Letter to the editor: The case for eliminating letters with candidate endorsements

Elections are coming up in November. Many recent Letters to the Editor have started off with praises for him or for her because of various reasons. While I won’t go into them, suffice it to say that some are based on personal likes/dislikes for the person, smiles received while doorbelling for the candidate, a personal issue to the writer which was favored by the candidate, and other seemingly superfluos and some valid reasons as well.
In my view, these are all political endorsements and do not deserve to be published as a Letter to the Editor. Not to say the writers should not be permitted their views, but that the Edmonds News should not publish them as it does. By so doing, it adds a pseudo-endorsement to the candidate and gives him/her an edge over the opponent if for nothing more than name familiarity. The Edmonds News could create a “personal opinion” column as an option or an “unpaid political endorsement” column or something to that effect.
Better yet, the writers of these endorsements should be asked if they want to pay per line for their article and then the Edmonds News should print after the title “Paid Political Ad”
The Seattle Times does recommend candidates but does it as newspaper editors’ opinions, not as a Letter to the Editor  and the subliminal effect they have on all readers. The Edmonds News should reconsider how it publishes these political endorsements. I’ll be fair–other papers do it too, and it’s becoming rampant. Here’s an article you may wish to read from Editor and Publisher who claims to the the authoritative voice of news publishing.
Respectfully submitted
Dennis Katte

7 Replies to “Letter to the editor: The case for eliminating letters with candidate endorsements”

  1. I agree with Mr. Katte, these various letters to editors are starting to feel like free political advertising. MEN should consider charging per line great idea.


    1. I have to wonder if you and Mr. Katte would be making your comments if the unflattering FACTS were being made against Mr. Tibbott.


  2. I will respectfully disagree with Messieurs Katte and McMurrary The very last thing we want to do is cut off political advocacy and discussion. I do believe that endorsement letters should contain well researched facts and arguments and should be written with the purpose to help Edmonds’ citizens decide their votes. I view these letters less as “advertisements” for candidates and, if well written and backed up by thoughtful argument, more like important discussion for the political process. If one finds one or more of these letters to be not well-written and backed by facts and argument, then skip them.

    By the way, man did my humble letter about doorbelling create some interesting responses. Honestly, it was merely written to thank those of you who opened your doors to me and were so kind and thoughtful. It was written from the heart.

    Ps. What a handsome dog in your profile photo, Mike McMurray.

    Lynne Chelius


  3. Mr. Wambolt, I donated to Neil Tibbott’s campaign and Mr. Nelson’s. I prefer Mr. Nelson if you must know, I don’t think anyone really cares who I prefer. That’s how I see it as a matter of a simple preference not some grand struggle and debate of who should be our next Mayor all or nothing. It’s a 4 year term with checks and balances of power, Edmond’s will survive the change of leadership and thrive I’m sure of it, know matter who is afforded the opportunity to lead Neil or Mike. Both great guys who have sacrificed a lot of time and energy to our community in there public service over the years.

    If someone mailed Mr. Tibbott’s Personal IRS tax information from 2010 by anonymous mail to the Beacon, I can assure you Mr. Wambolt, I would also consider that mudslinging by Nelson supporters for sure and not be supporting letters to the editors glorifying such behavior.

    Other items on your groups Letter seemed like fair game and not out of bounds, but have already been discussed repeatedly and to the point of exhaustion on MEN. I personally find the other topics interesting, but nothing to change my preference. To Mr. Katte’s point if a group of seemingly same individuals are going to keep repeating themselves they should pay for the privilege just my opinion clearly. Just think, If Teresa charged per line on this topic, she could retire just on Mathew Richardson post alone on this topic.

    Thanks Lynne he’s a good wolfy dog!!! I enjoyed your letter by the way speaks volumes when people door knock for there candidates.


    1. My biggest criticism of Neil is that he should have been the one to point out Mike’s conflicts of interest and the run-in he had with the Attorney General’s office. Neil was on the City Council too and could have acted on this (see Ordinance 3689). Mudslinging is “the use of insults and accusations, especially unjust ones, with the aim of damaging the reputation of an opponent.” Throwing Neil’s support for traditional marriage into the discussion is mud-slinging in that marriage equality doesn’t have a lot to do with running a city. Criticism of Mike is almost entirely squared on his conduct (illegal or otherwise) while he was on the City Council. Seeing mud and pointing it out isn’t slinging it. The bits about his wife’s work with the police union and maybe his tax delinquency is a bit of mud-slinging. The former mayors should have stayed on point. Neil could have taken point.

      I’ve done tests on old articles. There was a MEN story 6 months old about drinking straws. I posted to it and 800 new views went to that article in a day. 🙂 Don’t hate.


  4. Why not take responsibility and simply…don’t read the endorsement letters if you don’t like them. Don’t dictate what others should and should not do…take responsibility only for yourself!

    BTW, the Seattle Times has become very censorious on views and letters it doesn’t like! The MEN is a breath of fresh air for all sides on candidates and issues.


  5. Let’s face it, anyone voting for Mike Nelson is going to want to see as little discussion as possible on this matter. Not paying former taxes due and the other former indiscretions of Mike Nelson are better left unpublished for his mayoral efforts. It’s as simple as that.


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