Editor Regrets Speaking to Conservative Group

Editor Regrets Speaking to Conservative Group

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The editor of the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City said he regrets speaking at a private gathering of conservatives.

Joe Cannon, former chairman of the Utah Republican Party, said he apologized to his editors during a daily news meeting Thursday.

"It reinforced what some people think about me," said Cannon, 58, referring to the perception that he would bring a partisan agenda to the newspaper, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I'm sorry it all happened," he said. "I'm learning. I hope I don't make the mistake again."

The Deseret Morning News' local competitor, The Salt Lake Tribune, criticized Cannon in an Oct. 3 editorial for attending a forum that was off-limits to reporters.

"Perhaps Joe Cannon needs to decide whether to be a journalist or the back-room political operative he once was, for he can't credibly be both," the Tribune said.

Cannon, a former lobbyist, is the brother of U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, and had no newspaper experience before becoming editor in January.

He said he spoke about America's economic history during a Sept. 29 gathering of the Council for National Policy, a group of conservative political leaders and financiers.

Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke a day earlier. Their speeches were closed to news media.

"It was a boring talk, only 10 minutes," Cannon said of his address.

He said he was invited by the group's president, Becky Norton Dunlop. Cannon said he had hoped to interview Czech President Vaclav Klaus but missed him.

"The decision to go to it had nothing to do with the conservative nature of it," he said. "But I understand completely. People think, 'Joe is a Republican, Joe is a conservative.' By the way, I'm not a Republican anymore."

He said he is no longer registered as a GOP voter.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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