Over the weekend the Salt Lake Tribune published it’s endorsement of Barack Obama for President in the super-tight 2012 race. The headline of the Tribune editorial read “Too Many Mitts,” at which point I stopped reading.
Look people, it doesn’t matter what political calculus the Tribune used to come to the ridiculous conclusion that Barack Obama is the least bit qualified to lead this nation for another four years, the bottom line is they got it wrong and the majority of their readers agree. This endorsement does two things for the tribune: it illustrates to the rest of the state that their editorial board hasn’t been paying attention for the last four years and probably never studied economics in college, and it ensures that this will be the last ‘endorsement’ the paper will ever write that will be taken seriously by the greater population of the state.
The way I see it, Trib decided to go out with a bang. They probably gambled that a controversial endorsement this year would solidify them with liberal readers in Salt Lake City and might even win them some readers in San Francisco and suburban Washington. Maybe analysts at the paper discovered that Utah readers were becoming suspicious of their coverage of Jim Matheson’s race int he 4th (while Mia Love was speaking at the RNC convention in Florida, they were covering a press conference by Jim Mastheson who was commenting on Mia Love’s speech at the RNC convention in Florida) and were leaking over to the Deseret News. If that’s the case, then this would be an opportune time to fire a ‘hail Mary’ and to blame the fallout over editorial for sinking readership when it bombed.
Alternatively, maybe the Tribune’s move was sparked by desperation to gain a foothold in social media. Only a few hours after the endorsement was published, the lead headline in their political section online was ‘Tribune endorsement of Obama creates buzz in Social Media.’ Maybe they’re worried that the paper is becoming irrelevant in the age of twitter and blogs like this one.
Whatever the logic behind this move, it’s a shame but it’s their paper and they can do what they want with it. Obviously they don’t care if they are taken seriously, so this move won’t hurt whatever KPIs they’re using to judge their relevance to Utah.