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Clarification on Forum Communications newspaper endorsements

Monday, in a piece on the Duluth News-Tribune’s endorsement of 8th District GOP candidate Chip Cravaack, I wrote: “When it comes to Congress-level endorsements, Forum [Communications], which purchased the Duluth paper in 2006, gives its local properties autonomy.”

After talking with a couple of knowledgable but not-authorized-to-comment Forum sources, that’s too broad a statement. The Fargo-based Forum management doesn’t always dictate Congress-level endorsements, but in some cases, it does.

To be clear, this doesn’t contradict what News-Tribune editorial page editor Chuck Frederick told me Monday: that in the Cravaack case, it was the local editorial board’s decision to spurn 18-term DFL incumbent Jim Oberstar.

The Forum chain does impose Presidential and gubernatorial endorsements. It would be great for transparency and accountability if the local papers would always note the top-down endorsements when they happen, though that would undermine the dictats’ goal a bit.

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