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‘Liberal media’ sides with GOP … again

The local “liberal media” at the News Leader is at it again, this time giving column space to local Republican legislators Chris Saxman, Ben Cline and Steve Landes to defend themselves from the controversy over their nonsensical party-line vote blocking the receipt of federal stimulus money to expand unemployment benefits for the tens of thousands of Virginians thrown out of work by the economic calamity we’re in now.

The move has met with criticism from local Democrats upset about the prime space being given to the legislators exclusively given the fact that they are all up for re-election this year, and now there is fuel to be added to that fire. Word has gotten to me this morning from the campaign of Erik Curren, who is challenging Saxman for re-election in the 20th District, that an op-ed from Curren on the subject that ran in today’s Leader had to be cut by about 400 words to be run as a letter to the editor.

The fact that it was run as a letter is an issue in and of itself. The notation on the Leader website for the Saxman, Cline and Landes pieces was that they were from “Columnists.” The Curren piece carried the label “Letters.” Words mean something, and the relationships between a paper and its “Columnists” comes across as being very different to me as someone working in the news business than its relationships with people writing “Letters.”

Back to the word-cut issue now. So I copied and pasted the Curren letter from the Leader website into Microsoft Word to get a word count. The letter came out to 386 words in that measurement. I then did the same with the Saxman column – copying and pasting its contents into Word and getting a word count of 638 words.

So then not only was Curren treated as a second-class citizen by being given space in the “Letters” section, he was also given about 60 percent of the space to make his case as the Republican incumbent.

We’re working to get the op-ed from Curren to run in its entirety on the AFP.


– Story by Chris Graham