First we saw historically neutral newspapers like USA Today -- basically the Switzerland of US politics -- break with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton (or, rather, to loudly not endorse Donald Trump). And now even conservative-leaning newspapers are spilling buckets of ink in support of Clinton. The Arizona Republic, a newspaper that has existed since before Idaho was a state, had never endorsed a Democrat -- until last week. Likewise, the San Diego Union-Tribune, established three years after the abolition of slavery, has gone 37 US presidential elections without ever endorsing a Democrat. It won’t go 38. So, with all these red rags turning blue, many are starting to ask, which candidate will the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal endorse? Jon Healey at the LA Times wonders aloud:
“When Trump won the nomination, much to the shock of the Journal and the rest of the news media elite, the paper’s editorial board was caught in an excruciatingly uncomfortable place: If it supported Trump, it would be asking Americans to vote for someone whose core positions on trade, immigration, foreign policy, entitlement reform, executive power and the national debt were, by the board’s calculations, drastically wrong. But hey, he’s for tax cuts! So he’s got that going for him. And if it supported Clinton, it would be urging Americans to put the Supreme Court into the hands of liberal jurists for a decade or more, while only worsening the tax and regulatory burdens that the board believes are slowing economic growth and tamping down incomes.”
Certainly, senior WSJ editorial staff have declared their disapproval of Trump before. But, as Healey also notes, the Journal has ties to disgraced former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes -- booted by the Murdochs after a sexual harrassment scandal exploded in his face -- who is now advising Trump on his debate strategy. Whether this personal connection will damn or endear Trump in the eyes of Murdoch, at this point, is unclear. Decisions, decisions ... -- Dan Wood