Thursday, October 16, 2008

Napa paper picketed over McCain endorsement

More than 100 Democrats marched to the Napa Valley Register building Monday night with picket signs and chants of "Change your minds! Change your minds!" a day after the newspaper endorsed John McCain, according to a report in the Register.

“They have the freedom to endorse whomever they wish, but we’re out to show our support for Barack Obama,” said Marita Dorenbecher, Democrats of Napa Valley publicity chair.

"We feel that the Register is not accurately representing the voters in the county of Napa,” the Register quoted Dorenbecher as saying.

According to the Registrar of Voters, 47.5 percent of Napa County voters are registered as Democrats, and Republicans make up 29 percent of registered Napa County voters.

The Register, which is owned by Lee Enterprises, has a six-member editorial board, but only five names appeared under the McCain editorial. Demonstrators accused Publisher Brenda Speth of overriding a decision by the majority of editorial board members.

Speth, in an interview with Register reporter Jillian Jones, said the board followed “the same process we do for every editorial board,” which is to hold a discussion and a poll on a number of issues. The final opinion in the editorial, she said, often does not reflect a consensus among board members.

“At the end of the day, the publisher’s role is to make a final decision if there is not a consensus,” Speth said. “I made the final decision, and I stand behind the process, and I welcome the conversation to continue on the Editorial page and on our Web site."

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