Commentators from across the political spectrum ruthlessly mocked The New York Times editorial board for its reality-TV style endorsement process, which resulted in the endorsements of both Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.
“In a break with convention, the editorial board has chosen to endorse two separate Democratic candidates for president,” the board announced Sunday evening after airing interviews with each candidate on an episode of its FX series The Weekly.
“Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now,” said the board. “If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it. That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.”
The board said Klobuchar has emerged as the “standard-bearer for the Democratic center.”
“Her vision goes beyond the incremental. Given the polarization in Washington and beyond, the best chance to enact many progressive plans could be under a Klobuchar administration,” the board wrote.
Klobuchar told MSNBC Monday that she was “very excited” about the endorsement and “didn’t expect it,” but she was pretty much alone in her excitement.
“If I were going to go all weak-kneed like the New York Times, I’m not sure I would have picked the day devoted to our most clear-eyed moral leader to do it,” said Bill McKibben, a progressive and founder of the environmentalist group 350.org.
If I were going to go all weak-kneed like the @nytimes, I'm not sure I would have picked the day devoted to our most clear-eyed moral leader to do it.
(Always worth remembering that the NYT editorial board slammed MLK when he came out against the Vietnam War)
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) January 20, 2020
A columnist for The Washington Post ran a satirical piece announcing her endorsement of all 12 Democratic candidates.
“Should we be realists? Should we be radicals? Should we be neither radical nor realistic? Yes, yes and yes!” she wrote. “On the one hand, every individual candidate has some flaw. On the other hand, in the aggregate, the candidates are pretty exciting. On a third hand, why limit yourself to two hands?”
An article for The New Republic called the endorsement a “weeklong song-and-dance routine” that ended “in a farce.”
“On Sunday, the editorial page undermined the whole charade – and, really, the whole point of an endorsement – by choosing two, diametrically opposed candidates: Warren and Klobuchar,” said the article. “While nearly everyone else in the world of Democratic politics seems to have made up their mind, the board needs more time to choose between a more radical approach to fixing America’s many ills (represented by Warren) and a more conventional one (Klobuchar).”
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro joked that the editorial board had selected “both the Chiefs and the 49ers to win the Super Bowl.”
BREAKING: The New York Times picks both the Chiefs and the 49ers to win the Super Bowl.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 20, 2020
Ben Dreyfuss, the editorial director for the progressive magazine Mother Jones, said he was considering canceling his subscription because the “reality show endorsement special” was “so profoundly stupid.”
I have never in my life threatened to cancel the NYT because of something dumb they did but this FX reality show endorsement special is so profoundly stupid that I may have to reconsider.
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) January 20, 2020
“NYT: We must reject the worst impulses that come with this reality show presidency. Also NYT: Drama! Suspense! Tune in for our new reality endorsement show,” said Brian Tyler Cohen, former managing editor of Occupy Democrats.
NYT: We must reject the worst impulses that come with this reality show presidency.
Also NYT: Drama! Suspense! Tune in for our new reality endorsement show! https://t.co/KsodXqKVly
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) January 20, 2020
National Review’s Dan McLaughlin compared the endorsement to a two-headed llama.
New York Times editorial board unveiling its endorsement. pic.twitter.com/0tbrix3VmB
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) January 20, 2020
Progressive journalist Sarah Lazare called the endorsement a “love letter to capitalism and war.”
“The reasons they give—their applauds and scolds—reveal so much about the liberal reaction to a resurgent left, a reaction that holds Trump as an aberration and polite, well-mannered centrism as the greatest virtue,” she said.
The NYT endorsement is a love letter to capitalism and war. The reasons they give–their applauds and scolds–reveal so much about the liberal reaction to a resurgent left, a reaction that holds Trump as an aberration and polite, well-mannered centrism as the greatest virtue.
— Sarah Lazare (@sarahlazare) January 20, 2020
In a column for Variety, Daniel D’Addario said the “split decision between Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren makes literal the feeling in the air that the Times’s endorsement directs no one’s vote.”
“In this case, it’d be impossible to vote for the Times’s slate without casting two ballots,” he said. “The value of a Times endorsement, perhaps, redounds solely to the Times, reflecting its vision of itself and how it wants to be seen.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Amy Klobuchar” by Amy Klobuchar and “Elizabeth Warren” is by Gage Skidmore CC2.0.