Among those major newspapers that have endorsed a presidential candidate, Republican Mitt Romney has picked up twelve of those that President Barack Obama won in 2008, while Obama has won the endorsement of only one of the newspapers that backed Sen. John McCain four years ago. But a far greater number of newspapers--23 in total--that endorsed either candidate in 2008 have switched to no endorsement at all.
Obama still comes out the loser in this count: eleven of the newspapers that endorsed him four years ago are now on the sidelines, compared to three newspapers that endorsed McCain. But the even bigger loser may be the "Old Media" itself, which has lost the courage to state its political convictions openly before Election Day.
Part of the reason may simply be that newspapers are struggling financially, and that they cannot risk alienating the subscribers who might react to a disagreeable endorsement by canceling their subscriptions. But the failure to endorse, aside from being a vote of no confidence in the democratic system, is also a sign of the dwindling courage of the Fourth Estate, which now flatters politicians (especially Democrats) rather than challenging them.
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