Publications owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, the second-largest newspaper publisher in the country, will no longer endorse major political candidates in their opinion pages.
In an editorial that is scheduled to run in papers as early as Friday, the company’s publications will tell readers that they will stop endorsing candidates in presidential, senate and gubernatorial elections.
A copy of the editorial was obtained by The New York Times. Alden confirmed its contents and timing.
“Unfortunately, as the public discourse has become increasingly acrimonious, common ground has become a no man’s land between the clashing forces of the culture wars,” according to a copy of the planned editorial.
“At the same time, with misinformation and disinformation on the rise, readers are often confused, especially online, about the differences between news stories, opinion pieces and editorials.”
Alden Global Capital owns about 200 newspapers in the United States, including The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News and The Denver Post. Only Gannett, which owns USA Today and other papers, operates more.
The editorial is set to run in the newspapers that had traditionally endorsed candidates, not all newspapers in the Alden group, according to a person with knowledge of the plan.
Newspapers in the United States, including The New York Times, have a long tradition of endorsing candidates. But in recent years, some outlets have questioned the practice or decided to forgo it altogether. The Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia said the 2018 cycle would be its last. Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, McClatchy, a large newspaper chain, said its newspapers would not make an endorsement unless they had interviewed both candidates.
Three Alden newspapers — The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune and The Denver Post — will be allowed to continue with their endorsements this season because of how far along in the process they are and because they are viewed as state newspapers of record, the person said. Those newspapers will announce after this election cycle that they will end the practice, according to the person with knowledge of the company’s plan.
The editorial said the newspapers would continue to cover political races but would “no longer endorse in presidential races or the increasingly nationalized contests for governor and senate.”
“We want to make sure our opinion pages advance a healthy and productive public discourse,” it said. “With that in mind, we will focus our efforts on more local contests, such as city councils, school boards, local initiatives, referendums and other such matters, which readers have told us continue to be of great value in their daily lives.”