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March 30, 1941: In a classic example of one its attempts to meddle in local politics, The Times publishes a Page 1 editorial about the mayor’s race, sharply criticizing the incumbent, Fletcher Bowron, and advocating a man you most certainly have never heard about: Stephen W. Cunningham. Although this editorial is unsigned it is quite likely the handiwork of Kyle Palmer, The Times political powerbroker and would-be kingmaker who capped his career with an ardent and utterly unsuccessful campaign to put Richard Nixon in the White House in the 1960 election.
Perhaps The Times was embarrassed by Cunningham’s poor showing, because the 1941 election stories reported Bowron leading by 32,000 votes, rather than giving a total or a percentage. It is only in Cunningham’s 1956 obituary that we get the actual numbers. Apparently unable to acknowledge defeat even many years later, The Times said: “"He lost the election by a narrow margin, receiving 149,721 votes to Bowron's 182,172.” That “narrow margin” works out as 54% to 45%.
In a recent interview, I called Palmer “one of the most contemptible people to ever work at The Times.” For a while, I thought this might have been too harsh until I read his coverage of the 1941 mayor’s race.
The lesson in all of this is that The Times' editorials and political endorsements weren't nearly as influential as people believe today. The voters obviously weren't shy about ignoring The Times' candidates.
Few sights are more depressing that a yesterday's screen beauty with 20 years added to her face, Jimmie Fidler says.
Kyle Palmer on the Daily Mirror