In one of the United States’ most conservative states, Oklahoma, a local paper endorsed Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.
The Enid News and Eagle gave its endorsement to Hillary Clinton and now is frustrated to find that such an action elicited consequences.
The New York Times, a major detractor of President-elect Donald Trump, wrote an article about the town’s reaction almost as laughable as the thought that The Enid News and Eagle could write such an unpopular piece and expect no consequences.
According to The Times, the paper lost 162 subscribers, and they only had 10,000 to begin with.
Although that doesn’t sound like a great deal, keep in mind that newspapers have been battling declining readership for better than a decade with the advent of internet news sources. Losing 1.5 percent of your readership over a single op-ed likely means losing a client base that will not be returning.
Far more damaging than the loss of a portion of their readership was a loss of major revenue. Seven advertisers withdrew their ads with the paper, one of which was a funeral home with a “sizable account.”
Bill Ketter, the senior vice president of news for the paper’s corporate parent, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., said the endorsement “was our decision at the corporate level, which of course was made known to all of our papers, that Donald Trump did not meet our company and journalism values, particularly as they related to the First Amendment.”
Freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from consequence, and Community Newspaper Holdings should have known better.
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