Broward Politics: The Last Sun-Sentinel Election Endorsements?

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

“You Don’t Miss Your Water Until Your Well Runs Dry,” go the lyrics of the decades-old blues classic. 

That song came to mind Sunday when reading the latest political endorsements in the endangered Sun-Sentinel. 

I thought about how the Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board contains a deep well of political knowledge. And how that well will only be missed when it disappears, yet another victim of the paper’s penny-pinching hedge fund owners.

That would be a political tragedy. 

The Sun-Sentinel endorsements remain the only comprehensive examination of local candidates by a non-bias group of professionals.

 

 

Rosemary O’Hara, editorial page editor 

 

 

Many disagree with their choices. No one can argue that the Editorial Board doesn’t give a fair shot to each and every candidate. 

The endorsement process takes a lot of effort.  Questionnaires are prepared and distributed. Interviews with dozens of candidates are scheduled and conducted. Video of the interviews are recorded and placed online. Endorsement are hashed out among the Board members. Then the endorsements are written, edited, laid out and posted online.

“I fear this may be the last time Broward sees something that looks like this,” one Sun-Sentinel staffer told Browardbeat. 

Sadly, the staffer is right. 

Excellent editorial endorsements like the Sun-Sentinel takes time. And time is money.  Saving money at the expense of journalism is what the new hedge fund owners are renowned for. 

Because of that financial squeeze, voters may only see endorsements from the self-interested by the next Broward election in 2022.

Only endorsements from those who only want to feed at the public trough. Unions. Business groups. 

Then there is endorsements that are bought and paid for by candidates. Many websites and blogs are for sale.* 

You can’t buy the Sun-Sentinel. Editorial Page Editor Rosemary O’Hara and her crew are not swayed by who is buying advertising. O’Hara wouldn’t even let me buy her lunch.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Sun-Sentinel is perhaps the most valuable educational material a voter can read.  

Politicians grumble about the endorsements. But the only thing they hate worse is getting no attention at all. 

Soon I fear politicians will be missing the endorsements they so often criticized. 

The hedge fund owners are creating a journalistic desert. And the well of political endorsements and coverage will run dry.

 

XXXXX

 

(Disclosure: Browardbeat does not chose what political ads Google places on the site. The website you are reading actually cost me money. But only a few can afford operating a blog as a retirement hobby.)



15 Responses to “Broward Politics: The Last Sun-Sentinel Election Endorsements?”

  1. Rosemary says:

    Thank you, Buddy. I appreciate that you appreciate the work that goes into these things. We don’t expect everyone to agree with our thinking, but we do hope they will understand it — and better understand the choices they face.
    For the primary, we researched 47 races on the ballot (depending on where you live) in Broward and southern Palm Beach counties.
    But you’re right. Given the state of the newspaper business, it’s unlikely readers will ever see anything like this again.
    So folks, support your local newspaper. Understand that to stay in business, we can’t give the work away for free. If nothing else, get a digital subscription. The Sun Sentinel has great introductory offers.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Rosemary O’Hara is right. Local journalism can not survive without readers who contribute. I urge everybody to click on Sun-Sentinel.com and check out their subscription offers, either the paper or the online or both.

    These are the folks who have a controlling share of the Tribune, owners of the Sun-Sentinel. See what happened to another newspaper here

  2. David Brown says:

    I’ve been on all four sides of the SUN-SENTINEL candidate endorsement process. I didn’t get the endorsement when I ran against Miriam Olyphant in 2000 for Supervisor of Elections but I did get the endorsement when I ran against BRENDA SNIPES in 2016 again for that office.

    Over the years I’ve helped many candidates complete the SUN-SENTINEL questionnaires and prepare for the in person candidate interviews. While a majority of my candidates have received the Sun Sentinel endorsements when they ran the others obviously did not.

    The process was always fair. The endorsement panel that SUN-SENTINEL put together for the personal interviews were often at least three people; two from the editorial board and whichever reporter was covering the race. That reporter rarely participated in the direct questioning but was there to provide information and context.

    Well I don’t always agree with their recommendations, as I don’t this year, I hope that the owners of the SUN-SENTINEL will allocate whatever budget is necessary to continue to Make this important professional and impartial analysis available to the voting public.

    FROM BUDDY:

    David Brown is a long-time political operative with experience both in South Florida and Washington.

    He also ran for Broward Supervisor of Elections twice.

  3. Old Timer says:

    Buddy … your history beats them all.

    Steve Bosquet goes back to the ’80’s but is being compromised by the left-wing ladies on the editorial board. It’s sad to see the newspaper editotials becoming so Bernie progressive … aka liberal.

    FROM BUDDY:

    I started at the Sun-Sentinel at the end of 1973 and moved to the Fort Lauderdale News in 1977. Bousquet was probably still in diapers. Only kidding, Steve.

  4. The Trough says:

    How many meals have you accepted buddy?

    Quid pro quo?

    FROM BUDDY:

    Its laughable to believe a meal could buy any coverage on my part.

    In addition when I was with the Sun-Sentinel, I routinely charged the paper my meals with sources. There was no need for anybody to buy my lunch.

  5. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Journalists ARE NOT BRIBED IN MY 70 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE on North America Europe Australia n New Zealand. What DOES EFFECT THEM n makes for ‘bias’ ARE ECONOMIC PERSONAL POLITICAL n even RELIGIOUS/PHILOSOPHICAL.BELIEFS that ‘guide them’ to people or other SOURCES OF INFORMATION.that TILT THEIR WRITING.

  6. Respect the locals says:

    Thanks for the laugh, Rosemary. The Sun-Sentinel is anything but a local newspaper. The last time I looked it was owned by Tribune Publishing based in Chicago. The “newspaper” has shrunk significantly in the past few years. The latest insult to its local readers was the elimination of reader comments to articles. Interestingly, the majority of reader comments were in direct opposition to the biased views of the editorial staff of the SS. The cancel culture struck at the SS by silencing the opinions of local readers.
    There are several websites that provide more current local news than the SS, including those of TV stations. The SS website is either many hours behind the news happening in Broward and Palm Beach or does not report it at all.
    The online version of the SS is jam packed with ads and disturbing light on real news.
    It appears that the SS must follow an agenda prescribed by Chicago rather than covering real issues in South Florida.
    In my humble opinion, the SS has failed South Florida.

  7. jsb says:

    I always look forward to the SS Endorsements. When they are released I always vote the opposite… They endorsed Andrew Gillam what a joke. crooked Hillary wrong. The SS should get out of the practice of endorsing candidates. Perhaps their subscription numbers would increase.

  8. Philip M. Fortman says:

    Respect the locals, right only in one respect. Sun Sentinel isn’t just local as far as Broward County is concerned. While print media has shrunk considerably since the advent if the digital age. Like it or not, and to my surprise, the Sun Sentinel is one of the largest circulated newspaper in the state.
    The rankings are based on audited circulation numbers.
    St. Petersburg Times – 239,684.
    Orlando Sentinel – 172,271.
    The Miami Herald – 151,612.
    South Florida Sun Sentinel – 149,892.
    The Tampa Tribune – 145,045.
    The Florida Times-Union – 108,926.
    The Palm Beach Post – 100,830.
    Sarasota Herald-Tribune – 66,352.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Thanks for your comment.

    Your circulation figures are outdated. These publications wish they sold that many newspapers.

    In 2017 the Miami Herald reported to the U.S. Post Office a circulation of 66,972. The Herald sold more than that figure in just Broward a few years ago.

    The Sun-Sentinel does not report its circulation to the Post Office, but reported its circulation in 2017 as 75,320 daily and 155,105 on Sunday.

    Since these figures were three years ago, the papers are selling far fewer copies today.

    Note: At one time the Sun-Sentinel, which had intense competition from other newspapers at the time, claimed selling more than 400,000 on Sunday and more than 200,000 daily.

    Both papers are selling far fewer copies than decades ago, when the Sun-Sentinel claimed selling more than 400,000 on Sunday and more than 200,000 daily.

    For an informative story on Florida newspaper circulation, see this link.

  9. Ron C. says:

    The endorsements are very important and very well received. However, the demise of the news coverage over the years means I will not even pay a few pennies for a subscription for the Sun-Sentinel digital or otherwise. A good example is their daily coverage of the Covid-19 crisis in Florida. The majority of the stories just give us figures on these huge numbers with no context and then a lame, spin quote from the governor. Meanwhile, people are succumbing, hospitals are being overrun, etc. I rely now on the New York Times, CNN and the Washington Post, which are covering the pandemic in Florida with much more journalistic depth than the so-called local Sun-Sentinel. Oh, for the days when you were there, Buddy.

  10. Real Deal says:

    Sorry, but they suck at endorsements. Best to bring them down altogether and allow somebody new to come in and report the news. Broward has no newspaper anymore. The Sun Sentinel sucks.

  11. FLL taxpayer and voter says:

    After the March 2018 election endorsements of Trantalis et al by S-S, I had a digital and Sunday print only subscription. The intro price billed to Amex was wrong/higher from the beginning, and they double billed Amex every month till I finally shut it down 7 months in, never getting credit for any overfilling. When you called the local 954 about your subscription you got a call center in TX. Emails to their contract carrier for Sun print we’re a joke. So now I just have daily print/internet of WSJ. Not cheap, but NOT double billed.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Your criticism of the Sun-Sentinel’s customer service operations (And The Miami Herald) has been echoed by other Browardbeat readers and my friends, some who formally worked at the paper. The problems cited include, like yours: (1) wrong billing, (2) the impossibility to reach anybody correct any problems and (3) getting the run-around when trying to modify or cancel subscriptions.

    These customer service issues predated the virus.

    I suspect that the cutbacks that swept through the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald have infected the customer service operation, leaving them with too resources to handle complaints. It is unfortunate that no matter good the journalism is, poor customer relations can cause even more readers to abandon the papers.

  12. Sober as a Judge says:

    Journalism is ripe for a total reboot, complete reinvention. Why? Because democracy cannot long survive without a trusted, truthful, wide reaching press.

    Sadly, journalism has never been held in greater contempt by Americans than it is today. We don’t feel we’re getting truthful, reliable news anymore. That’s tragic.

    News production is slanted right or left beyond any rational historical comparison. News has become a partisan propaganda machine. Exceptions to that rule don’t change the views of Americans and they pay. So they need to be listened to. It’s not about what they want. News is about what they need. There’s a fiduciary duty which explains why the Constitution grants the press such leeway. Most of that being in a state of abuse today.

    At a time when information is easier to find than ever before, Americans have ironically never been more misinformed on facts as they are today. Journalism is responsible for that horrible fact.

    Inability to agree on basic facts explains why Americans can’t agree on policy.

    This goes far toward explaining the divisions and discords we see eating away at our democracy. While some cringe at the thought, the truth is there is a huge amount of fake news out there. Professional ethics in journalism has become a punchline. News has become so corrupted, so focused on being tools of propaganda, that independence and the line between news and editorial has almost entirely been blured out of existance.

    That comment applies equally to TV and radio, on-line and what’s left of print journalism equally.

    Americans do not trust the news.

    That’s tragic for any democracy. We can’t work that way for long.

    Journalism did this to itself. They gave into corporate and other pressures rather than the cries of true journalists to report the news.

    I have no sympathy for what’s left of “journalism” and look forward to a total collapse of what we need, a refreshing enema for the news style of our day, and a complete reinvention of the profession.

    Deniers of this reality only make things worse and hasten the end of society as we know it. Why? A democracy cannot long last without a trusted, truthful and independent, widely read press. We do not have that in the United States anymore.

    Why in the world would I have any interest, much less trust the politial endorsement of any organization telling me who they think is best to run government, when they can’t even stay in business? Or report news truthfully? You’d have to be a complete rube to fall for such a proposition.

    Let it fall to the groud. Journalism needs a total reboot bottom to top, and top to bottom. The sooner that happens the better off America will be. Therefore, as a good American I root for that collapse. The sooner the better. Journalism needs a total reboot.

    FROM BUDDY:

    The question is what that “reboot” will look like and who will pay for it.

  13. Oh well says:

    A neighbor of a friend in Melrose Community in Fort Lauderdale.
    Buddy you won’t post my comment because you
    and Rosemary O’Hara are the same in thinking.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    As a reader of the Sun Sentinel and someone who tries to be an informed voter, I am appalled by the editorial board’s endorsement of Cohen over Richards. I know neither man and was interested in learning about each, but your article is so biased and slanted… and quite frankly, blatantly racist!

    The first thing you mention about Richards is that he was born in the UK and is black. Only at the very end (which many will not get to) do we learn that he was actually raised in South Florida and a little bit about his educational and judicial background. Where do you mention the race, ethnicity and birthplace of Cohen?

    You also never gave justification for claiming Richards had a “peculiar” campaign style and was running a “stealth campaign.”

    The Sun Sentinel owes Ian Richards and it’s readers an apology, plus a fair article about both candidates qualifications. When I see things like this, it makes me disqualify ANY of your endorsements.

    Please do better. We need unbiased information from our journalists, especially during times like these. I understand that you will make your endorsements, but your first job is to present fair and accurate information to your readers, so that we can make our own informed decisions.

    – Caitlin McAuliffe

    P.S. I am a white independent voter. Not that it matters, but I want you to know it is not only Black people or people of a certain party who are offended by this.

  14. Floridan says:

    Very few people know much about the candidates running for local offices, and fewer yet will take the time to research the candidates’ background on their own.

    The Sun-Sentinel’s methodical examination of the candidates is a valuable (I would say the most valuable) source of information on those running. This is true no only on those individuals the Sun-Sentinel endorses, but the other candidates as well.

    I don’t always agree with the endorsements, but at least I have the opportunity to read the reasons that the choices were made as they were.

  15. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    What does Color or place of birth have to do with Judicial knowledge temperament or anything?

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