The Globe’s man-bites-dog endorsement for auditor

By Michael Jonas

Last week, my colleague Bruce Mohl wrote about the ins and outs of the candidate endorsement process at Boston’s two daily papers.  The Boston Herald, which leans reliably right, followed the script last Wednesday and weighed in by endorsing Republican Charlie Baker.  That the left-leaning Boston Globe will, in the coming days, endorse Democrat Deval Patrick is simply not in doubt.

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

That’s what makes today’s Globe endorsement of Mary Connaughton for state auditor such a coup for the Republican nominee – and so devastating for Democratic nominee Suzanne Bump.  This is the Globe’s man-bites-dog move for this election cycle, the endorsement in which the paper asserts its independence and declares “not so fast” to those who assume it will offer knee-jerk support to every Democrat running in a contested race.  As such, this could be the endorsement that actually has the potential to tip a tight race.

Newspaper endorsements may not carry the weight they once did, but this is exactly the kind of nod that could make a big difference.  It is the Good Housekeeping seal of approval from the state’s liberal opinion leader that it’s okay to crossover and support a Republican in a statewide race many voters have not followed – who is vying for a seat that, in the words of Michael Dukakis, really is about competence, not ideology.

The betting in the CommonWealth newsroom had been that this was the race most likely to see a GOP endorsement from the newspaper Herald columnist Michael Graham calls the “Globe-Democrat.”  But that makes it no less significant.  Diehard Democrats are not likely to be persuaded by the Globe move. But for a chunk of Democratically-inclined voters, today’s endorsement may be just the nudge they need to make their own dog-bites-man move when marking their ballot.