Express Lane: Do newspaper endorsements still matter and Whataboutism

On Friday, The Miami Herald Editorial Board penned the most articulate newspaper endorsement of a candidate we have ever seen in strongly endorsing Charlie Crist for Governor. In fact, the endorsement read like a synergy of multiple articles from this site, citing Governor DeSantis divisiveness, hypocrisy, disregard for the rule of law and destruction of the Florida we once knew.

Here are the first two paragraphs from The Herald

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Florida is a place of meanness. It’s a place where dissent is muzzled, where personal rights triumph over the greater good, where winning is more important than unity — especially if that victory moves him closer to a White House run.

That’s not the Florida we had four years ago. And it’s not a Florida that voters should tolerate for the next four years. There’s a far better choice in the Nov. 8 election: Democrat Charlie Crist.

Anyone reading the editorial cannot come away neutral in the governor’s race. But does it matter?

Alas, it probably makes zero difference. As newspaper circulations have dropped, GOP and NPA voters in particular have drifted to alternate forms of media. Additionally, DeSantis-styled GOPers wear attacks by the legacy press as a badge of honor. Therefore, newspaper editorial boards, painfully non-partisan and non-political are viewed as some sort of extension of the Democratic Party by GOPers – something that often pushes the media into making false equivalencies and engaging in whataboutism. That provides a sedgeway to our next subject.

The problem of whataboutism has helped fuel election denial, vaccine skepticism, coddling of insurrectionists and sympathy for Russian imperial aggression.

False equivalencies and a continued indulgence on social media of those whose entire public persona is fueled by cynicism, cunning and bitter negativity is the direct result of the insecurity of many in the media and public space (myself included) to appear more “balanced.” I have come to the conclusion, “balance” is effectively concession to the sinister, be it the DeSantistan GOP or Russian propagandists.

The truth must guide us, not a need to appear fair, to people who are agenda-driven and fundamentally unfair in how they view the world.

Tonight’s governor’s debate is a last chance for Charlie Crist to impresses masses of Florida voters given he does not have the cash to communicate directly with voters in terms of paid media. However, President Biden’s November 1 visit should provide Crist with an opportunity to get some earned media.

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