Decline in newspaper influence hits Southern Arizona

Espresso Pundit covered the news that Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio decided not to seek the endorsements of Arizona’s largest paper. We now have news that Legislative District 30 House Republican nominee Frank Antenori is not seeking the endorsement or the Arizona Daily Star or the Tucson Citizen. In a letter to the media Antenori states:

In going over the schedule for the general election I have decided to forgo the editorial endorsement interviews from the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Citizen. My time will be more effectively utilized reaching voters in District 30 directly by walking door to door and attending local community events.

He continues:

I have made myself available to the public and the media for many months now and have discussed the issues of interest to voters in several partisan and bi-partisan forums. The Star has covered only one of these forums that I know of and I don’t believe that the Citizen has covered any.

The full text of Antenori’s statement is available on his web site. Frank is in a fairly safe district and is working hard to reach voters directly so the move is not the end of the paper’s influence. That is unless be wins and his position catches on among candidates in future elections.

Speaking of the decline of newspapers, The McClatchy Company, is having so much trouble they have had to restructure their debt. They do not have any papers in Arizona but have some in California, the most famous being the Sacramento Bee.


  1. Again…a bad idea. Dissing the press isn’t smart. It also looks like sour grapes. Sort of a “I dont want then endorsement if I think I can’t get it.”

    Anyhoo…fun times.

  2. The Senate is considering the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 (aka Federal Media Shield bill), which exempts any reporter from revealing confidential sources of information.

    Advocates of the bill assert that a reporter’s assurance of confidentiality to a source is, sometimes, the only way to gain access to critical information. Legally forcing the reporter to reveal the source allegedly extinguishes the free flow of information between a reporter and his source and, ultimately, the flow of information to the public. Opponents of the bill say creation of a legal privilege can bar access to information relevant to law enforcement, national security, etc.

    What is the purpose of a newspaper (or any news media, for that matter)? “To give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect or interests involved” [Adolph S. Ochs, Publisher of the New York Times, 1896-1935: Journalistic Fraud, Bob Kohn, 2003, p.27].

    The arguments of the advocates and opponents of the bill are canards. The real issue: the loss of credibility due to repeated instances of bias and outright dishonesty in reporting. Bob Kohn described in elegant detail the discrediting of the New York Times. The same detail could be written of every news organization within the so-called Main Stream Media: “With its [MSM] own bad behaviors, media has played directly into these criticisms, fabrication, conflict of interest, dubious ethical behaviors, and an eagerness to trade the solitary challenges of reporting for the delights and rewards of bloviating on television have undoubtedly helped undercut journalism’s reputation in the eyes of its reading public” [-30-The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper, Charles M. Madigan, p.7].

    U.S. newspaper circulation fell 3.6 percent in the last six months []. Of the top twenty newspapers, only USA Today and the Wall Street Journal increased circulation. The New York Times company stock lost 3.9 percent. The Los Angeles Times lost 5.1 percent. As circulation continues its death spiral, stock values are also sinking. “In January [2007], the Times company stock was trading at $23, down more than 50 percent from its 2002 peak” [Madigan, p. 25]. Today, share price is $13.70.

    On August 19, 2004, Guardian Newspapers reported that the Dallas Morning News had to return $23 million to advertisers after disclosure that its circulation figures were inflated. Similar reports emerged from the Chicago SunTimes, Newsday and the Spanish language paper Hoy [ ].

    In the eyes of ordinary citizens, the MSM are seen as ethically challenged. While some members of MSM think ordinary citizens are shifting to online for their news, then the obvious answer is to capture these citizens online. The rise of blogs offers myriad sources other than MSM websites. Blogs made their name by investigating and disclosing unethical behavior by members of MSM. Unfortunately, the MSM brings to the web its tarnished reputation of bias and dishonesty.

    Lawyers represent their clients: attorney-client privilege is right and appropriate. Clergy represent members of their particular faith. Religious privilege is right and appropriate. Members of the MSM do not represent the American people. Members of the MSM represent their employers, e.g., New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Washington Post, CBS News, et. al. It is right and appropriate that members of the MSM be held to the same standards applied to ordinary citizens. What right does a member of the MSM have to a ‘free pass?” Supporters of the bill state that the “shield” protects the flow of information to the public. Enactment of the bill protects only the journalist and provides “shield” that protects fabricated sources and stories.

    On far too many occasions, members of the MSM fabricated sources and stories. On far too many occasions these fabrications have been politically motivated. When I hear or read a story that includes the term “unnamed source” or “anonymous sources” or similar descriptors, I assume the author of the story fabricated either the source or the story or both. Why? Because it has happened too often.

    I want a free and honest news media. However, freedom cannot exist without regulation or order; else, we have what we see today: an out of control MSM that is biased, dishonest, partisan and elitist, holding to no standard of ethical behavior. Requiring members of the news media to reveal sources is the right thing to do. At least we will know the source was not fabricated.

    The American Society of Newspaper Editors, in 1923, adopted the following code of journalistic ethics: “Sound practice makes clear distinction between news reports and expressions of opinion. News reports should be free from opinion or bias of any kind.” [Ibid.].

    Until we hold the news media accountable and until the news media holds its members accountable, the term journalistic ethics will always be a contradiction. The Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, if enacted, can only reinforce the distrust and suspicion of the MSM by a growing segment of the population.

  3. I think you’re going to see more of these requests to decline endorsements as the traditional print media becomes more liberal and their circulation continues to decline.

    One can conclude with population growing and paper circulation shrinking, the editorial board’s ability to influnce an election will deminish; it already seems to me that it has.

    In almost every contested race that the Citizen endorsed, virtually every one of them lost.

    Antenori may have just simply not wanted to be given an endorsement from the obviously liberal editors of both papers. Which to somone running in a relativeley conservative district, may be perceived as the kiss of death.

    It’s a bold move from a clearly bold candidate. Antenori’s definitely got a lot of guts, something the voters haven’t seen in an Arizona politician in a long time and they may just appreciate his gutsy move.

  4. Great for Frank for letting the Red Star and Tucson Citizen know they aren’t relevant anymore. Whatever they pick….I vote the opposite.

    Canceled my subscriptions over a year ago!

  5. Courageous?

    Cowardly is more like it. He is basically saying that he isn’t willing to sit for an endorsement interview. Even if they were opponents, and that is quite unclear, don’t you think that it is a stand up thing to actually sit for the interview?

    What is he going to simply fair to talk to anyone that doesn’t agree witgh him in the house of reps?

  6. Kral watch this candidate interview with Gene Chewning and Joe Sweeney. After a lengthy discussion with Sweeney about sodomy the Citizen interviewer asks about Transgender. Give me a break. It would be a waste of gas to drive to the interview and talk to these clowns. This interview is a perfect example of how the papers ask questions that the votes do not care about.

  7. Did they ask about other things? Yes. Might they have asked these questions of Sweeney because he has brought this kind of nutty stuff up before…well…I think we can agree that trying to elicit Sweeney’s offball world is more than fair.

    Antenori is a serious candidate, with serious views, he would get serious questions.

    And nothing against Chewning. Most say he is a very nice man. Shocked that he lost in your primary.

  8. I will be honest. Beating up on the media is not so smart. They have the power to write stories, ask questions, investigate, and for the most part they are good at it and do a great service to America. The “media backlash” that Palin and the GoP staged at the convention (I watched about 75% of the convention) simply did little to make friends. The weak before, they were just doing their job.

    It is never smart…never ever smart…to anger those that cover your campaign.

    Anyhow, I am just an old campaign hack…what do I know?

  9. True, Sweeney did bring up sodomy but why did the Citizen introduce the transgender issue? Because they are morons.

    Antenori was not beating up on the media. He just said that he had better ways to spend his time. Voting starts in 2 days. These interviews are late in the cycle anyway.

    Yes the media has the power to write stories, ask questions, and investigate. They should do more of that and less pontificating.

  10. Cowardly? Kralmajales you have outdone yourself. You should listen to yourself sometime. Calling a recipient on the Bronze Star for Valor a coward is an interesting take. I am sure Frank could not take sitting across from Ann Brown and Mark Kimble one more time. He probably barely survived the first round, Not!

    I do not know if it was a smart thing for him to do or not but I know this. I don’t care. It is much more important for me where a candidate stands on the issues and what he/she has done in life. On that count Frank looks good to me and will receive one of my two votes on election day. With or without an endorsement from the papers.

  11. There was a time when candidates almost cringed if they got an endorsement from the AZ Republic – it meant certain defeat on election day – ask Pete Dunn and Burton Barr.

    People who do their research don’t vote based on any editorial board’s recommendation.

  12. When it comes down to it. Antenori doesn’t need, nor does he probably want the endorsement.

    He’s got all of the business community behind him (Chamber, NFIB, AZ Technology Council).

    He has the NRA and AZ Sportsmen for Wildlife’s endoesement.

    He has the AZ Right to Life endorsement and get this…. The American Centrist Party’s endorsement.

    He probably has dozens of more that we don’t even know about.

    He’s also got the staunch support of veterans and illegal immigration foes, all key constituencies of that District.

    Why on earth would he want to go trolling for an endorement from the Red Star or Mien Citizen?

    Who does Delasandro have the endorsement of?

    The Teachers union, the Sierra Club, the Tucson Weekly, and soon the Star and the Citzen.

    She does realize she’s running in a somewhat conservative district with 17.000 more Republicans than Democrats right?

    With those endorsements she’s practically DOA.

  13. Its not the endorsement that matters here, it representing yourself to institutions that cover your campaign. There was no indication at all that the citizen was going to rake him over the coals, unless he had made statements or policy ideas that merit it.

    Its not a smart move. How is he going to work across the aisle with other members of the house if he can’t sit through a policy interview with a local newspaper?

  14. Kral,

    Many have tried to predict what people will do once elected and 90% of the time they were wrong. That’s because politicians always seem to say and do things to pander to voters, pander to media, and pander to special interests just to get elected.

    Then when they get to Phoenix or Washington, they go and do something totally different.

    If there ever was a guy that doesn’t pander and shoots straight (and hits his target) it’s Frank. He’s been solid in every debate, isn’t afraid to tell the truth, even if it hurts and has come across to voters as a guy solidly cemented to the basic principles of our Republic.

    Evidently he knows what he’s doing, he was out spent 3-1 by his opponents in the primary, had the Republican Party establishment trying to undermine his campaign, and had the media against him every step of the way yet he still managed to pull it off.

    I saw and heard Frank speak at the Tucson Republican Women’s breakfast this past August, one of the ladies I was sitting with commented she wanted to move into his district so she could vote for him, so did I.

    The guy spent two decades practicing unconventional warfare as a Green Beret; I think you’re seeing the beginning of unconventional politics.

    Either way you cut it, I don’t think you can deny that Antenori IS NOT politics as usual and that is what is likely appealing to voters.

  15. I did not know who I was going to vote for until Frank walked my neighborhood and knocked on my door. I trust him to do what he says, to clean up the mess with the budget and represent the little guy for a change. Go Frank. He may not have talked to the paper but he talked to me.

  16. For years, the fourth estate has diminished in importance, as other methods of obtaining information have taken hold. Public polls have repeatedly indicated that the voting public believes that a large majority of the broadcast and print media are agenda driven and not information driven.

    If an endorsement for a candidate should come and be valued, it must come from an organization at the pinacle of general esteem. An endorsement only carries the weight of the respect the endorser is generally given in a direct relationship of high public esteem and strong endorsement.

    An endorsement from an organization, that has little esteem among the populace carries little or negative weight. An example might be the general commonly heard derisive nickname for the Arizona Daily Star, as it is commonly called the Red Star – meaning left leaning like Pravda – only tell one side of the issue.

    Of note is that circulation numbers are a good indicator of the level of esteem, remember that circulation numbers are inflated by people buying a publication for the ads, the sports section, etc. and not the news features, editorials, or opinions.

    A newspaper has to earn its esteem with aggressive, balanced, and accurate reporting. A paper that does not do everything it can to inform the public accurately and with balance is not earning esteem.

    A candidate must earn esteem to be elected, election is the ultimate endorsement. In today’s media environment, candidates make a good decision in seeking endorsements from organizations that carry substantial public esteem, and spending little effort seeking endorsements from organizations that carry little or negative public esteem.

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