Tennessee newspaper ends presidential endorsements

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Knoxville News Sentinel

Image credit: Knoxville News Sentinel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Knoxville News Sentinel has ended a decades-old tradition of endorsing presidential candidates, saying it no longer has any special access to the candidates.

Editor Jack McElroy said in a column published Sunday it was a difficult decision. “Citizens can find plenty of opinions about the presidential candidates to weigh against their own, and there is no shortage of community dialogue – far from it,” McElroy wrote. “The News Sentinel also has no special access to the candidates, and, in this age of global Internet and 24-hour news, we have no sources of information that every other citizen does not have as well.”

The tradition of endorsing a presidential candidate dates to the paper’s beginnings in the 1920s.

Until 2008, the newspaper’s presidential endorsement was decided by its parent company, E.W. Scripps Co. Most went to Republicans, including in 2000 when the paper backed George W. Bush over Tennessean Al Gore. In 2008, the newpaper’s editorial board endorsed John McCain.

McElroy said the editorial board sees strong reasons for endorsing candidates in local races, including sparking community dialogue and using a newspaper’s special access to candidates to help inform voters. That rationale no longer applies to the presidential contest, he said.

The paper will continue to endorse candidates in local races.

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