You might have noticed that The Pulse hasn’t endorsed any candidates for tomorrow’s elections. We’re not going to — not now, and not in the future.
That’s right: we’re not going to tell you who to vote for.
Like so much of what “old media” does, editorial endorsements are a relic, borne out of a bygone era in which newspapers were explicitly partisan. They’ve become meaningless exercises. Maybe they always were. All too often, local media endorsements reflect which candidate bought the most advertising or which one is friends with the publisher or editor instead of which one is best for the community.
That’s not the way we do things.
From the beginning, The Pulse has been the rebel in the Gulf Coast media landscape. We’ve strived to be fiercely independent as we look to inspire spirited conversations about the issues affecting Gulf Coast communities. Our credibility and independence are important to us. So like a growing number of news organizations — including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Portland Press-Herald — we’re rejecting and abandoning editorial endorsements.
Instead, we’ll spend our time reporting on something that actually matters in elections: money.
More than ever before, local elections are being influenced by special interest groups and the political action committees that wealthy donors use to evade limits on campaign contributions. Instead of telling you how we think you should vote, we’re going to focus on reporting where political money is coming from and where it’s going.
When a developer makes nearly $40,000 in campaign contributions to a candidate who helped him get a tax break, we’ll write about it. When one candidate threatens another with a deluge of outside special interest money, we’ll write about it. As Gulf Coast voters go to the polls, transparency about who is funding local candidates and elections is more important than any endorsement, and we’ll work to aggressively report these stories.
Our decision not to endorse candidates doesn’t mean that we won’t take editorial positions on important issues. Quite the contrary. We’ll continue to advocate on issues we believe are crucial — issues like government transparency, campaign finance reform, historic preservation, and equality and diversity. We’ll continue to be a strong voice in the essential conversations taking place every day across the Gulf Coast.
Hopefully, if we continue to do good work, we’ll even spark some of those conversations ourselves.