Get off it, Stanley

To The Editor:

Stanley P. Gershbein quotes Vladimir Lenin, “A lie told often enough becomes truth,” in his “It's Only My Opinion” column of 3/14.

Earlier in his column, he writes: “While most of this nation's newspapers lean to the left…” What? Does Gershbein live in New York City? The Daily News? The New York Post? The New York Sun? These are left leaning?

With the exception of Juan Gonzalez in the News, these papers have very few, if any, liberals on their staffs?

I guess Gershbein is talking about The New York Times. David Brooks? Tom Friedman? William Kristol? These writers are far from liberal.

Anyone who has attended an anti-war demonstration, even the massive events in Washington, D.C., know that the Times rarely projects an honest description of the size, the issues, the excitement or the effect of such a demonstration.

Remember the article that was written some years ago before the demonstration occurred in DC? The Times reported how it was a total failure and had to write a “do-over” during the following week, reporting how large and exciting it was. They were embarrassed.

And labor issues? Anyone who has been apart of a strike against an employer, especially the city, knows that the Times does not give an honest portrayal of the issues or why workers would strike.

Mr. Gershbein joins other right-wing journalists, such as Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly in attempting to make truth of this big lie.

Lew Friedman

Park Slope

Stanley Gershbein responds:

Dear Mr. Friedman,

I said it then and I'll say it again. Most of this nation's newspapers lean to the left. In early 2005 the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy asked 300 journalists, nationwide – 120 from TV and 180 from newspapers – who they voted for in the 2004 presidential election; 52 percent disclosed that they voted for John Kerry compared to 19 percent for incumbent Republican President George W. Bush. The bias shows up in their work.

Shortly after that, the people over at UCLA divulged the results of their research. Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center. Only Fox News' “Special Report with Brit Hume” and the Washington Times stood to the right of the average US voter.

In the words of pitchman Sid Stone, “Ya say you're not satisfied? Ya say you want more for your money?”

Okay, Mr. Friedman. I'll give you one more. In the latter part of 2007, a joint investigation by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy – “hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy” – found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans. The most flagrant favoritism was found in newspapers. “Obama's front page coverage was 70 percent positive and 9 percent negative, and Clinton's was similarly 61 percent positive and 13 percent negative.”

The report went on to say that when writing stories about Republicans, the tone was positive in only about 25 percent of the stories and negative in 40 percent.

As for placing my name in the company of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly I can only say, “Thank you.:

I've been sitting at this desk doing my thing for nineteen and a half years and I cannot recall ever receiving such a wonderful compliment. I thank you again and again and again.

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