The Dallas Morning News is one of the most reliably Republican pieces of real estate in American journalism. Despite this, it came as no surprise when it essentially kicked Donald Trump out of the party on Tuesday. After all, this campaign has seen more Republicans running away from their own presidential candidate than in recent memory.
Even with this to consider, the editorial that ran in Wednesday’s paper came as one of the biggest surprises in recent political history. The Morning News did something it hasn’t done in more than three-quarters of a century. It endorsed a Democrat for president when it gave its nod to Hillary Clinton.
To put this in perspective, The Morning News last endorsed a Democrat for president in 1940, when it supported Franklin Roosevelt’s third bid. Since then, it has endorsed Republicans in every election except 1964, when it opted not to endorse anyone. This foreshadowed the Metroplex’ rapid turn to the right from the 1950s onward. Its reputation for line-drawing conservatism is so strong that Metroplex liberals call it “the DaMN paper” or just “the DaMN.” So to put it mildly, this is a bombshell.
The editorial’s first two sentences make it clear that this is not a lukewarm endorsement.
“There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton.”
No doubt The Morning News editorial board knew this endorsement would hike eyebrows into hairlines. It readily admitted that it has misgivings about the Democrats’ “over-reliance on government and regulation,” and notes that it has criticized Hillary in the past.
This criticism continued today; it accused Hillary of being too willing to “shade the truth,” and upbraided her for her use of a private email server in the State Department and her scripted image. But when the editorial board took its red-tinted blinders off, it drew the same conclusion that we drew months ago–when you look at both candidates’ dossiers and character, “this election is no contest.”
In an attempt to calm down the hackles of its more conservative readers, The Morning News then made the case for why it doesn’t think this election is a contest. It points out that Hillary gained an unshakable reputation for bipartisanship during her tenure in the Senate. It notes that two-thirds of the bills she introduced “included common ground with some of Congress’ most conservative lawmakers.”
Apparently The Morning News also anticipated that it would be bombarded with emails and letters about Hillary’s supposed misdeeds, because it disposed of these conspiracy theories in a firm manner.
“Treason? Murder? Her being cleared of crimes by investigation after investigation has no effect on these political hyenas; they refuse to see anything but conspiracies and cover-ups.”
The Morning News then renewed its journalistic assault on Trump, saying–rightly–that for all of Hillary’s faults, “her errors are plainly in a different universe than her opponent’s.” It denounces Trump as a candidate who seems to be on a mission to “bring out the worst in us, rather than the best.” It also called out Trump for going off on even the tiniest perceived slight, suggesting–rightly–that it is a sign of “a dangerous lack of judgment and impulse control.”
In other words–not the person you’d want to be on the receiving end of a 3 a. m. call. In contrast, The Morning News believes that “for all her warts,” Hillary is exponentially more qualified “to keep our nation safe, to protect American ideals” and give this country the leadership it needs.
Reaction on The Morning News’ Facebook page has been mixed, with the usual threats to cancel subscriptions. Frankly, at this point, any paper who endorses a man who plasters private cell phone numbers on social media, mocks the disabled, condones violence at his rallies, trashes the family of an American hero, and openly calls for a foreign power to cyberspy on us would be guilty of gross journalistic malpractice.
The only reaction so far from the Trump campaign came from national spokeswoman (read: comic relief) Katrina Pierson on Fox Business. Raw Story got a clip.
When host Maria Bartiromo asked Pierson, a Dallas resident, what she thought about this endorsement, Pierson harrumphed that it wasn’t that big a deal. All the campaign intended to do, she said, was “acknowledge that The Dallas Morning News is a liberal paper.”
So when a paper that has endorsed the Republican candidate in 19 out of the last 20 elections concludes that it cannot in good conscience endorse this Republican candidate, it’s a sign that the paper is being run by librul squishes. Yeah, okay. I’d prefer to call it an example of a paper showing journalistic integrity.
(featured image courtesy Antonio Campoy, available under a Creative Commons-Attribution license)