Oct 26, 2023 - News

Democrats slam Cleveland.com for Issue 1 non-endorsement

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Due to Ohioans' "strong personal passions" on the abortion issue, the editorial board of Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer chose not to make an endorsement on Issue 1, the statewide abortion rights ballot measure.

Driving the news: Instead, the publication featured a series of personal essays to demonstrate the range of staff opinions.

What they're saying: Leaders of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party penned a scalding open letter condemning the decision.

  • "[It's] appalling, cowardly, and a slap in the face to all who value privacy in healthcare and the right to plan their own families," chair David Brock and vice chair Juanita Brent wrote in the letter.
  • "The decision is nothing short of institutional cowardice."

Between the lines: Editor Chris Quinn has stated repeatedly on the "Today in Ohio" podcast that he believes readers' minds are already made up on abortion.

  • Neither Cleveland.com endorsements nor political ads are likely to sway them, he says.

Yes, but: Last year, Quinn reaffirmed the publication's commitment to endorsements, even as others in the media have abandoned the practice.

  • "We rarely opt not to endorse," he wrote. "Voters must choose, so we feel we would be copping out to say we don't like any of the candidates and won't endorse. We regularly hold our noses and endorse a bad candidate because the alternatives are worse."

Meanwhile, the editorial board voted to support Issue 2, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio; and to oppose local Issue 38, which would dedicate 2% of the city's budget to participatory budgeting.

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