Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Blethen: 'Seattle Times' Presidential Endorsement Timely

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Blethen: 'Seattle Times' Presidential Endorsement Timely

Article excerpt

Publisher Frank Blethen of The Seattle Times, which endorsed Barack Obama on Sunday, said most papers wait too long to give their opinions on such races.

"The worst endorsements, to me, are the ones right before an election," said Blethen, who made the Obama endorsement decision along with Editorial Page Editor Jim Vesely. "You make a far greater contribution to people really thinking about the candidates when it is done over a far greater amount of time. If people are going to pay any attention to our endorsements, we should try to share whatever wisdom we have earlier, when it matters."

Blethen points out that, although the print endorsement ran on Sunday, a web version of the choice was posted last Friday. "Our thought is that it is written and you want to maximize your audience," he added, noting it became the most read and most e-mailed item on the site by Monday.

As for the choice of Obama, Blethen said, "It has been a continual process. We look at McCain and we see a guy who is sort of a Teflon guy. Not a lot of stuff sticks to him." But, he adds, "he was in with the savings and loan debacle. We had identified Obama in the primary as our preference."

Blethen points out that the Times' endorsements have varied in the past, citing the 2004 choice of Kerry, but a 2000 endorsement of Bush, which he readily claims was "the biggest presidential endorsement mistake we have made. …

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