Both local dailies newspapers endorsed Norm Coleman, and today, they came gift-wrapped for him as well.
Going where at least three U.S. papers refused to, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press came wrapped in Election Day bags sponsored by the National Rifle Association.
Here’s what they looked like in case you reflexively threw yours away or only read online:
Editor and Publisher reports that the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch and one other prominent paper declined the ads.
The Virginian-Pilot’s business development manager told his own paper the ads were rejected because, “We want to make sure that we provide equity for all sides, make sure that there is a level playing field. We want to make sure that we don’t look, as a newspaper, that we’re endorsing one viewpoint or another.”
The story also notes that because bags are printed six weeks in advance, there’s no opportunity for competitors to purchase equivalent space.
Obviously, local publishers have a different philosophy.
A Richmond alt-weekly reported newsroom worries that “the wrap might suggest a news bias against Obama that runs counter to the longstanding separation of news, opinion and advertising that is central to maintaining public trust in any news operation.”
Wonder what they’re saying in the Strib and PiPress newsrooms — or if they even knew.
These days, ads are regularly sold on newspaper bags, so it could be argued this is just another advertising opportunity.
In my morning Strib, the NRA-Coleman ad was the only political ad in (or in and around) the paper. I don’t know if the Strib otherwise prohibits Election Day ads, or if no campaign wanted to buy them.
Anyone who knows the policies (it’s early, I can’t make phone calls yet), please leave the info in the comments.