Greenville, NC—Normally, I don’t get involved with who endorses a political candidate—it’s a free country, they can do as they wish. But, a Greenville, NC newspaper, The Daily Reflector, came out with their endorsements over a week ago for local candidates—just in time for early voting. On its face voters wouldn’t necessarily find a problem with a newspaper’s endorsement; it happens every election cycle. But, there are a few questions all voters should ask themselves when they see editorials such as the one in the Daily Reflector: 1) does the paper or media outlet have a vested interest in seeing one candidate succeed over the other; 2) if they do, then what is that interest and can you follow a money trail.
Media outlets are owned by corporations and all corporations have an interest in the outcomes of elections: period.
Many people believe that news organizations are liberally biased, but that’s really not the case. Pew Research analyzed the collective reporting of major events and over one political cycle back in 2008-2010 and found that on major issues the media was swayed to the left 55% of the time. But, in aggregate, (that is, taken into account all the reporting from day-to-day) on average, media is conservative 58% of the time.
I add this, not because it matters for political endorsements, but to dispel the notion that media sways far left—because, that isn’t the case.
What is the case, is that voters should understand many times when media (like the Daily Reflector favoring Walter Jones over Marshall Adame in the NC 03) endorses a candidate, they have donated money to that candidate’s campaign.
This is the case with the Daily Reflector. Cooke Publishing, the company that owns the Reflector*, gives money to PACs that give money to Walter Jones. There’s nothing illegal about it and it’s not necessarily dishonest. But, the failure to disclose to their readers the financial vestment they have skews the information process. Overall, that’s not in the best interest of anyone.
*On July 20, 2009, Cox Enterprises Inc. announced it has reached a definitive agreement to sell three of its North Carolina newspapers – the Rocky Mount Telegram, The Daily Reflector of Greenville and The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City – and ten weekly newspapers in Eastern North Carolina to Cooke Communications LLC, a privately held family company headed by John Kent Cooke. John Kent Cooke Jr. will move to the Greenville area to become president of Cooke Communications North Carolina and publisher of The Daily Reflector.