September 29, 2016 Last Updated 11:23 am

If you think Gary Johnson had a bad day, imagine how bad it is for The Detroit News

The daily newspaper, which for years was Detroit’s afternoon paper, has today endorsed the Libertarian Party candidate on the same day other news outlets are having fun at the expense of the candidate for his failure to name even one foreign leader during an MSNBC town hall

The Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson certainly can feel bad that his poll numbers did not reach the 15 percent level needed to gain entry into the presidential debates, but after his “what is Aleppo?” moment it would have hard for him to complain. Especially since MSNBC keeps giving him airtime, including his own ‘town hall’ event.

But some people never fail to turn a gold opportunity into disaster. Again yesterday Johnson fumbled the ball.

“Who’s your favorite foreign leader?” host Chris Matthews asked the candidate.

“Who’s my favorite?” Johnson asked back.

“Anywhere in the continents,” Matthews said. “Any country. Name one foreign leader that you look up to.”

“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson said.

“In the whole world!” Matthews said. “Anybody in the world.”

“I know, I know,” Johnson said.

“Pick any leader,” Matthews said.

“The former president of Mexico,” Johnson said.

“Which one?” Matthews said.

“I’m having a brain freeze,” Johnson said.



But as bad a day as it was for Johnson, today must be worse for the editorial board of The Detroit News. You see they chose today of all days to come out with their endorsement of Gary Johnson.

The News, has always been the more conservative Detroit paper compared to the more liberal Free Press, so maybe the choice made sense to the editorial board who did not want to give their nod to Donald Trump. (For years our home received both papers each day, the morning Freep which I used to deliver as a paper boy, and the afternoon News.)

I am quite sure the editors at the Digital First Media-owned daily thought that they were being brave to make the selection, but they were also being incredibly stupid. Not for their choice, but because of the timing.

The MSNBC ‘town hall’ had been scheduled in advance, the network had been promoting it. Why not wait 24 hours so they could use quotes from the event in their endorsement, as well as use his performance to make the point that Johnson was qualified? Instead, they went to press with their endorsement… and today look like fools. Don’t the editors follow the news?

This is certainly an odd cycle for newspaper endorsements, with the reliably Republican Arizona Republic and Cincinnati Enquirer both endorsing Hillary Clinton. One can suppose that traditionally conservative newspapers have been put in a bind this time around. But editorial boards should at least follow the news and react to it. Waiting until after the first debate was a smart by the Republic, for instance.

Had The Detroit News waited until after this town hall they might have rethought things. Now both Clinton and Trump supporters are laughing at the paper, and its leadership, and with good reason.

The Detroit News is in a 100-year joint operating agreement with the Free Press – I imagine the reporters are the Freep are printing up new T-shirts reading “I’m with stupid” right about now.

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