By the time most of you receive this issue of Superintendent’s Profile, the presidential election will almost, finally, be over.
Among the 24/7 mass media coverage of the race, one thing you’re not going to find here in our humble magazine is a political opinion or worse, an endorsement. The latter has been something of an American tradition where a newspaper or magazine pronounces in an editorial their collective preference for a particular candidate. It’s one of these things in life in which people keep doing but have long forgotten why they do it.
Maybe there once was a reason for endorsing a candidate, but today, the practice is passé and pointless. It’s a waste of page space. I doubt there are many people who are swayed by a publication’s preference for a particular presidential candidate. People’s viewpoints are pretty entrenched these days and they often look for their news from sources that reaffirm those opinions, anyway. But that’s not good when more publications are added to these lists.
Ideally, people should look for their news from multiple sources that present all issues from all sides, but it’s these endorsements that contribute to damaging the public’s trust in media. When a publication endorses a candidate it immediately calls into question (and should) the publication’s reporting on that candidate. It may lead us to think that perhaps that publication, prior to their endorsement, might not have covered the candidate whom they did not endorse fairly. And what about all the ensuing coverage of that candidate? Are we to then assume that coverage of that candidate to be biased because we know they disagree with his or her stance on the issues?
I know I’m old-schooling it here, but the print media really need to evolve out of the political candidate endorsement business. What we really need to do is to endorse our democracy by reporting on the facts of the candidates’ stance on the issues and their plans to solve problems. Doing so allows their ideas to speak for them themselves. I know, probably never going to happen, but if the media want to be trusted again, they better.