Money, Not Politics, Make SF Gate Drop Leftie Columnist

By: Jesse Oxfed Readers of SF Gate, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, saw their last weekly column Monday from so-called "liberal iconoclast" Harley Sorensen.

"Wead Whacking and Gannon Fodder" was Sorensen's final contribution to the site, for which he has written as a freelance columnist for the past several years.

The move was made for purely financial reasons, SF Gate News Director Vlae Kershner told E&P, noting that Sorensen is one of several columnists being let go. And Sorensen doesn't dispute that characterization. "I'm a freelancer, with no contractual protection," he e-mailed in response to an inquiry from E&P. "Bear in mind that when Hearst bought the Chron a few years ago, it brought along its entire editorial staff from the Examiner. So the Chron is grossly overstaffed. It could use some trimming."

There had been suggestions that Sorensen's termination might have been politically motivated. Recent -- representative -- Sorensen column headlines include "Bush Goes From Alarmist To Pollyanna With Ease," "Lies, Damned Lies And Rice," and "Deserters Are Heroes."

Kershner denied politics played any role. "Mark Morford is still our lead columnist," he said, "and he's as liberal as they get."

"I have no indication that it's anything other than economics," Sorensen agreed. "And, incidentally, if any publisher is interested in a 'liberal with an attitude,' I'm available."


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