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The San Diego Union-Tribune Backs Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on national security in San Diego, June 2, 2016.
Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on national security in San Diego, June 2, 2016.

The San Diego Union-Tribune Backs Clinton
The San Diego Union-Tribune Backs Clinton GUEST: Matthew T. Hall, editorial and opinion director, San Diego Union-Tribune

It's become an international story. The major reaction is happening right here at home. The San Diego Union-Tribune endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president is the first time the paper is given a nod to a presidential candidate in at 48 year history. The paper says they have a scathing criticism of Donald Trump and they say he cannot our nation off course. Joining me is Matt Hall of the San Diego Union-Tribune . Welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Why did you decide to place your endorsement at this time in the race? We wanted to have it out before early October. Before people get their ballots in the mail. We look at the calendar and next Sunday is the second presidential debate and we wanted to get it out before then. The Arizona Republic has endorsed Clinton and they have gotten a lot of attention. It is both national and international isn't that right? Yes. I did speak last night with BBC radio so people are following this around the globe. That was the thrust of our editorial. We could have written that editorial many ways. And we mentioned the faults of Clinton and the fact that people are angry over her private e-mail server and the income she has received from Wall Street speeches. But, Trump's impact on the world would really set America back. You mentioned that we wrote that he would not the country off course potentially and that is true. We have written an editorial that we call his foreign-policy arson. We have been doing that for a long long time in the California primary we told GOP voters to write in Ronald Reagan. That is up pretty clear signal that we value the GOP message and that from -- Donald Trump is not a good candidate in our opinion. I was on social media all we can interacting with people and there were a lot of critics. Some people asked how we could do this and then there were a lot of people that said way to go. They understood that we were taking a position of country over party. And our position is that this is a race between two historically disliked candidates. But when you compare the two in terms of temperament and experience and background, Trump is wanting. I just check the numbers before this interview. We have received 64 requests for cancellation, actual stops because of Donald Trump. So that is an issue for us. We don't want to minimize this. We did not go into this thinking that was part of the calculus. But clearly, we value our readers and we have over hundred 50,000 subscribers. We want people to keep reading the Midday Edition -- San Diego Union-Tribune and come to us for editorials. We will take hard positions but in this case this was less about partisan politics for us and more about looking at Donald Trump and the impact that he would have on the world. You have a five-member editorial board was everybody in agreement on this? Yes. Reached consensus on this. I do want to point out, a criticism we are getting is that we are own I the LA times and they are a liberal editorial board and of course we would come to this decision. Just to let people know, there was no influence by anyone other than the editorial board. We have been discussing this for months. Our deliberations picked up speed in the last few weeks. And also they technically do not own us. We are owned by trunk who owns nine newspapers and different editorial boards. We were not influenced by our owners in any way. The general consensus is that newspaper editorials don't mean that much to the race these days. What you think it was still important to make this editorial? I disagree that newspaper endorsements are not important. I think one of the regions that this is catching more attention than it might have otherwise received is because of the unusual nature. This is the first time since 1868 when the San Diego Union-Tribune was founded that we have endorsed a Democrat for president. Clearly, the unusual nature of that in other papers like the Arizona Republic and the Dallas news which for decades have not endorse a Democrat, that, the fact that it happened in several newspapers now is something that is newsworthy. But to say that endorsements do not make a difference, people are talking about this. People are arguing about it and complaining about it and praising it. The fact that conversation is taking place, I think that that shows you the purpose of the newspaper editorial board taking a stand extract I've been speaking with Matt Hall with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Thank you very much. I appreciate it .

The San Diego Union-Tribune has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and the editorial is making international news. That's because this is the first time the paper has backed a Democrat for president in its 148-year history.

The endorsement, released online Friday, came the same week The Arizona Republic endorsed Clinton, its first Democratic presidential endorsement. USA Today, which historically has not endorsed any presidential candidates, asked readers to vote for anyone but Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The Union-Tribune editorial board wrote that Trump was "vengeful, dishonest and and impulsive."

Now consider President Hillary Clinton. We understand the lack of enthusiasm for her candidacy, the anger over her private email server, family foundation and income from Wall Street speeches, and the questions about how America fared in foreign affairs when she was secretary of state. But despite Trump’s insistence otherwise, she has the better temperament to be president — and the experience, background and relationships with world leaders that we need in a president.

The Union-Tribune editorial and opinion director Matthew T. Hall said the board didn't really consider a non-endorsement, similar to the one they issued in June when they urged primary voters to write in former President Ronald Reagan to avoid casting a ballot for Trump.

"We have a responsibility to not punt," Hall said. "The primary was almost a tougher decision because we had vilified Trump and he was the only one left in the race. We were telling them to stand up for Republican ideals."

Hall joins KPBS Midday Edition on Monday to discuss why the paper decided to release its endorsement now and how local readers have reacted.