Chicago Tribune Endorses Barack Obama for President

The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Barack Obama to be President of the United States. As you will see, it is a historic move for the storied daily newspaper. If anyone would know about Barack Obama’s associations -whether Bill Ayers or Father Pfleger- it would be the Chicago papers. And with its political history, the Chicago Tribune would be more than happy to blow the whistle. But like so many others have had to conclude, this is the best candidate, and Barack Obama is ready to lead.

To read the Tribune’s long and thoughtful endorsement in its full context click here.  Here are a few excerpts.

  • We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.
  • We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.
  • This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause–the Republican Party. The Tribune’s first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP.
  • We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He was most effective in the Illinois legislature when he worked with Republicans on welfare, ethics and criminal justice reform. He worked to expand the number of charter schools in Illinois–not popular with some Democratic constituencies.
  • Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S.
  • He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.

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.

Jena 6 hearing for Judge J.P. Mauffray postponed until July

Today a visiting judge was supposed to decide whether or not Jena 6 Judge J.P. Mauffray had been biased in his treatment of the fiver remaining defendants.  That judge has postponed the hearing until at least July.

Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune reports:

  •  Attorneys for the five remaining defendants facing trial in the racially divisive Jena 6 incident in Louisiana presented evidence Friday of what they said was bias on the part of the judge presiding over the cases and sought his removal.

    After more than four hours of testimony, a visiting judge appointed by the state Supreme Court to hear the recusal motion against LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray asked for more evidence and postponed a ruling until at least July.

  • Defense attorneys have long asserted that the white-dominated justice system in the small central Louisiana town was biased against their African-American clients: six high school students who were initially charged with attempted murder in the December 2006 beating of a white classmate.
  • According to those present during Friday’s hearing, defense attorneys testified that Mauffray had made prejudicial comments to them about their clients on multiple occasions. David Utter, an attorney for defendant Jesse Ray Beard, said Mauffray had labeled the Jena 6 defendants “a violent bunch” and had asserted that “crime has gone down” in the months after the youths were jailed on the beating charges.

Read the rest of Mr. Witt’ report here.