Thursday, July 14, 2011

When editors lose their courage

Looking west across 14th Avenue and 47th Stree...Image via Wikipedia
What secrets are hidden by Orthodox Jews in Borough Park?

You know the editors of a local newspaper have lost their way when letters from readers and OpEd pieces expose official incompetence or corruption more than the paper's own editorials and columnists.

Three letters to The Record's editor today blast Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan for giving a $53,000 raise to a "crony," who is already making $121,350 (A-18).

His job is to head an office that fights waste. What a farce.

D.C. gridlock

Four other letters comment on the sickening partisan gridlock over extending the nation's debt ceiling. 

The Record has printed one story after another filled with Republican he said and Democratic she said, but Herbert Jacobs of Teaneck says, " ... Republicans are ready to plunge the world into another Great Depression unless they get their way."

Hear Scott W. Stahlmann of Ramsey: "House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the tea partiers and the right-wing fringe are trying to sell America with another 'big lie' ...."

It's time for President Obama, Stahlmann continues, "to stop negotiating and come out swinging. Raise revenue [by] taxing the wealthiest, close the corporate loopholes, reduce military spending and foreign aid, and leave Social Security and Medicare alone."

Rupert's cube

Another letter, this one from J. Andrew Smith of Bloomfield, calls Rupert Murdoch's empire a "God-awful propaganda machine that redefines bottom-feeding for conservatives."

An OpEd piece exposes Governor Christie's attempts "to allow municipalities where the wealthiest New Jerseyans live to continue to keep out working families" by imposing large minimum lot sizes (A-19).

Stuffed shirt

Compare all this compelling reading to what Editor Francis Scandale had to say at the screening of an HBO documentary, "Mann v. Ford" on the decades-long struggle of the Ramapough Mountain People against Ford Motor Co.

Scandale took a break from golfing to moderate a panel discussion with the filmmakers and said not a single quotable word (L-1, L-6).

In fact, the cowardly editor left it to one of the filmmakers, Micah Fink, to put the saga in perspective: "It's a very powerful story. There are basic themes of injustice, racism, poverty ...."

How could Scandale be at a loss for words? He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff salaries on The Record's "Toxic Legacy" series in pursuit of a Pulitzer Prize, but failed to win one.

There's also no mention today of how The Record's editorial page quickly abandoned the community when the largest civil suit in New Jersey history was settled -- netting Ringwood residents a maximum of $34,500 a person -- and urged them to take it and move on.

Today's front page

The newspaper's tarring and feathering of BCC President G. Jeremiah Ryan may lead to his firing, even though he spent "significantly less" than his annual $50,000 expense account and raised $3.8 million last year for the community college (A-1).

What the paper calls an "investigation" included a scurrilous attack on Ryan for buying "top-shelf liquor" for himself and donors. 

This from editors who once labored under a now-reformed drunk, Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg, and who now work for his spoiled children, investors in an Englewood wine bar. How rich.

Orthodox Jews

The grisly A-1 story on the murder and dismembering of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky by a member of his ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, delicately avoids any discussion of homosexuality among unmarried Hasidic men.

On A-4, a photo caption doesn't say whether the giant sand dragon shown won the contest in Belmar on Wednesday.

Go fish

In Better Living, the owner of Pearl Restaurant in Ridgewood doesn't explain why he serves artificially colored farmed Atlantic salmon when wild-caught salmon is abundant and cheap this summer (Starters, F-1 and F-8).


  1. What in the hell does the story about the murdered little boy have to do with homosexuality in the orthodox community? Do you think that gay people are more likely to commit a crime like that? What support do you offer for that assumption?

  2. Homosexuality among teens and men before marriage in the Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park is well-known in Brooklyn, where I am from. The suspect was divorced.

    It may have been a factor in the abduction of an 8-year-old boy. If you don't see the connection, then I'm sorry.

    The Daily News story in The Record today said there was no sign of sexual assault, but how did they determine that with a dismembered body?

    Even if sexual assault is ruled out, that wouldn't bar homosexuality from being a motive in the crime.

  3. A member of the Anonymous peanut gallery says,

    "I won't be back any more."

    Promises, promises.

  4. From the Anonymous CSI peanut gallery:

    "Even though the body was dismembered they could find out if there was sexual activity. They do have the pieces of the child's body."

  5. More from Anonymi:

    "You pretend to be a progressive person but you are not. Your true views on things comes out in this blog quite regularly and they show you to be every bit as intolerant as the people you despise."

  6. This is what I have been trying to tell you. You don't do this well. You are an unsophisticated person pretending to be some kind of social critic. Remember that old adage about remaining silent and being thought a fool?

  7. I never heard of that adage. Enlighten me on what it means.

  8. Scandale golfs? Note to self: Park at least two boroughs away from the golf course.

  9. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it.

  10. Why do the Borg children have a wine bar? Isnt a multi million dollar newspaper enough? Oh I get it!!!!! They took so much money out of employees pay checks and benifits that they had to hide there new found wealth through a tax shelter called a "WINE BAR". What a step down from owning a multi million dollar newspaper to spending time and money operating a bar. Well the Borgs are well known ALCOHOLICS in Bergen County, now they have another place to go where they have employees suck up to them cause they are paid to do so.

    What do you think Victor? What do the readers of Eye on The Record think? Show some GUTS readers, and lets hear from you!!!! KEEP ON TRUCK'N VICTOR!!!!! "YOU HAVE GUTS"!!!!

  11. My earlier comment, "That fits you perfectly," was in response to the Anonymous adage, "Better to remain silent....."

    To the last Anonymous commentator, on the wine bar, thanks for your support.

  12. I didn't realize there were a few real sickos in The Record's Hackensack newsroom until I started this blog.


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