The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday published an editorial stating that, despite the Sun-Times' Monday announcement that they would cease making candidate endorsements, it would continue their practice of doing so.
While the Tribune said they "respect the decision by the Sun-Times ... we intend to keep doing endorsements," even as it admitted that endorsements can "antagonize some readers" and are labor-intensive.
"Do our endorsements matter? We're under no illusions about the extent of our influence. Plenty of candidates lose despite our seal of approval," the Tribune editorial read. "Our readers make up their own minds when they cast their ballots. They get from us an honest assessment of the options, and we will keep providing it."
In its Monday editorial announcing the change, just less than two months before the state's March 20 primary elections, the Sun-Times said they "have come to doubt the value of candidate endorsements by this newspaper or any newspaper, especially in a day when a multitude of information sources allow even a casual voter to be better informed than ever before. … As many of you have told us, you can make up your own mind, thank you very much. We endorse that opinion."
Robert Feder took to his Time Out Chicago column and commented that, "no matter whose words they were, there can be little doubt the orders came from the new owners of the Sun-Times parent company, who took over just after Christmas" and described the move as disappointing to readers as well as the candidates who, reportedly, had already participated in the editorial board's endorsement interview process in advance of the upcoming election.
Feder further noted that Sun-Times publisher John Barron and editorial page editor Tom McNamee, who signed the Sun-Times editorial, have declined all interview requests on the topic, "adding intrigue to the speculation."
In response to an inquiry from Jim Romenesko on his blog, the Tribune's Bruce Dold described endorsements as "at the heart of what an editorial board does." Dold continued:
We recommend an agenda and ask readers and government leaders to push that agenda. We push ideas for better public schools and economic growth and government that won’t tolerate the miserable culture of political corruption in Illinois. I don’t think it makes sense for us to recommend how to have better government but avoid recommending who is best to lead that change.
The Huffington Post readers weighing in on the topic in a poll included in yesterday's story on the issue appear to be largely in disagreement with Dold. As of late Tuesday morning, just more than 70 percent of poll respondents agreed with the Sun-Times decision to end endorsements, while only 30 percent felt newspaper endorsements should continue.