Is the media liberal? In recent years I would say large media institutions, such as the New York Times, have been turned off by the 21st century brand of conservatism, particularly its cultural message. However, local media is a very different animal. Reading the various endorsements of Russ Feingold in recent days tells you that the editorial writers in Oshkosh, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Green Bay are not making playing by policy lines set by an omniscient media elite. The Republican endorsements make it even more clear.
Let's start with the Journal Sentinel. I could feel the Walker endorsement coming in my gut for a while, but I was not confident enough to predict. What was surprising about the editorial was the lack of local context it gives. Although they lauded Walker for being "tough," they didn't justify their preference for Walker's experience over his opponent's with any examples from Barrett's tenure as mayor of their damn city!
This was an interesting caveat to their support:
Barrett, meanwhile, has run a spirited, though at times too negative, campaign. His jobs and deficit proposals are far more detailed than Walker's and should be considered even if he's not elected.
The state faces a serious deficit and the Journal Sentinel is endorsing a guy who is unwilling to forth a serious proposal on how to fix it?
On the same page, the JS endorsed Feingold, arguing that he was independent, knowledgeable and principled, whereas Johnson offered little more than talking points to address serious issues. Hmmm..
Other papers echoed the JS's disappointment with Johnson's evasiveness. Two quoted his now-infamous response to a question about budget-cutting: "But I'm not going to get in the game here and, you know, start naming specific things to be attacked about, quite honestly."
You might say one would expect papers to endorse Democrats, especially intellectual types like Feingold. Again, local papers are different animals. The Green Bay Press Gazette, whose ed board was apparently not impressed with its interview with Johnson, endorsed Feingold for the first time ever last week.
That will be the interesting trend to watch in the last week before the election. Will Ron Johnson's prevent defense backfire?
Any predictions on State Journal? Here are their legislative endorsements. A mixed bag of Dems and Republicans, based, as you might expect, on pretty much nothing.