Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



VIEWPOINTS To endorse or not to endorse
by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times

This article shared 2482 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

There is a long tradition of newspapers endorsing candidates for election, but lately some papers are changing course.

While the Chicago Sun-Times has opted out of the process, the Chicago Tribune has written about continuing its more-than-150-year tradition of telling readers who they should vote for.

I don't think there is any correct answer to the question of whether a newspaper should endorse a candidate, but let me tell you why we at Windy City Times do not endorse in any elections, even when there is a gay person running against a homophobe.

First, here's some background. When I was at GayLife newspaper in 1984, right out of college, that paper did endorse candidates, and its owner, Chuck Renslow, was very active in Democratic politics. While Renslow did not influence our editorial coverage, he did have a say in our endorsements. When we disagreed, we could write our own opinions in the paper about why we backed someone else. And, of course, people wrote letters to the editor in opposition. The community was even smaller then, and with Renslow being an activist in Democratic politics, it presented a perception of conflict of interest.

When I co-founded Windy City Times, the publisher, Jeff McCourt, wanted to continue the tradition of gay papers endorsing, so we did. But we soon had disagreements, including his backing of a straight aldermanic incumbent (Ald. Bernie Hansen) over a gay challenger (Dr. Ron Sable). He and I ended up doing competing endorsement editorials in 1987.

When I left to start Outlines newspaper a few months later, I felt strongly that we should not endorse candidates, and we began a long trend of this by the late 1980s. When we purchased Windy City Times from McCourt in 2000, we stopped the WCT tradition of endorsements.

Some people were upset that Windy City Times would no longer endorse candidates. However, most of those were people who were pitching for their own candidates, and wanted the newspaper to help sway our readers in their favor.

For readers, I have found few who really care what a newspaper tells them to do—but they have long appreciated our approach of listing the endorsements and ratings of a range of LGBT and pro-LGBT groups. We also survey the candidates on our own series of LGBT questions. (The questions depend, in part, on what office they are seeking.) For more than 20 years, we have then taken all that information and created a chart with the endorsements, rankings and recommendations—something easy to carry into the voting booth.

Would telling readers how to vote make a difference? I don't think so. I have seen some newspapers that pretty much always endorse one party or the other. Some newspapers that are so conservative they are tone-deaf to the actual voting patterns of their constituents. And some newspapers endorse candidates despite the efforts of their own reporting staffs to try to be objective in covering campaigns.

So there are several kinds of voters, and I don't believe that any kind is served by a newspaper endorsing:

1) Voters who do their own research.

2) Voters who rely on organizations that reflect their views to recommend candidates.

3) Voters who just make up their minds in the voting booth.

4) Voters who don't show up to vote.

Because the LGBT community is a small subset of the mainstream, we also have a secondary burden. A lot of people know one another, and there are potentially a lot of conflicts of interest. Windy City Times has a few dozen shareholders. None of them, except me, have ever been active in running the paper. But some of them do donate money to candidates, gay and non-gay, local and national. I am not even aware of most of their donations, and because we don't endorse candidates, we don't have to worry about those conflicts impacting our selections.

This is likely the case on a larger scale at the major newspapers. The owners and shareholders likely do back certain candidates, but their readers may never know those conflicts.

We also have a very diverse community, along political, racial, gender, religious and class lines. We barely can agree on any agenda, much less a candidate.

In journalism school, the discussions often centered around whether a reporter should even vote in elections—that just by pulling a lever, a reporter was taking sides, and could not be objective. Interestingly, some of the same newspaper editors who pushed for this non-voting approach for reporters worked for publishers who had no problem telling their readers how to vote.

How were readers to distinguish between what a paper told them to do election day, and an allegedly fair report on the race itself in the news pages? Those lines inevitably blurred in the minds of readers, and in the minds of candidates.

So Windy City Times does not endorse in elections. But we do rate, we do interview and we do report on the races extensively. In addition, we hope those readers who do care enough to vote will use our guides to make a more informed decision.

Tracy Baim is publisher and co-founder of Windy City Times.

This article shared 2482 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Bring Chicago Home: Guess who's saying no again 2023-12-04
Commentary by Bob Palmer and Mark Swartz - Chicago is ushering in an era of change with a new progressive mayor with a vision to invest in communities long ignored and a significant increase in like-minded city council members. We are excited to see ...

Gay News

Pope Francis's community of transwomen 2023-11-28
- It's a rare opportunity to meet the pope. It's even rarer if you're a transgender Catholic. However, on Nov. 19, in Torvaianica, Italy, a community of transwomen, many of them sex workers, were welcomed and seated ...

Gay News

Banning the Banning of Books: Illinois and California lead the way 2023-10-26
- In June, at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation banning book bans in Illinois public libraries. This legislation, initiated by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, passed the Illinois House and ...

Gay News

OPINION Renewing state's Invest in Kids program is investing in anti-LGBTQ+ hate 2023-10-23
- In February 2020, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield warned transgender students in the Diocese's educational system that they "may be expelled from the school" if they live their lives authentically. Lansing Christian School ...

Gay News

Gilbert Baker Foundation reacts to death of shop owner who flew the rainbow flag 2023-08-29
--From a press release - In response to the murder of Laura Ann Carleton over flying the Rainbow flag in her shop in California, the Gilbert Baker Foundation released the statement below. Facebook refused to post the statement as it did not " their standards." ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT U.S. higher education under siege; freedom of inquiry and speech at risk 2023-07-03
- The Covid pandemic threw a harsh spotlight on higher education in America, exposing forces eating away at the foundations of college and university learning, calling into question the traditional purposes of such education in our post-modern, ...

Gay News

Guest essay by Florida mom Nicole Pejovich: What's Happening to Florida's Public Schools? 2023-06-19
Related video below - A queer Florida parent answers questions about recent laws, how Floridians are coping, and how you can help Books pulled from school library shelves by the dozens. All evidence of inclusivity stripped from classrooms. The politically ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT For divorced parents, transgender children's health can present tricky dilemmas 2023-06-12
- Over the last few months, issues impacting individuals who identify as transgender and non-binary are getting a lot of attention in the media and among some politicians. Sadly, because it's become a political issue; a lot ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT War in the 21st Century: mercenaries, private military companies, private armies 2023-05-20
- In 2022, $407 billion of the Pentagon budget—representing half of that year's funding —were obligated to private contractors, of which a significant number were Private Military Companies (PMCs) involved in ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Telling the world about my mental health disorders 2023-05-04
- Over the years, coming out as a lesbian hasn't been that hard for me—because I was always too busy hiding something else. Confessing queerness can be a breeze compared to revealing mental illness. But I decline ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT German bishops endorse blessings of same-sex couples: Ancient rituals retturn 2023-03-31
- This March, at a national meeting of leaders of the German Catholic Church (referred to as a synod), a document titled Blessing Ceremonies for Couples who Love Each Other" received overwhelming support: 176 votes in favor, ...

Gay News

Editorial: In praise of Drag Story Hour 2023-03-14
- Drag Story Hours have really come to the fore in our political consciousness in the last few years, as the radical right has strategically targeted events raising the visibility of individuals who are gender-nonconforming, transgender or ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The scrutiny of Kamala Harris 2023-03-07
- President Biden had a cancerous lesion successfully removed from his chest last month, which was just now reported. At 80, questions continue about Biden's fitness to serve a second term. But questions also abound concerning Vice ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Patriarch Kirill: Darth Putin's Altar Boy 2023-03-01
- Christianity—based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who preached love as the most important expression of religion—has often been co-opted and distorted to support wars, persecutions and ...

Gay News

Opinion: LGBTQ+ candidates are there as Chicago politics prepare to shift 2023-02-08
- The exhausting Chicago election cycle continues. Once the midterm and gubernatorial races were resolved this past November, the Windy City was already midstream in campaigning for the 2023 municipal elections Feb. 28 (with runoffs April 4). ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.