- The largest newspaper in the Pittsburgh region endorsed Republican Rick Saccone over Democrat Conor Lamb in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.
- The newspaper features the region’s traditionally liberal-leaning editorial board.
- Trump promoted the paper’s endorsement.
- Liberals online were furious.
Many Democrats and liberals were outraged after Pittsburgh’s traditionally liberal-leaning newspaper editorial board endorsed Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate backed by President Donald Trump in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.
“This Saccone endorsement concludes my support of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” tweeted Damon Bethea of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, adding the hashtag #PGIsCanceled.
The editorial board of the Post-Gazette, the largest newspaper in the western half of the state, wrote that Saccone was the better choice than Democrat Conor Lamb not only because Saccone has more legislative experience, but because a victory for Lamb could lead to Trump’s impeachment.
“If Mr. Lamb, 33, wins, it could well be the start of a Democratic wave,” the Post-Gazette’s editorial board wrote. “The prospect of a Democratic House may please partisans, but it might be bad for the country. The Democrats in the House have only one agenda item at the moment, and it isn’t health care or jobs. It is impeachment.
“Regardless of whether one likes this president or his policies, one must ask what the consequence for the country will be if we dive into so great a distraction,” it continued.
As The Washington Post noted, neither candidate in the race has discussed the prospect of Trump’s impeachment.
Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, who would become the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Democrats were to regain control of the House, told The Post earlier this year that impeachment would be pursued only if both Democrats and Republicans were on board.
Many were furious with the endorsement, with some threatening to cancel their subscriptions:
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ed page defended Trump when he disparaged “sh*thole” countries, so maybe its opinion’s worth about as much as I paid for it. https://t.co/8yngzSl1EH
— Greg Greene (@ggreeneva) March 12, 2018
Fuck the @PittsburghPG for its shameful endorsement of rick saccone
— [email protected] (@wysilv) March 12, 2018
I just unfollowed @PittsburghPG due to their endorsement of Saccone. Bye. Bye. Gone.
— ChrisTheBarMan (@ChrisTheBarMan) March 12, 2018
@PittsburghPG Is what tRump says true? Have you just endorsed Saccone? You should be ashamed of yourselves. I love Pittsburgh, but you are playing to the darkest angels in its citizenry. Pathetic.
— GratefulJerseyJoe (@jmf3322) March 12, 2018
— Chris Owens (@ChrisOwens08) March 12, 2018
Nevermind that the labor unions actually representing coal and steel endorsed Saccone's opponent, @ConorLambPA. Too little too late, Mr. Trump. And re: the @PittsburghPG wearing its political leanings on the sleeve these days: yuck.
— Martin Spitznagel (@Spitzfire1138) March 12, 2018
.@PittsburghPG No sooner does Block consolidate editorial pages under that winger from Toledo then you endorse Saccone??? Really? You folks were the alternative to the Trib when it was in print, now you are the Trib. Just say goodbye to this lifelong subscriber.
— ???? heysailor! (@heysailor53) March 12, 2018
.@PittsburghPG You've become completely out of touch with your readership if you can endorse Saccone. Deleted your app from my phone. You've lost me and my husband.
— Kathie Hollingshead (@kathie15201) March 12, 2018
— Zainab Javed (@zrjaved) March 12, 2018
— Kara (@KP23114) March 12, 2018
The @PittsburghPG endorses Saccone. Wow! Glad I left the Burgh.
— OLD IVORY (@oldivory) March 12, 2018
@PittsburghPG has reached an all time low by not only endorsing Saccone but just writing an article full of flat out lies & totally disregarding how Republicans are destroying our democracy. Moon Twp display last night was bad enough, this is just embarrassing. SAD!
— ???????? (@Moveonto2020) March 12, 2018
The actual most depressing part of the @PittsburghPG endorsing Saccone (and their tautological "reasoning" behind it) is how unsurprising it is, in that formerly great paper.
— Aaron Tarnow (@atarnow) March 12, 2018
This Saccone endorsement concludes my support of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. #PGIsCanceled
— ???? Damon Bethea ???? Text WIN to 24477 ???? (@damonbethea1) March 12, 2018
@pittsburghPG You just endorsed the poster child of Citizen's United, PACMan Rickey Saccone. If it wasn't for the complimentary Washington Post online subscription I would be canceling you asap.
— Left Winger (@ksk1951) March 12, 2018
It is the paper’s first political endorsement since the editorial pages of the Block family’s newspapers, the Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade, were put under control of one editor.
The publications were among the only major newspapers that did not endorse the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, though the Post-Gazette has long been known as the city’s liberal-leaning publication compared with the more conservative-leaning Tribune-Review.
In 2016, both the Blade and the Post-Gazette ran an editorial aimed at helping voters choose between Clinton and Trump without endorsing either, though there were rumours that the Post-Gazette was considering selecting Trump.
Earlier this year, both publications ran an editorial defending the president from criticism over his statement about nations he was quoted as describing as “shithole countries,” again sparking backlash.
“There are nations that are hellholes in this world,” the editorial read. “And there are failed states. It is not racist to say that this country cannot take only the worst people from the worst places and that we want some of the best people from the best places, many of which are inhabited by people of colour. That’s not racism, it is reason.”
The papers’ publisher, John Robinson Block, met and was photographed with Trump in 2016 aboard Trump’s private plane after a campaign rally in Toledo.
“In 39 years of full time journalism I’ve met many interesting people,” Block, who had also been photographed with Clinton,wrote on Facebook. “This one was more than memorable.”
On Monday, Trump promoted the Post-Gazette’s endorsement of Saccone, whom he campaigned for in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
“The Pittsburgh Post Gazette just endorsed Rick Saccone for Congress,” Trump tweeted. “He will be much better for steel and business. Very strong on experience and what our Country needs. Lamb will always vote for Pelosi and Dems….Will raise taxes, weak on Crime and Border.”
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