An attempted image change is not in the cards for the Chicago Sun-Times

January 25, 2012


From the get-go in the Sun-Times surprising Editorial of Monday, January 21, Why we will no longer endorse in elections, the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board made quite clear that the newspaper was founded in 1941 by Marshall Field III to counter here in the Midwest the partisanship of Col. Robert McCormick and his Chicago Tribune, which leaned right for many years, during the Roosevelt administration.

Images and reputations take a long time to restore, as is often the situation politicians face when their reputations have been sullied through the spread of false information. “How can I get my reputation back? has been heard more than once among political candidates who have been unfairly targeted.

Questions for the Chicago News-Sun to consider include:

1.  By no longer endorsing candidates in elections, will it really make a difference in countering long-held perceptions that the Sun-Times is a  left-leaning newspaper?

2.  If newspaper endorsements are of important to some readers, might people gravitate toward the Tribune instead for guidance?

3.  By keeping on the staff commentary writers like Laura Washington, Richard Roeper, Ester Cepeda and Lynn Sweet, all of whom espouse left of center rhetoric, how will it be possible to attract subscribers other than your core group of readers, so essential to keeping the Sun-Times afloat?

Might it be that the Sun-Times is queasy about endorsing its home town candidate for a second term, President Barack Obama, and that by squashing Sun-Times endorsements the Editorial Board will be relieved of publishing the reason why!

The Tribune’s Editorial Board a day later on Tuesday, January 22, stated in an editorial why it will continue to endorse political candidates.  But, alas, what used to be a right-leaning newspaper under Col.Robert McCormick is no longer a partisan right-leaning newspaper, as was evident in the Trib’s endorsement of Barack Obama for president  in 2008. 

I mourn not over the declamation by the Sun-Times not to endorse or the Tribune’s message that it will continue to make endorsements, but over the absence of a Chicago newspaper that does not lean to the left.

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