The talk coming from the Florida Times-Union newsroom is being confirmed by First Coast News: Jacksonville’s daily paper will endorse Donald Trump this weekend.
Sources tell FCN — and have told FloridaPolitics.com independently — the endorsement is a “a top-down directive from Morris [Communications],” the parent company of the Florida Times-Union.
Those who have questioned the Jacksonville paper’s ultimate editorial independence in the past no doubt will do so again.
T-U editor Frank Denton confirmed the endorsement in an email: “Yes, the endorsement will be published Sunday. Will Morris, president of our parent company, will be putting a statement up on Morris.com very soon. Please read that.”
The endorsement is interesting, given that it conflicts with the avowedly centrist leanings of the editorial board on many issues in recent years. And because it conflicts with most of the paper’s reporters, who privately are very skeptical of Trump’s populist appeals. And especially given the conflict the Trump endorsement creates for the paper’s female reporters, many of whom take issue with Trump’s use of language and idioms that many people who live in the 21st century see as sexist.
Those familiar with the endorsement have said it is framed as a rejection of the corruption of the Hillary Clinton campaign, and that the endorsement obscures any faults that Trump may have.
The Florida Times-Union will be the second high-profile major metro paper to endorse Trump.
The first: the Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by Sheldon Adelson, who has poured millions of dollars into the Trump campaign,
In a statement Friday, Morris Communications CEO W.S. Morris IV said Trump endorsements would run in all of the company’s Sunday papers.
“We hold traditional values and have long-held conservative views that we believe have been key components in making this country a world leader,” Morris wrote.
“Many newspapers throughout the country have chosen not to make endorsements this year due to the mercurial candidates,” Morris added, without giving real detail beyond “conservative views” as to why his family’s papers backed Trump over Clinton.