Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chicago Tribune Endorses Obama

The Chicago Tribune endorsed Barack Obama last week, saying "We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago ... He is ready."

For Chicagoans this is kind of a big deal since the Trib is such a staunchly Republican paper. Dating back to Abraham Lincoln in 1860 the paper has never endorsed a Democrat for President. Indeed, during WWII, a nasty feud between editor Robert McCormick and Franklin Roosevelt nearly resulted in charges of treason. And lest you think this is just hometown favoritism, Adlai Stevenson has a freeway in Chicago named after him, but Eisenhower got the endorsement. Perhaps the times they are a changing...

I always think of the Chicago Tribune when people talk about the "liberal" media. I grew up in an area where the local paper was probably more liberal than most of its readers. In contrast, Chicago is a big city that voted strongly for both Gore and Kerry, but the Tribune backed Bush twice. (The more populist Chicago Sun-Times went with Bush in 2000 and switched to Kerry in 2004.) Which is not to say that I think the Tribune is a bad paper for being editorially conservative - just that bias is relative and hard to measure objectively. In the end, media outlets are primarily interested in maximizing profits.

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