Editorial: New York Times decision odd, misplaced

It is common practice in the media industry for publications and news stations to endorse candidates for political office. Often times these endorsements, of course, can be divisive  and controversial. But the New York Times presidential endorsement released last week was just plain odd.

It is nothing new for papers to make unpopular endorsement decisions; think back to 2016 when the Chicago Tribune endorsed Gary Johnson for president. But what the New York Times did was not just controversial, it did not make any sense. The New York Times, in unprecedented and peculiar fashion, endorsed two candidates, not one, for the office of president, choosing both Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Amy Klobuchar. 

We at the Daily Eastern News do not necessarily disagree with either endorsement, as the New York Times laid out nicely why they were endorsing each candidate in strong and convincing fashion, displaying the strong writing, reporting and effort that has come to be expected of the publication. 

What we do disagree with, however, is the decision to endorse two candidates and not just one. 

Endorsements done by newspapers, especially those done by publications as respected and influential as the New York Times, carry a lot of weight. When the New York Times speaks, people listen, and when they endorse a candidate, it should be seen as a big deal because it is a big deal. 

That is why the decision to endorse two candidates feels so wrong. It almost negates the reason newspapers make endorsements. By endorsing two candidates, you aren’t really telling the people anything. People can only vote for one candidate. 

The New York Times interviewed almost all of the candidates and said its editorial board spent 12 hours discussing who to endorse. And even after all that, they still could not settle on one?

It is also not just the fact that they endorsed two candidates, but they also endorsed two candidates who are quite different on key issues like health care. 

Warren is far more progressive while Klobuchar is seen as being more moderate, and the two certainly do not see eye-to-eye on issues. 

So what is the New York Times really saying? By endorsing two candidates, they have really endorsed no one at all and taken a distinct editorial board stance on any issues.