At least Connor’s and Monks’s attempts to promote their chosen candidate have been easy to spot. The Bangor paper’s efforts to elect Cutler seem better disguised.
On May 22, the Bangor Daily announced its Democratic gubernatorial endorsements for:
The paper’s editorial called the Dem field “disappointing,” saying it was composed of “three old-school insiders” and one inexperienced outsider.
The Republicans got slightly kinder treatments. Peter Mills was praised for his bipartisanship and his “keen understanding of the intricacies of state government.” Steve Abbott “offers a fresh approach” thanks to his “moderate views.” Matt Jacobson would make a good commissioner of economic development. Paul LePage “is highly likely to lose in November.” No mention of frontrunner Les Otten.
Mills and Abbott ended up sort of splitting the endorsement.
Speculation surfaced that the Warrens had engineered this lukewarm backing for the GOP candidates and non-support for the Democrats to clear the way for their old buddy. By diminishing the stature of the eventual Dem nominee, the theory goes, the Bangor paper was making it easier for Cutler, an ex-Democrat, to siphon off disaffected members of his former party.
That sort of bias on the part of allegedly objective news outlets isn’t unprecedented. Maine newspapers used to be fiercely partisan, and the Bangor Daily continued that tradition of promoting its friends and smearing its enemies well into the 1990s.
Can these print-media dinosaurs still muster enough influence to sway an election?
Who cares? Steve Jobs gave me a free iPad, and I’m busy watching Tony Kornheiser interview Danica Patrick.
I get e-mail on my iPad, too. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.