That said, the ongoing evolution of the Herald’s editorial voice may also be driven by basic political realities, and not just when it comes to the Iraq War. Back in 2004, gay marriage was a novelty; now it’s an established fact, and the paper is acting accordingly. What’s more, the national GOP is currently in disarray, and the Massachusetts Republican Party is almost nonexistent. (The latter development explains the Herald’s willingness to whack Mitt Romney. “Mitt Romney signed up for the job,” says Cohen, “and I think voters expected him to actually do the day job, not check out two years early.”) Pretending otherwise would make the Herald’s editorial page look ridiculous — and could jeopardize the paper’s influence on Massachusetts politics.
Here’s the catch: no one knows if the Herald’s still going to be around in five or 10 years — and any changes the tabloid makes will have an impact on its long-term viability. Maybe die-hard conservatives who read the Herald won’t mind if the editorial page sounds more and more like the Globe’s; after all, they’ll still have Howie Carr, plus the sundry B-list conservative columnists who grace the opinion page most days. Then again, if the Herald’s op-ed-page conservatism becomes too muted, another argument for Boston being a proud two-newspaper town could fade away. And, nowadays, that’s a big risk for the Herald to take.
On the Web
Adam Reilly's Media Log: http://www.thephoenix.com/medialog
: Media -- Dont Quote Me
, Mitt Romney, Gay and Lesbian Relationships, Same-Sex Marriage, More