Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"May you live in interesting times"

With the U.S. financial markets threatening to implode just months before the presidential elections, that adage certainly applies to us.
A real crisis seems to put everything else into a very different perspective.
For one, attacks by either presidential candidate on the credentials or positions of the other candidate seem petty when all the voters are focused on whether or not our lending institutions will survive, or whether we and our children will be saddled with enormous debt.
Studies show that negative campaigning is effective, but all those studies were done on races that took place out of the crisis mode.
National elections, after all, are frequently decided by the undecided voters, not those who have already come down on the right and the left. In this election, one wonders if those undecided will be swayed by negative campaigning, or by the candidate who offers the best hope of bringing the country out of this crisis.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obituary page is well read

We recently received a number of complaints about our decision to publish a story (Wednesday, Sept. 17) about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama backing a plan to clean up the Great Lakes. The story was not the issue, callers complained because we published it on the bottom of the obituary page.

This is not intended to be a slight to the candidate, and is, in fact, a compliment. The obituary page is a "high traffic" page. Studies have shown that it is one of the best-read pages in the newspaper. Many of our readers turn regularly to the obituary page and, for that reason, the Obama story on that page ensures that it had good exposure.

We should also point out that stories about the state, nation, world and politics regularly run on the obituary page. Several stories about GOP presidential candidate John McCain have appeared in the past on this page.

Fair, yes! Equal, no

In political seasons we are constantly accused of favoring one side or another. Please don't confuse us with the broadcast media! Fox says it's "fair and balanced." You be the judge, but we really do try to be fair. However, the news is different every day. For instance, we were able to give prominent news play on key days of the Democratic convention, but the Republicans had to vie with Hurricane Gustav and our own regional Hurricane Kwame! Overall we were still able to give fair treatment to the two conventions but not equal treatment.