Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times and other newspapers grapple with Presidential endorsement decisions

Steve Rhodes who blogs at Division Street for Chicago’s NBC 5 has an interesting post regarding newspaper endorsements for the upcoming election. In a year that you’d figure Barack Obama’s hometown editorial boards would give him the nod over McCain, Rhodes says there may be more to their decisions than meets the eye.

It seems the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, and other papers throughout the country may be faced with the prospect of endorsing Obama against the will of their publishers. Here are some of the highlights from Rhodes’ post:

  • The Sun-Times would have been an easy call under its old masters, the felons Conrad Black and David Radler. Black and Radler took the paper on a dramatically rightward turn during their time. Former editorial page editor Steve Huntley is a conservative, and now as an Op-Ed columnist for the paper is one of the few pro-McCain voices in the paper.
  • There is no doubt the Sun-Times editorial board prefers Obama, although this week the so-called progressive conscience – if that branding is even still operable – chose to endorse incumbent Republican congressman Mark Kirk over liberal Democratic challenger Dan Seals. The wild card in all of this is Sun-Times publisher Cyrus Freidheim, the former CEO of Chiquita. whose political contributions are almost exclusively Republican, including donations to Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, and – in large chunks – various apparati of the GOP.

At the end of the post, Rhodes links to Editor & Publisher which is tracking newspaper endorsements nationwide. Thus far Obama has received the endorsement of 28 papers to McCain’s 11. There are no Texas papers included in this list.

I’m interested to see hot the Dallas Morning News -who endorsed Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama prior to the Iowa caucuses- will go. They were one of the the first major newspapers in America to endorse Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee.  It would be hard to see them digging out McCain at this point,  but it wouldn’t surprise me.

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