By Roger Stone

Susan Goldberg, Editor Ohio Plain Dealer
Cleveland Plain Dealer's Editor, Susan Goldberg claims to be an objective and principled journalist but her actions during Ohio's recent campaign over casino gaming demonstrate that she is neither. On October 25th, Goldberg chose to run a poll by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati regarding Issue 3 - proposed casino gambling for Ohio on page one of the newspaper. That the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati who conducted the poll had recently been paid by casino proponents and were thus a biased and non-credible source of information, didn't seem to matter to Goldberg, a former Detroiter, who lobbied vociferously inside the Plain Dealer to endorse the casino plan put forward by her long-time Detroit friend, Dan Gilbert, part owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert is a nouveau riche loud-mouth who was arrested for running an illegal bookmaking operation in Michigan for which he was fined, did community service and served three years probation. Gilbert has repeatedly lied about the details and severity of his violation of the Michigan State gambling laws and went so far as to attack the retired 74 year old former head of the Organized Crime Division of the Michigan State Police who confirmed the details and circumstances of Gilbert's arrest and conviction. More troubling though is the seriously flawed poll Goldberg chose to put on page one with a KENNEDY ASSASSINATED sized headline above the fold saying "57% say they support casino issue." A closer look demonstrates that no Republican, Democrat or academic survey researcher would defend the invalid methodology used in the Institute for Policy Research poll. The poll that Goldberg put on page one of the Ohio Plain Dealer had 808 residents interviewed with 687 'saying' they were registered to vote. Professional pollsters draw their sample from actual voter lists and never rely on random digit dialing to draw a sample from people who 'say' they are registered. Of course, saying you are registered is not the same as being an actual, real registered voter. When asked in the questionable poll if they "will definitely vote," 440 respondents said they would do so on Issue 3 - casino gambling. Among those likely voters, it was a narrower race of 55-41% on Issue 3; a fact not reported by the Plain Dealer because it would have indicated that the race was closer than expected. In an Internal Memo to the Plain Dealer obtained by the STONEzone, the UC researchers warned in big bold letters: "It is important to note that this Poll cannot be used to project the final Election Day vote result on this issue." Somehow the Plain Dealer omitted this important fact from their reportage of the poll. The memo went on to note that some in this sample will vote while others would decide "not to vote." These warnings reflect honesty that without proper screens on likely voters in this type off-year election, that any headlines of "57-39%" lead for one side are misleading and not realistic. Goldberg failed to inform her readers of the caveat expressed in the pollster's memo. It is interesting to note that in the October 25th Columbus Dispatch on page one, they also reported the results of the UC poll but had a smaller headline at the top of the page saying "the latest survey shows that Issue 3 has a comfortable lead." But, the Dispatch editors wisely had a large, large headline questioning, "WILL IT STAND?" accurately reflecting the volatility of the political atmosphere. The UC poll was done October 14-20. No legitimate pollster would take a poll over so many days at the same time campaigns for and against issues were advertising heavily on television and radio. Public attitudes changed during that six day period rendering the published results outdated and inaccurate as the actual final results prove. Sadly, a closer examination of the UC/Plain Dealer poll, demonstrates other significant flaws. The poll over-sampled the number of voters between 18-25 while it under-sampled the number of voters over 55. The poll also said 42.2% said they were Democrats and 48.2% said they were Republicans while only 9.5% were Independent. No poll in the history of Ohio has shown 90.4% of voter's identifying with a major party and those claiming Independent status less than 10%. This is a red flag that indicates how deeply flawed the "poll" that Goldberg chose to put on the front page of the City's dominant newspaper only days before the election. The ultimate proof that the Plain Dealer chose to publish a flawed and inaccurate poll on the eve of the election with the intention of swaying the result is the actual outcome of the election itself. Instead of the 57% splashed across the Plain Dealer's front page, Issue 3 squeaked by with 52% of the vote. If the poll Susan Goldberg chose to publish was accurate, what happened to the other 5% of voters that the Plain Dealer claimed would support the casino issue? I served as a strategic consultant to the anti-casino forces and needless to say I am disappointed by the result but I cannot help but think that the race was affected by the decision by the Plain Dealer to mislead voters into believing that support for casino gambling was greater than it was to create a "bandwagon" effect. When confronted on her short-comings as an editor, Goldberg tends to engage in personal attacks and assert that her journalistic credentials are superior to her critics. At least three Plain Dealer reporters told me on background about her cheerleading for casino gambling inside the newspaper. If Susan Goldberg cannot rebut my criticism of the flawed poll she put on page one of the newspaper - a poll disproved by actual election results - she needs to resign. *** NOTE: The Detroit News report on October 30th that Cav's part-owner, Dan Gilbert, was among those who gave Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, $250,000 to resign from office. This appears to be a bribe. Gilbert and his colleagues decided to "paper" their illegal transaction, only to create "loan documents" seven months after the bribe. A Michigan lawyer I consulted pointed out that a serious charge of bribery and obstruction could be pursued based on the facts. Shockingly, this story ran in numerous Ohio newspapers, including the Ohio Blade, Editor Goldberg chose not to let it appear in the Plain Dealer, lest Northeast Ohio voters get additional information regarding Gilbert's shady activities.