- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Florida daily newspaper is apologizing to readers for not being objective enough in its coverage of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The Daily Commercial, which serves Lake and Sumter counties, recently issued a “mea culpa” admitting that it hadn’t taken a balanced-enough approach to the 2016 presidential election.

“Because we have limited space and resources, smaller papers are generally limited to covering the horse race — the day in-day out happenings on the campaign trail,” the paper explained in an open letter.

“Trump, who has been a big personality since he burst onto the scene as a major New York developer in the 1980s, could never seem to stay focused on his message — immigration, American jobs, international relations,” it continued. “He instead has devoted so much of his air time to saying outlandish things and picking fights with anyone, even his own party, who disagreed with him. He has demonized Republicans and the media, and then he wonders aloud why so many people and institutions have turned their backs on him.

“In short, he has been his own worst enemy by creating daily controversies with his words and actions instead of dominating the news cycle with the message that got him this far,” the paper said. “Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has been bland on the campaign trail, not giving the media anything to latch onto.”

The Daily Commercial said the media have undoubtedly been biased toward Mr. Trump, and that bias had trickled down to their paper.

“Trump’s every utterance, no matter how innocuous, is now parsed, analyzed and criticized by a litany of political pundits,” the letter continued. “The wire services that the Daily Commercial subscribes to churn out stories almost daily that fact check Trump, which is warranted given his penchant for exaggeration and duplicity. Yet those same services turn out so few stories that fact check Clinton, who also has a strained relationship with the truth.

“And while hundreds of stories have attempted to shed light on Trump’s feelings about women, minorities, his business dealings, his taxes and more, so little has been written about some of Clinton’s questionable decisions as secretary of state, her emails and the fact that she and Bill have somehow amassed incredible wealth during their political careers. That certainly deserves scrutiny,” it said.

The paper admitted that it hadn’t done “enough to mitigate the anti-Trump wave in the pages of this paper.”

“To be clear, this is not an endorsement of Trump, a candidate whose brutish, sometimes childish antics are responsible for his sizable deficit in the polls. Rather, it is a recognition that you, the voter, deserve better than we in the media have given you,” the letter said. “You deserve a more balanced approach to the coverage of elections and other weighty issues.”

Comments on the letter were largely negative, particularly from Mr. Trump’s supporters. Some commenters said the explanation was too little, too late, while others vowed to boycott the publication.

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