The country's second-largest newspaper publisher will no longer endorse major political candidates, The New York Times reported.
The newspaper chain owned by Hedge fund Alden Global Capital (AGC), in an editorial scheduled to run in company newspapers as early as Friday, will announce it will stop endorsing candidates in presidential, U.S. Senate, and gubernatorial elections, the Times said.
Three AGC newspapers — The Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, and The Denver Post — will be allowed to publish endorsements this year because of how far along in the process they are, the Times reported.
AGC newspapers still will be able to endorse candidates for local offices.
"Unfortunately, as the public discourse has become increasingly acrimonious, common ground has become a no man's land between the clashing forces of the culture wars," the expected editorial reads, the Times reported.
"At the same time, with misinformation and disinformation on the rise, readers are often confused, especially online, about the differences between news stories, opinion pieces and editorials."
The AGC editorial says the company's newspapers will continue to cover political races but would "no longer endorse in presidential races or the increasingly nationalized contests for governor and senate."
"We want to make sure our opinion pages advance a healthy and productive public discourse," the editorial read, the Times reported.
"With that in mind, we will focus our efforts on more local contests, such as city councils, school boards, local initiatives, referendums and other such matters, which readers have told us continue to be of great value in their daily lives."
Coincidentally, Axios reported the New York Daily News will shift its coverage to focus on more local content about issues impacting the Big Apple.
AGC owns about 200 U.S. newspapers. Only Gannett operates more newspapers in the country.
Other newspapers in recent years have opted to forgo the tradition of endorsing candidates.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia said 2018 would be its last year to do. McClatchy, another large newspaper chain, said two years ago that its papers would not announce an endorsement unless both major candidates in a race had been interviewed.
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