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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Philadelphia Daily News Endorses John Kerry

Posted by DavidNYC

This story has been making the rounds in the blogosphere today: The Philadelphia Daily News has officially endorsed John Kerry for president. They're claiming to be the first newspaper in America to do so, and as such, they're bound to get more attention than had they waited until October.

But it's also important for a couple of other reasons. First, I hardly need to remind anyone around here how crucial a swing state Pennsylvania is - something the editors of Daily News are also keenly aware of. Second, this isn't just a mere endorsement but rather a comprehensive action plan. Indeed, the front-page banner reads, "How You Can Help Elect John Kerry." news The editors include detailed information about how to get registered, register others, and volunteer for organizations (like ACT) which are helping to oust Bush.

This is a stark difference from the New York Times endorsements I'm used to reading, which typically declare a pox on both houses before grudgingly endorsing one candidate. I'm also told by one e-mailer that the Philly Daily News is normally a very conservative paper. Never having read it before, I won't swear by that description, though if so, this represents an even bigger coup. (Maybe my PA-based guest bloggers can shed some light?)

I also want to make one last related point: A newspaper's ability to support a candidate in this way demonstrates to me the futility and unfairness of campaign finance laws. The argument that supports of campaign finance reform usually make is that we need to keep money out of politics. Yet the dollar value of this endorsement - a full cover picture and headline, a huge editorial - is enormous. Indeed, the Philly Daily News could run a story like this every week if it wanted. Because it's a media organization, the Supreme Court allows the Daily News almost unfettered first amendment freedom to support the candidates of its choosing.

But as an individual, I can't give more than $2000 to the Kerry campaign. Why should the Daily News be able to support John Kerry more extensively than I can? That seems quite unjust to me.

P.S. TAP's latest roundup is now online.

Posted at 05:31 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati


I cannot speak to the Philadelphia Daily News authoritatively. I thought they were owned by the same company as the Inquirer. They have a little more of a tabloid style though and obviously a separate editorial board/management. But if I were the owners and I wanted to do something proactive I would definitely pick my tabloid style paper to do it in. And I'm not 100% sure about the ownership.

I think what is interesting is that I would gamble that this is totally out of character even for the Daily News to be this vocal about its endorsement. I would like to see their endorsement from 2000 and see how they handled that one. I think this, combined with the phenomenal fundraising that Kerry is doing, demonstrates how angry much of America is. Bush's opponents aren't just political opponents - we're pissed off!

As for your latter point about campaign finance reform, I think its a good one. I think the 527s are a good example of this too. There is probably no greater example than the existence of Fox News Channel.

Posted by: seamus at June 16, 2004 06:24 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Not only is the Daily News a media outlet and thus beyond the jurisdiction of campaign finance laws, it is a PRINT meida outlet.

The broadcast airwaves, TV and radio, are (or were) the people's airwaves. They were granted to businesses by the governemtnt, so government had the final say as to how it's freedoms were limited.

Print has never had any of these restrictions. Having a printing press and publishing your ideas is the very spirit of the first amendment.

People can choose not to buy the Daily News. They can cancel their subscription. They can start a rival paper. It is much more difficult to rival the money, power, and influence that electronic media monopolies have amassed.

Posted by: Kendal Killian at June 17, 2004 01:50 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

My point is exactly that: Why should I be subject to restrictions on my ability to support Kerry if the Daily News isn't?

Posted by: DavidNYC at June 17, 2004 02:13 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I love my city. And its tabloid isn't bad either.

Posted by: Chris Bowers at June 17, 2004 01:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There is a very simple solution to the lunacy of campaign finance law: PUBLIC FINANCING OF CAMPAIGNS and free access of the campaigns to the (publicly owned) airwaves. This is done in many other countries and makes it possible for people to get elected without being beholden to the rich (sometimes).

You may think it an infringement on your rights that you can ONLY contribute $2000 to a campaign, but since the vast majority of Americans can't afford even that the real result of this high limit is to tilt the playing field towards the rich (who are also best positioned to bundle contributions).

Public financing gives each candidate the same amount of money and airtime to campaign with so that the people are choosing between candidates with equal opportunities to convey their messages. It is fairer and more democratic.

Posted by: Chris at June 17, 2004 05:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

A comment on The Daily News. I've been reading this paper ever since I moved here and my impression is that it's hardly a "conservative" paper. Rather it reminds me of an old time Democratic tabloid like The New York Post used to be -- before the days of Murdoch.

-Paul from Philly

Posted by: Paul L at June 18, 2004 09:13 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment