean, known for its liberal leanings, also endorsed Mitt Romney this year. The newspaper made it clear that it was a reluctant endorsement. "With great reservations, the editorial board of this newspaper gives the nod to Mr. Romney." Their reason? the economy.

The newspapers that endorsed President Obama cited his work on social issues, especially those benefitting the poor -- which unfortunately has also added more digits to the nation's expanding federal deficit.

"President Obama has shown a firm commitment to using government to help foster growth," The New York Times wrote in its endorsement. "He has formed sensible budget policies that are not dedicated to protecting the powerful, and has worked to save the social safety net to protect the powerless."

Then again, do these newspapers really have the power to sway public opinion?

Brown University professor Brian Knight found in 2008 that newspaper endorsements can carry some weight, but the determining factor comes down to the credibility of the publication. Do these newspaper readers feel the endorsement was reached in an objective manner based on what is best for the nation as a whole?

"Voters are sophisticated and attempt to filter out any bias in media coverage of politics," Knight wrote.

Greg Mitchell, the former editor of Editor and Publishing magazine, a publication devoted to the newspaper industry, offered his own take on the subject

"I would certainly never argue that editorial endorsements are key today, but judging from my experience in 2004 and 2008, they should not be ignored," Mitchell wrote in a September article in The Nation.

Mitchell also recognizes that print newspaper circulation is down and that Internet-based publications are how many Americans get their news today.

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