Editor & Publisher (10/22/08) notes that Barack Obama is getting a wide lead in newspaper endorsements, winning 125 so far, by the newspaper trade journal’s count, to McCain’s 46. E&P further notes that this is, from a historical perspective, unusual.
John Kerry edged out Republican George W. Bush in 2004, 213-205, Bill Clinton got 149 endorsements to Bush the Elder’s 125 in 1992, and in 1968 Lyndon Johnson was picked by newspapers over Barry Goldwater, 440-359. In the other 14 races since 1940, when E&P started keeping track, the Republican candidate has gotten more endorsements–calling twice for FDR to be replaced during World War II, hoping for Dewey to defeat Truman, liking Ike more than Stevenson.
Newspapers chose Nixon over Kennedy (and Humphrey and especially McGovern), passed over Carter for Ford and Reagan, called for Reagan’s re-election over Mondale, and endorsed G.H.W. Bush over Dukakis. In more recent elections, Bob Dole was preferred to re-electing Clinton, and George W. Bush was seen as a better pick than Al Gore. Something to think about when you hear people talking about the “liberal media.”