ENDORSEMENTS: Ideas over candidates

As an editorial page, North Statement is committed first to elevating the conversation by promoting the free expression of ideas. From an ideological perspective, this editorial team is unwavering in our commitment to free markets and policies that benefit the people of our state. It’s important to us that citizens are given space from government that allows for their flourishing. It’s undeniable too that the market economy has lifted billions out of poverty and remains one of the greatest forces for a better life. At the same time, we are committed to publishing a diversity of opinion that reflects the different backgrounds and perspectives across North Carolina.Most newspapers have long been in the political endorsement business. The New York Times has been endorsing presidential candidates since 1860. The vast majority of newspapers across the nation with editorial endorsements have decided to back one candidate for president this year. Then again, The Wall Street Journal has a tradition of not endorsing.One reason we are not endorsing candidates is because we are a new newspaper and we know we are still gaining the trust of our readership. While we may make the case for individual candidates in the future, our focus is to better equip readers to make their own decisions about policy and the political sphere. It’s never the role of the news media to cheerlead for a political candidate.One of the problems with large segments of the media — and it happened long before this election — is that the press has lost the trust of many Americans. The fourth estate is a critical check against corruption and injustice. Society and the Republic suffer when that role is not seriously exercised or, perhaps worse, unevenly applied.As Ray Nothstine noted in May: “The biggest winners of an unprofessional and entertainment-focused media culture are certainly not the amused consumers, but the politicians and others who are all too comfortable and at ease under the corrupting forces of power and influence.”Undoubtedly, all candidates deserve proper media vetting and a thorough investigation into their past that examines their temperament and qualification to serve the public. We have endeavored to provide commentary and context to aid our readers in making voting decisions. But that does not necesisarily culminate in an endorsement. (And we must note that we took this position before the first edition of the North State Journal was even printed; it should not be read as a reflection of the presence of any one candidate on the ballot.)By not endorsing, it is also a reminder that there are more important spheres than politics. The late New York Democrat, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once observed, “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society.” There is a lot of truth within that statement.It’s virtually impossible to have healthy politics without a healthy culture that produces strong institutions and coherent ideas. While elections have consequences, ultimately it’s the strength of the citizenry that determines the long-term health of the Republic.We value readers’ feedback and deeply appreciate that you have given us an opportunity to be a medium that can earn your trust. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we will continue to hold public officials accountable in a way that values results over intentions and recognizes the responsibilities of a free press in a democratic society.