He did so after revealing that he disagreed with his paper’s endorsement of Obama.
Rufus Friday Disagrees With Editorial Board
The publisher and president of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader became one of few prominent African Americans to publicly support Mitt Romney for president Sunday when the paper’s editorial board disclosed that Rufus M. Friday disagreed with its endorsement of President Obama.
“. . . He chose not to use his power as publisher to overrule the majority,” the Herald-Leader’s endorsement editorial said of Friday. “His primary reasons for supporting Romney are laid out here:
“President Barack Obama simply has not made good on his biggest promise: to change the culture in Washington. During his presidency, the Capitol remained mired in partisan squabbles while a host of challenges have not been adequately addressed. . . .”
Jim Romenesko wrote Wednesday on his media blog, “Editorial page editor Vanessa Gallman tells Romenesko readers that there are five people on the McClatchy paper’s editorial board and that Friday ‘was the only supporter of Romney and did try to sway others.’
“She writes in an email:
” ‘He did not threaten to veto the edit and did not demand rewrites.
” ‘The publisher, who came up through circulation, was not comfortable writing a dissenting column (which the last publisher once did on a local-government matter) yet he wanted his view reflected inside the endorsement. That seemed much too disconcerting for readers, so we agreed on the separate statement.
” ‘This has generated a lot less community reaction than I expected. A few readers have criticized the publisher for what they see as hubris, a few were thankful to know he is conservative, a few said the rest of the edit board should have followed his lead.’ “
Gallman is one of only five black editorial page editors at mainstream newspapers. The latest tracking poll from the Pew Research Center, taken Sunday, shows Romney with 2 percent of the black non-Hispanic vote.
A message on Friday’s telephone said he would be away from Sunday until Nov. 5.
Chris Sivula, the editorial page editor at Friday’s previous paper, the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., another McClatchy Co. property, said he was not surprised by Friday’s position.
“We endorsed candidate Obama four years ago,” Sivula said by telephone. “The editorial board and Rufus did not see eye to eye. . . . His main concern was that he just didn’t think he was presidential material.” Friday had lived in the Chicago area and was “unimpressed with his performance as a state representative,” Sivula said. The resulting editorial incorporated some of Friday’s concerns. Sivula said Friday considered himself a conservative. Interestingly, the Tri-City Herald on Sunday endorsed Romney.
Friday became publisher of the Lexington paper last year. Before joining the Tri-City Herald, he was at another McClatchy newspaper, the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., “where he served two years as vice president of circulation. Friday spent the previous 11 years, from 1992 to 2003, with Gannett Co., Inc., directing circulation for newspapers in Tennessee, Illinois and Alabama,” according to a news release.
“Friday was born in South Carolina and raised in Gastonia, N.C. He attended North Carolina State University, earning a football scholarship his sophomore year and playing three years as a tight end for the university. He graduated in 1984 with a degree in business management and economics and went to work for The News & Observer’s circulation department, where he spent the next eight years before moving to Gannett.”