Newspaper political endorsements are made by the editorial board, not anyone in the newsroom, in order to maintain the integrity of the reporting process. But what happens to newspaper credibility if the company itself takes out an ad for a candidate or initiative?
It happened Wednesday, and only in the printed version of The Seattle Times. But the controversy and conversation have played out on Facebook, Twitter and blogs — both mainstream media and organizational.
“It” was an unprecedented act.
The Seattle Times Co. placed a full-page ad on page B6 asking voters to support Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. It’s an independent expenditure (meaning not coordinated with the campaign) valued at almost $80,000.
And the ad donation makes the Seattle Times the third largest independent contributor to the McKenna campaign, after Our Washington and Stand for the Children WA PAC.
In defending its actions, the company set up a new Twitter account, @SeattleTimesCo:
We hear the concern out there & really appreciate what you have to say. More information on the rationale seattletimescompany.com/communication/…
— Seattle Times Co. (@SeattleTimesCo) October 18, 2012
There has been exactly one tweet, and no response to the three readers who replied.More