In praise of candidate endorsements

Why do newspapers endorse political candidates? At best, it’s an archaic practice, a little quaint, a little bizarre. Other media don’t do it. TV and radio news never have, in part because their roots are in over-the-air broadcasting, whose regulatory overlords traditionally frowned on opinion-mongering.  Magazines—apart from partisan sheets whose politics are integral to their […]

Electoral debates offer a rare moment of transparency

I like the campaign debates. I watched most of the Republican primary matchups, even after they got repetitive, and I find the current flight of televised faceoffs riveting. Yes, I realize the candidates are drilled relentlessly to suppress whatever capacity they retain for spontaneity and to make sure candor yields to calculation. But I figure […]

The dubious value of primary debates

Televised candidate debates have become the marquee spectacles of presidential campaigns. By the time Republicans vote in the Florida primary, candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination will have debated 19 times since May. That’s 30-some hours of live national TV, plus untold hours of recap, recrimination, chatter and miscellaneous noise churned up by the events. […]