Friday, May 29, 2015

Schoolchildren, teen drivers again dominate news, views

Residents fear that when completed, the Hudson Lights residential-retail project near the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee will make the borough's heavy traffic even worse. This photo might remind some old timers of "Heavy Equipment," a 1940s film starring John Derrick and Jean Crain.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

As a senior citizen, I still can't figure out why "new standardized tests tied to Common Core" are so controversial that just the mention of them by Governor Christie lands him on Page 1 of The Record (A-1).

In fact, I have no idea what Common Core is, thanks to reporters who wait until deep into the continuation page today to explain it and quote New Jersey education officials defending it (A-7). 

Then, on the Local front, Road Warrior John Cichowski has another boring column on teen drivers (L-1).

News bias

North Jersey Media Group has always steadfastly denied discriminating against older workers.

But the editorial policy of The Record, the company's flagship paper, has long discriminated against older readers, the majority.

Autism, not Alzheimer's disease, often dominates Page 1 and the Better Living front.

The challenges facing older drivers are routinely ignored by Cichowski.

And his editors lampoon those drivers when they confuse the accelerator for the brake pedal by running numerous filler photos of the mayhem that causes.

Correction

A Thursday story on high school journalism and censorship has been corrected (A-2).

Why is L-9, a Business page, dominated by rising rents in New York and other cities?

What about rents in Hackensack and the rest of North Jersey?

$92 entree

Orama in Edgewater is really making customers pay for the restaurant's spectacular location on the Hudson River, with entrees up to $92.

I loved what Executive Chef John Piliouras did with fresh fish at Nisi Estiatorio in Englewood -- now replaced by a car showroom.

But I doubt I'll ever eat at Orama. 

There are plenty of great seafood restaurants in Bergen County with down-to-earth prices, and Fort Lee and Edgewater boast at least three Japanese restaurants with great sushi menus.

And the far more affordable food court at Mitsuwa Marketplace has the same great view.

Restaurant critic Elisa Ung's 3-star review today shows a photo of Niman Ranch loin lamb chops, but doesn't tell readers all Niman Ranch meat is naturally raised or give the price (BL-16).

In her text, she confuses readers by describing what apparently is a second dish, "Colorado prime porterhouse-cut [lamb] chops ($21 and $32)." 

"Prime" and "porterhouse" usually describe beef. Maybe these Colorado sheep were raised on steroids.




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Christie has been lying to N.J. voters since '09 campaign

Further adventures in navigating Bergen County's antiquated road system: A short drive from Englewood to Hackensack at about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon was agonizingly slow, especially when a tractor-trailer tried to turn into narrow Forest Avenue in Teaneck from Teaneck Road, above and below. I guess it would be too much to expect the cops to direct rush-hour traffic, as they do in Manhattan.

Cedar Lane in Teaneck is always a challenging drive, especially during the afternoon rush hour, with township police lying in wait for drivers who don't yield to pedestrians in the many crosswalks. An elderly woman trying to back into a parking space too small for her car stopped one lane of traffic dead for several minutes.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Today's Page 1 story on Governor Christie holding town-hall events in New Hampshire is the second to tell readers what they already know from his 2009 New Jersey campaign and his record since he took office.

Or, as The Record's so-called analysis puts it:

"Like politicians from time immemorial, [Christie] tends to gloss over the weak spots or present them in a more favorable -- sometimes less accurate -- light" (A-1).

What State House Bureau reporters Salvador Rizzo and Melissa Hayes are trying to say is that Christie, in an apparent bid for the GOP presidential nomination, lies a lot.

Just like he did when he was swept into office in November 2009 after promising to lower New Jersey's notoriously high property taxes and force inefficient home-rule towns to consolidate agencies.

Censorship

On the Local front today, censorship of a high school newspaper editor isn't much different than squelching any mention in The Record that Christie's chief gubernatorial fundraiser, Jon F. Hanson, has close personal and business ties to the Borgs, who own the paper (L-1).

Ed Schwartz, 47, of Ridgewood is an expert on sustainability known as "Eco Ed," The Record reports today (L-1).

But why did the Woodland Park daily wait until Schwartz's final "battle" with cancer to profile him?

An Associated Press brief on the Business page reports the Urus SUV is expected to be sold in 2018 "with a production of 3,000 vehicles a year, more than doubling Lamborghini's current output of 2,530" (L-7).

Second look

Despite its extraordinary length -- or because of it -- Mike Kelly's 100-plus-inch column on Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of Englewood got only limited reaction from readers on North Jersey.com.

And most of the comments were negative. It's unclear how many readers actually plowed through the entire, long-winded puff piece, which started on Page 1.

One North Jersey.com reader refers to the rabbi as "Shmuckley."

Kelly's Sunday column runs on the front of the Opinion section.

Why wasn't his Boteach column labeled "Opinion"?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Naked puff piece is prominent on rabbi's Facebook page

Loud, smelly motorcycles were the only off-note at Englewood's Memorial Day parade. Even though these and other motorcycles violate every municipal anti-noise ordinance on the books, their owners -- including many cops and firemen -- are rarely ticketed as a matter of professional courtesy. And when these motorcycle groups hold charity runs, The Record always finds room for the photos, complete with glowing captions.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Columnist Mike Kelly's shameless Page 1 puff piece on Shmuley Boteach of Englewood is featured prominently on the rabbi's Facebook page today.

And why not?

The veteran Record columnist -- a Catholic -- delivered more than 100 inches of flattering coverage on Tuesday that some view as little more than an elaborate B.J. on the circumcised rabbi.

And just two days earlier, Boteach's own Opinion piece appeared in The Record, describing Governor Christie's meeting with Elie Wiesel, "the world'[s] most well-known holocaust survivor" (O-3 on Sunday).

That piece drew a comment from reader David Wilson on North Jersey.com:
"I know this is published in the Opinion section of the newspaper. But I question whether or not Schmuley Boteach was paid to write it. It sure reads like a paid campaign release."
Indeed, does the rabbi's support for Christie really deserve such prominent coverage in The Record -- unless it is part of the Borg publishing family's campaign to make the GOP bully seems like a viable candidate for president?

Most polls, experts and observers have already predicted Christie will fail to get the nomination in 2016, and if he pulls off a miracle, will be in line for a good spanking by Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.

Corrections

Kelly's piece is not only suspect, he managed to misquote Boteach, according to a correction on A-2 today.

A second correction today noted Friday's Business section "incorrectly described New Jersey's employment recovery since the recession."

The Record's Hugh R. Morley reported the state has 1.8 percent more jobs, when, in fact, it has 1.8 percent fewer jobs.

That's embarrassing, and opens up the business editors to charges they have neglected to fully report Christie's mismanagement of the state economy.

Local news?

Today's Local section is filled with Law & Order news, as the editors are still trying to walk off their Memorial Day barbecues.

Typical of the accident photos Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza like to use as filler is one on L-3 today with a caption that makes no attempt to explain what caused a truck to crush a car.

However, Cliffview Pilot. com reported the 64-year-old driver of the Lexus sedan cut off the tractor-trailer in attempting to turn into the driveway of a Polish restaurant.

There was no word whether the West Orange man, whose ribs were broken, was able to order takeout from Royal Warsaw in Elmwood Park before he was taken away in an ambulance.

Better living?

The Better Living cover story today, "Taking Steps Against Arthritis," makes readers wonder when the editors are going to commission two other pieces:

"Taking Steps Against Obesity"

"Taking Steps Against Dementia"


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tens of thousands of Jews say: Shame on you, Boteach

Four photographers from The Record managed to cover Memorial Day parades in only five Bergen County towns, according to today's Local section, but none visited Englewood, above and below.




VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Shame on you, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, for your publicity mongering and your support of Governor Christie, the worst leader in New Jersey history.

And shame on you, Editor Martin Gottlieb and Columnist Mike Kelly, for devoting more than 100 inches in The Record today to a rabbi who makes tens of thousands of Jews cringe at the thought that they have anything in common.

How can Kelly -- himself a walking question mark --dare ask on Page 1, "Who is he [Boteach], anyway?" (A-1).

Readers know Boteach purchased a mansion on Englewood's East Hill, even though it was next door to the home of the Libyan ambassador to the U.S.

Then, in 2009, the shamelessly self-promoting rabbi grabbed the front page of The Record several days in a row, protesting the planned visit of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.

Folloing those news stories was a glowing profile by Staff Writer Jim Beckerman, who described pop king Michael Jackson's visit to the Boteach mansion for Friday night dinners.

The reporter referred to the mansion as "an ordinary house in Englewood."

Must-read list

Head Assigment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza managed today to find room for Memorial Day photos from only a half-dozen North Jersey towns (L-1, L-2 and L-3).

Any other photos were held to make room for thousands of names in a huge Dean's List (L-5), which Sykes and Sforza rely on frequently when they can't find legitimate municipal news.

Monday's paper

The Record's front-page story on the crash death of Princeton University mathematician John Nash fails to report the Nobel laureate and his wife weren't wearing seat belts in the back seat of a taxi.

NJ.com reported the Nashes were ejected from the cab during the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign on seat-belt use, a stepped up enforcement program that runs through May 31.

In mid-May, Road Warrior John Cichowski warned more than 4,400 tickets were issued in Bergen County alone during last year's two-week crackdown.

Yet, The Record consistently fails to report whether people killed in car crashes were belted in.

Christie and crime

In another front-page story on Monday, Gottlieb and the other editors managed to hold Christie blameless for police layoffs that resulted in a spike in violent crime in Camden, Newark, Paterson and other cities.

The story by Staff Writers Abbott Koloff and Melissa Hayes goes on and on, but never reports the GOP bully cut state aid to poor cities in 2011.

Camden lost 163 officers and Paterson -- which has twice as many residents -- let go 125.

The Record's revisionist theory is that the layoffs were caused by the "recession, coupled with a freeze in state aid and a 2 percent state-imposed cap on local property tax levies" (Saturday's A-11).

Different story

In 2011, The Record and other media attributed the layoffs to Christie's state aid cuts. 

On July 1, 2011, NJ.com reported the governor cut aid for the state's most troubled cities to $10 million from $149 million.

On Monday, The Record described that drastic aid cut as "a freeze in state aid."

Now, the Woodland Park daily -- which struggles to report what happened yesterday completely and without errors -- can't be relied on to accurately report what Christie did in his second year in office.