A beyond overwhelming 96 percent of the staff of Slate.com, the online news magazine site owned by the Washington Post, plan to vote for Barack Obama. A Tuesday posting, “Slate Votes: Obama wins this magazine in a rout,” reported 55 staff members plan to cast their ballot for Obama, a mere one person will vote for John McCain, the same number (one) who support libertarian Bob Barr. Another staffer replied: “Not McCain.” It's hard to imagine such left-wing uniformity isn't matched at many other media outlets. In a Wednesday posting, Slate Editor-at-Large Jack Shafer (the Barr backer) quipped: “I doubt that Obama will garner 96 percent even in his home precinct of Hyde Park.”
This year's annual staff survey matches the last two presidential contests when nearly every editor and reporter voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 (2004 MRC CyberAlert item). Slate.com headlined an October 26, 2004 article: “At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!” In 2000, 12 of the 13 in the top editorial positions voted for Gore, with the 13th going not for Bush but the libertarian. In all three years, the Democrat earned the vote of Slate's chief editor, Jacob Weisberg, a former Newsweek reporter.
Some of the explanations top Slate reporters and editors gave for choosing Obama:
Emily Bazelon, Senior Editor: Obama
I am voting for Barack Obama because I agree with his tax policy, and I like his health and energy plans fine. I think he'll help restore our bruised image abroad. And I know he is about 1,000 times more likely than John McCain to choose Supreme Court justices who will resist rather than further the push to the right by Bush's picks, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito...
Daniel Engber, Associate Editor: Obama
I could spin some story about the relative merits of John McCain and Barack Obama, but let's be honest: I would have voted for any Democrat who competed in the primaries over any Republican who might have been nominated. Why? Because I side with the Democrats on the things that matter most right now: foreign policy, economic policy, and health care. Those issues on which I'm most likely to diverge from the party line -- e.g., the environment, the death penalty -- don't seem nearly as important.
Juliet Lapidos, Assistant Editor: Obama
I'm a big-government liberal who wants universal health care and a sustainable energy policy. So, naturally, I'm backing the Democratic ticket. I don't dislike John McCain, but ever since he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, I've questioned his judgment. He's old, and she's not qualified. While I'm not smitten with Barack Obama, I'm confident he won't damage our standing in the world and think he might even improve it.
Jacob Weisberg, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, The Slate Group: Obama
No surprise here: I'm voting Obama. I've been following his career since he was in the Illinois Senate and rooting for him to run for president since the spring of 2006, when I read his first book and interviewed him for a magazine story. I came away from that encounter deeply impressed by Obama's thoughtfulness, his sensitivity to language, and his unusual degree of self-knowledge. This guy is the antidote to the past eight years. He's wise where Bush is foolish, calm where Bush is rash, deep where Bush is shallow. My admiration for him has grown steadily over the past 22 months. Unlike McCain, Obama hasn't allowed running from president to distort his beliefs or his character. His campaign has been true to what he thinks and who he is as a person.