After 208 Years, Medical Journal Gets Political

'New England Journal of Medicine' essentially endorses a candidate for first time ever
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2020 1:47 AM CDT
New England Journal of Medicine : Vote Trump Out
President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The New England Journal of Medicine has been nonpartisan for all of its 208 years—until now. In what the New York Times calls a "blunt" and USA Today calls a "blistering" editorial, the medical journal on Wednesday called for the Trump administration to be voted out in November. While the editorial, signed by 34 editors who are US citizens and one who is not, did not actually reference the president by name nor explicitly endorse Joe Biden, it says the country's current political leaders are "dangerously incompetent" and that "we should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs." The Times, noting there's no other way to interpret the editorial, calls it "essentially an endorsement" for Biden. "Reasonable people will certainly disagree about the many political positions taken by candidates," the editorial states. "But truth is neither liberal nor conservative."

The editorial says that while the US entered the coronavirus pandemic with "enormous advantages," the country has "failed at almost every step" thanks to its leaders. We haven't provided adequate or early testing, personal protective equipment, quarantine and isolation enforcement, or social distancing rules; masks have become politicized and distrust surrounds the vaccine development process; the CDC, NIH, and FDA have been undermined; and much of the leadership has been left to state governors, who lack many of the tools the federal government has at its disposal. "Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences," the editorial concludes. "Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment." (Scientific American also endorsed a candidate for the first time ever.)

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