Winston-Salem Journal Endorses…. McCain

Ken AshfordElection 2008, Local Interest3 Comments

All the other major NC papers — from Charlotte to Raleigh to Asheville to Greensboro to Fayetteville, and more — have already made their endorsements.  All of them went for Obama.

Yesterday, the Winston-Salem Journal finally made its endorsement (after saying it was going to sit this election out).  It went for McCain.

It's one of the saddest mealy-mouthed endorsements I've ever read.  The article praises Obama effusively.  One of my collegaues told me that he stopped reading the piece a few paragraphs in, having assumed that he was reading an Obama endorsement.

The article goes on to lament McCain's campaign. 

But it eventually endorses McCain, because it believes (based on…..?) that after the election, the "real John McCain" will emerge and do good for the country and not be like Bush at all and be able to work with Democrats yada yada yada.

Shorter Winston-Salem Journal endorsement: "We endorse McCain because he's a Republican and we don't endorse Democrats."

Some selected readers' comments (most of which hate the endorsement).  Many of them note that WSJ, being owned by a company in Richmond, doesn't reflect the views of the immediate community.  There may be some truth to that — Winston-Salem voted against Bush in 2000 and 2004, but the paper endorsed Bush both times.

What angers many of these readers is not the McCain endorsement per se, but the flawed rationale behind it.

My husband and I just canceled our subscription to the Winston-Salem Journal due to the paper's endorsement of John McCain for President. Your endorsement runs counter to your own logic. You proclaim that McCain's campaign has not been as strong as Obama's but then say that the "real McCain" will re-emerge once he is elected president. Don't you think we saw the real McCain in the last year? The bumbling, erratic politician who will go against his own principles to say or do anything to be elected? The nomination of Sarah Palin didn't convince you that his decisions were not to be trusted? Any newspaper that sees the truth, but then twists it to present a flawed argument to its readers is not a newspaper I want to read every day.


How sad, and how very disappointing that the Journal editorial page–which at times in the past has been a clear voice for reasoned progress–now has revealed itself to be completely ideological and unfettered by reality in issuing this very wrong-headed endorsement.


I am truly proud to live in the city of Winston Salem, NC. It is really wonderful to be a part of such a diverse and inclusive city. I am equally disappointed in this endorsement by the WSJ. Obviously, you did not consider the population which you represent when you endorse such a pathetic campaign, which is a reflection of the person at the top of the ticket. Today will be the last day that I patronize the WSJ.


After being assured that the Winston Salem Journal would not endorse either presidential candidate imagine my surprise to read in this morning's paper that you gave a lukewarm endorsement to Senator McCain. The rationale was confusing…. you believe that the McCain we are seeing in the campaign is not the real McCain but if he becomes president he will morph back into the smiling, laughing nice guy he has always been? Have I got it right?…

BTW, I may cancel my subscription. The Journal is owned by an out of state person and managed in Richmond. I want to support those journalists and employees who need their jobs and the businesses that advertise in the paper, but I am so dismayed by this endorsement and the flimsy rationale for making it that I don't know if I can continue to support you.


The Journal is asking readers to take them seriously when the entire endorsement is based not upon facts, but upon wishful thinking.