Sunday, November 30, 2008

A New Day?

After nearly a year of sniping at Alderman Lioneld Jordan and parroting every criticism thrown off by the Coody campaign, the Northwest Arkansas Times offered up an olive branch today. In an editorial entitled, "A New Day," the subhead was "Mayor-Elect Lioneld Jordan deserves every citizen's support." The editors said, "It may not mean much coming from a newspaper that editorially endorsed his opponent[s], but Jordan deserves a hearty congratulations, and we offer it here." Even editorial cartoonist Dusty Higgins portrayed Jordan more in the image of Honest Abe than as the hayseed "hick" caricature regularly depicted during the campaign.

After a couple of paragraphs explaining away their support first for Steve Clark and then for Dan Coody, the editors admitted, "the ideas advanced by the victor in this race didn’t differ that strongly from the current administration; he pledged to pursue similar goals while stressing his promise to 'listen to the people' and offer 'experience you can trust.' The message was clearly one that the voters heard, and agreed with. And Lioneld Jordan will become mayor in January because he delivered it convincingly."

"And now, the election is over. The decision is made. And the next four years are about what Fayetteville’s citizens and leaders can achieve together regardless of which candidate one supported in the election. Mayor-elect Jordan believes in Fayetteville as much as anyone we’ve met, and his motivation — pursuing the city’s best possible future — never came into question once during the campaign. Come January, he’ll get busy charting the course to get to that goal."

It is good to see the Times get beyond their past editorial cheerleading for Dan Coody and admit that Alderman Jordan is a better man than they would stoop to acknowledge during the campaign. Let us hope that in the future the news and editorial staff will find the appropriate balance in their approach to coverage and commentary of city politics. They can cover the good things that might be advanced by Mayor Jordan, but they should not be as fawning over Jordan as they were for the Coody administration. Instead, they should play the role of the honest watchdog and serve as a check against folly at city hall.

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