Political hopeful Arnold Schwarzenegger has accused California's leading daily newspaper of bias against his campaign to become the state's governor.

The Terminator actor claims the LOS ANGELES TIMES has carried negative stories of him supplied by Governor Gray Davis' campaign - while running more favourable coverage of his rivals on the front page.

Schwarzenegger even alleges a senior manager at the Times has admitted the newspaper is biased towards Democrats Davis and his Lieutenant Governor CRUZ Bustamante.

The actor tells American talk-show host Bill O'Reilly, "Have you ever seen how many times they've put Davis on the cover and Bustamante on the cover and I'm on page 12 or page 20 or something like that? It's very clear what they're doing. I mean, you know, even the editor admitted it, that he's doing that."

When asked by O'Reilly if he was surprised the Times has carried negative stories about his father's connections to the NAZI party during the Second World War and a 1977 magazine interview in which he discussed group sex, he added, "Well, not really. Because I always knew that Davis knows how to run a negative campaign.

"All of the stories are fed by the campaign headquarters, I guarantee you that."

But newspaper spokesman DAVID GARCIA denies the actor's claims, insisting, "We believe our coverage of all the major candidates has been fair and balanced and in fact Mr. Schwarzenegger has said to us that he considers our coverage fair and balanced."

And evidence by news agency REUTERS also contradicts Schwarzenegger's claims.

Their research states, "Davis has been mentioned on the paper's front page 64 times since Schwarzenegger joined the race on 6 August, while Schwarzenegger appears 61 times over the same period. Bustamante is mentioned 48 times."

11/09/2003 13:51