It’s true that the new media, including cable news and the Internet, served to help counteract the power of old media, such as the network news programs. But don’t rule out the power of old media. The evening news programs of the three major networks still get 25 million viewers a night. That compares to 3.5 million viewers a night on The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel. This is the most popular show on cable news.
The nation’s major papers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, endorsed Kerry for president. But the same trend was evident in the rest of the country. Greg Mitchell of the trade journal Editor & Publisher reports that John Kerry was endorsed by 208 newspapers with a total daily circulation of about 21 million. President Bush was endorsed by 189 newspapers with a total daily circulation of just over 14 million.
Much comment has been made about the passage of anti-homosexual marriage amendments in 11states. They passed by strong percentages of 57 to 86 percent. But a survey showed that editorials in 74 newspapers in those 11 states opposed the measures while only 7 papers endorsed them. Three of those editorials against the measures were in Kentucky. That’s a line-up of 74-7, which demonstrates how papers across the country are out-of-step with the people they are supposed to serve.
In Michigan, it passed with 59 percent, despite strong opposition from major newspapers in the state. Twenty Michigan daily newspapers opposed Proposal 2, the anti-homosexual measure. They included the Saginaw News, Oakland Press, Macomb Daily, Lansing State Journal,
Grand Rapids Press, Monroe Evening News, Muskegon Chronicle, Flint Journal, Detroit Free Press, and Detroit News.
In Ohio, where the anti-homosexual measure passed with 62 percent of the vote, 16 newspapers opposed it. They were the Dayton Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Athens News, The Columbus Dispatch, Akron Beacon Journal, Dayton Daily News, Times-Reporter, Toledo Blade, The Courier, Chillicothe Gazette, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The News-Herald (Lake County?Willoughby), The Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Post, The Advocate (Newark), and the News Journal (Mansfield).
Surprisingly, in conservative Utah, 4 major papers opposed it. They were the Provo Daily Herald, the Herald Journal (Logan, Utah), the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Spectrum. The Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City), which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took a somewhat neutral stand, noting that the church had said that it “favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.” The paper said, “Church officials say this is not an endorsement of Amendment 3. We have decided to let this statement speak for itself and to issue no further recommendation.” The anti-homosexual measure passed with 66 percent of the vote in Utah. The lesson is that when the people spoke, the nation’s newspapers were on the other side of the issue. That difference reflects the conservatism of the people and the liberalism of the press.