Know who really dislikes Bernie Sanders? The Providence Journal.
Rhode Island’s statewide newspaper may have buried its contempt in the penultimate paragraph of an editorial endorsing Hillary Clinton, but the disdain for her Democratic presidential rival was there, and the words weren’t minced either.
“Sanders has attracted some voters with pie-in-the-sky promises that would effectively ruin the national economy,” the paper wrote of the socialist Vermont senator, whose bid for the White House suffered a stinging setback with his loss in Tuesday’s New York primary by 15 points.
The ProJo criticized Sanders for his proposed tax hikes and, in the paper’s view, lack of foreign policy chops. In contrast, it called Clinton — the “thoughtful, mature, serious and strong” former secretary of state — “miles above her opponent.”
This isn’t unusual in this year’s newspaper editorial primary, which has heavily favored Clinton over Sanders. Politico, the Washington Times and other outlets have covered this ground, and HillaryClinton.com even published its own post celebrating the front-runner’s success.
Now, with Sanders searching for any signs of strength ahead of next Tuesday’s contests in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, he won’t find them on the major editorial pages of those states.
“He is idealistic,” wrote the Clinton-backing Hartford Courant. “But he is also unrealistic.”
“Even on his core issues, Sanders can be surprisingly short on the prose behind the poetry,” the Philadelphia Inquirer declared in an endorsement titled “In a word, Clinton.”
It’s important to note that editorials may not matter much in presidential campaigns. Voter distrust of media is high, and newspaper boards don’t always have great track records of picking primary winners.
At the same time, recent months served as a reminder that these boards retain some power, at least in driving news coverage and providing fodder for political back-and-forth.
Clinton slammed Sanders over what was widely seen as a disastrous interview with the New York Daily News, in which he seemed short on solutions for the societal problems he decries — including his signature issue of inequality. (“It’s not enough to diagnose problems,” Clinton has taken to saying lately. “You have to explain how you’d actually solve the problems.”)
The Empire State’s primary also saw newspaper boards make news in other ways.
A political reporter with the New York Observer quit his job, citing concerns after his paper endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. The publication’s owner, Ross Barkan, is married to Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, and its editor worked with Trump on his March speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The New York Post turned heads with its own endorsement of Trump, which was remarkably qualified. The paper had an entire list of the business moguls “rookie mistakes”:
No, pulling US troops out of Japan and South Korea — and pushing both countries to go nuclear to defend themselves — is not remotely a good idea. American commitments may need rethinking — but careful rethinking. Yes, controlling the border is one of Washington’s fundamental duties — but “Build the Wall” is far too simplistic a policy for a nation of immigrants. By all means, get the best trade deals for America — but remember that trade means cheaper goods for the less well-off, and challenge US industries to improve. Trump’s language, too, has too often been amateurish, divisive — and downright coarse.
Give this to the Post: the paper was in tune with New York’s GOP voters. Trump won 60 percent of them statewide.