In the weeks leading up to this Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary in Michigan, Mitt Romney has struggled to defend his 2008 editorial in the New York Times that argued against a government rescue of the US auto industry that the state is so dependent on.
And even while several newspaper editorial staffs have offered endorsements of Romney, many of them have included paragraphs criticizing Romney for his position on the successful Detroit rescue.
Or have they? The Romney campaign is facing a fresh round of criticism for selectively editing out paragraphs that hit Romney for his position on the bailout, as well as his job performance at Bain Capital and involvement in the Massachusetts health care bill. In endorsements from the Detroit News and Grand Rapids Press circulated to reporters covering the campaign and published on his campaign website, any mentions of Romney’s political liabilities have been removed. Here’s one paragraph from the Detroit News editorial that was omitted by the Romney campaign:
At least one editor is not happy about the move. Media critic Jim Romenesko reported that Nolan Finey, the editorial page editor at the Detroit News, was planning on calling the campaign to make his displeasure known. “They should have run the complete, original version,” Finey told Romenesko.
The Romney campaign has defended the decision by claiming that publishing the full editorial would violate copyright law. But it didn’t take long for a commenter on Romenesko’s site to point out that the campaign’s use of the editorial would qualify as fair use, and thus not be subject to any required editing. Not to mention the fact that the Detroit News was asking for the campaign to republish their editorial, as is common when any newspaper endorses any candidate.