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CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s an election year, but don’t look for the Chicago Sun-Times to tell you which candidates it favors.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, for the first time in its 71-year history, the Sun-Times says it will not make endorsements in the upcoming elections.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
The paper says its editorial board will provide readers with clear and accurate information about candidates’ positions, and will post their questionnaires online. Subscribers can also watch videos of the Sun-Times’ interviews with candidates online.
But the paper will no longer make endorsements.
In an editorial published Monday, the Sun-Times essentially said as a newspaper endorsements are passé at a time when there are so many other sources of information that “allow even a casual voter to be better informed than ever before.”
The editorial went on to say research shows endorsements don’t change many votes anyway, but readers often complain that candidate endorsements show a hidden bias.
Ironically, it was complaints of bias on the part of the Chicago Tribune that in part motivated Marshall Field III to found the Sun-Times in the first place, the editorial said. Field felt it necessary to push for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and the entry of the U.S. into World War II, in contrast to Col. Robert McCormick and his isolationist and anti-Roosevelt Tribune, the editorial said.
However, the editorial is quick to point out, that was a bygone era “when many American newspapers were unabashedly partisan, and not necessarily only on the editorial page. Not unlike news shops on cable TV and the Web today, they catered to a core of readers who thought very much like them.”
Today, newspapers’ goal is to appear to the widest readership they can with unbiased news coverage.
“They want to inform you, not spin you,” the Sun-Times said.
The Sun-Times went on to call editorials “telling you what to do.”
“As many of you have told us, you can make up your own mind, thank you very much,” the editorial said. “We endorse that opinion.”