According to the first sentence, newspaper editorials have shrunk into "vestigial artifacts" of a "bygone" era. This hints at the idea that they aren't relevant any more. So, when the author begins by saying that even before newspaper editorials were relegated to this state, their impact was __________, the word that fits the first blank is likely to be negative—self-limiting, or negligible. So, we narrow down the choices to C and D. Now, the second sentence says that editorial boards have long tended to have "durable leanings", as in, they tend to take firm positions/sides and stick to these. What does this do to their persuasive powers over partisan politics? If the stance of the editorial board is predictable, then their ability to persuade the reader to change his/her mind is reduced, not boosted. Also, keeping in mind that the author is generally being negative about the influence/reach of newspaper editorials, the word 'undermine' is the one that fits this blank best. Correct Answer: C
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