With a few days to go before Election Day in 2010, State Senator Eric Schneiderman was locked in a tight Democratic primary for attorney general. So his campaign released a television ad as rudimentary as any broadcast that political season, featuring a number of prominent politicians—City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, West Side Congressman Jerry Nadler, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer—carrying a folded copy of The New York Times, while reading from its endorsement of his candidacy. The paper’s masthead floated at the bottom of the screen.
That campaign, like most Democratic primaries in New York City and State, had been staked on getting the paper’s backing, and a few days after he got it, Mr. Schneiderman eked out a 2-point victory over Nassau County district attorney Kathleen Rice, even though Ms. Rice was tacitly backed by Andrew Cuomo and much of the Democratic Party establishment.
“Eric Schneiderman became the attorney general because of that endorsement. Period,” said one political operative involved in the campaign. Continue reading “The Editorial Plea: How The New York Times Decides Who Wins and Loses Local Elections”