The Courant Demures

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The Hartford Courant, joining with other Tribune Publishing papers, has decided to end its long tradition of endorsing candidates for president, congress and the governor’s office.

In a note to readers this weekend; the paper said it “will focus…efforts on more local contests which readers have told us continue to be of great value.”

Some observers have pointed out that the Courant’s editorial board is nearly non-existent and that papers around the country have concluded, in recent years, that no one reads the op-ed page – and no one clicks on it – so there are financial and business reasons to focus more on daily news coverage and less on opinion. The internet is largely responsible for making opinion pages irrelevant; much as it is responsible for killing classified ads and daily stock tables.

If you read the Courant’s “note to readers” the decision is explained as a step toward lessening the partisan divide in the country. Because others have coarsened public discourse, the Courant is doing the right thing – the honorable thing – and withdrawing from that ugly debate.

The internet has also made spin an ineffective public relations strategy. It would be better if the Courant and Tribune just told the truth. Our staff has been cut dramatically, no one reads the editorial page, so we are focusing on the news we can best deliver.