The day after publishing its editorial endorsing the Conservative Party, The Globe and Mail hosted a live Q&A to answer questions about its decision. And, as Jennifer MacMillan, the Globe’s communities editor, said: “The editorial endorsement has spurred an incredible amount of discussion online.” One frequent question, she added, is best summed up by a certain commenter: “Why do newspapers endorse any political candidate??? Their job is to report the news, not make it.”
The answer comes from John Geiger, the Globe‘s editorial board editor, and it is an interesting one:
“The Globe has endorsed political parties from its founding in 1844. It was initially staunchly Liberal. But since its merger with The Mail and Empire in 1936, it has been independent politically. Take a look at our past endorsement editorials. We have endorsed Conservatives (Drew, Diefenbaker, Mulroney, Charest, Harper) and we have endorsed Liberals (Pearson, Trudeau, Chretien, Martin). So it’s a proud tradition, and it’s also a responsibility we take very seriously.
“The Editorial Board has views on a great number of issues, why would we not share our view on one of the most fundamental: which party should have the honour of governing the country for the next few years? The Editorial Board met with the leaders, we’ve read the platforms, we’ve followed the election assiduously, and earlier this week we met to decide. I can tell you it was a real debate, there were different views, everyone had their say. But in the end, we settled on Mr. Harper for the reasons that are set out in the editorial. I don’t think endorsement editorials decide elections, they are simply another piece of information that voters consider before exercising their right and duty. And let’s be clear: this is the opinion of The Globe and Mail’s Editorial Board, it is not the view of the newsroom, which is non-partisan and is concerned with collecting and disseminating facts.”
So, what do you think? Should newspapers (and other media outlets) be making their endorsements public and official?
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