Michael Kinsley, The Times' editorial page and opinion über-editor, told Editor and Publisher that if it's up to him, the paper will probably break with its tradition and endorse a candidate for president. He says the decision whether to endorse is under discussion and will include Publisher John Puerner and Editor John Carroll. "There is a diversity of views," Kinsley said. The LAT last endorsed in 1972, backing Nixon.
"There are pros and cons. The pro is that editorial pages are supposed to have opinions and this is the most important opinion going," Kinsley said. "The con is that you have to deal with making the decision and there is a tradition we have had of not endorsing."
Under the Chandler Family, which sold the Times to The Tribune Company in 2000, the paper had routinely endorsed Republicans for president until 1972, when it backed Richard Nixon.
Tony Day, who served as editorial page editor from 1971 to 1989, said Otis Chandler, the former publisher, had wanted to steer the paper away from its "ferociously Republican" roots and toward a more mainstream approach, so he stopped presidential endorsements after 1972. "At the time, it was the best thing to do because the paper was able to break with the past and continue what I think was a rather long march toward a more sophisticated, and dare I say more liberal, newspaper," Day told E&P.
Kinsley also says to expect sharper positions against the flood of state initiatives. An editorial Sunday called them too often tools of special interests and said the upcoming editorial page endorsements will apply "a heavy dose of skepticism about the wisdom of the process."