Without a unified editorial voice, a newspaper is more vulnerable, less influential and increasingly more irrelevant. At no time has this been more evident than with the hiring of the strident conservative Drew Johnson to lead the right-side Free Press editorial page. His Twitter-fueled, flame-throwing edicts and “editorials” read like op-ed columns from the fringe that inflame even local conservatives. But perhaps that was the idea. The left-leaning Times side is more sober and balanced, but the competing voices drown out any coherent opinion.
As the March 5 elections draw near, each side has, well, taken sides—again. Last Sunday, the Times endorsed Andy Berke; Johnson’s Free Press page backed Guy Satterfield. The merits of either candidate aside, who then does the paper truly endorse?
The answer: no one, really. These conflicting opinions exterminate the true voice of our daily newspaper. If the paper’s twin editorial pages support two candidates for a single office, no one “wins.” It’s like backing both teams at the Super Bowl, to put it in simple terms. And if subscribers face rising rates, they might also expect their paper to stand for something. The TFP is not two papers, but one—and it needs one strong voice.