Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What the hell is wrong with 'mandatory'?

main street of Fort Lee in NJ
Take a photo almost anywhere in the borough of Fort Lee and you'll see what it's known for: Many high-rises. (Wikipedia)


Health insurance for nearly everyone is long overdue, so why are the moneyed elite so upset that Congress is mandating that everyone buy health coverage or pay a penalty?

The Record and other media are using this controversy to sell papers, carefully avoiding any mention of all the government mandates we live under already (A-1).

The government forces us to buy auto insurance and, if we work, to contribute to Social Security, unemployment compensation and other funds. We must have a license to drive, and on and on.

Are the Supreme Court justices, who must have incredible health insurance, really the right people to decide the constitutionality of the national health care law?

Who is the Boss?

Don't you love that story on A-3 today about Governor Christie asking Bruce Springsteen to perform at the new Revel Resort and Casino in Atlantic City?

Too bad Staff Writers John Brennan and Jim Beckerman forgot to tell readers Springsteen refused to perform at the GOP bully's inauguration in 2010.

Or that Christie is taking credit for all of the "working men and women" employed by Revel who won't be able to afford to stay in one of the $400-a-night rooms.

Hanson and Borg

The other story on A-3 quotes Christie as praising the role of adviser Jon Hanson in Revel and American Dreams Meadowlands (formerly Xanadu).

But Brennan again to fails to mention the real estate mogul is best friends with Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg or that they co-own a business jet.

High-rise borough

What is all the hand-wringing and editorial angst over Planning Board approval of two 47-story residential towers in Fort Lee (A-1 on Tuesday and A-22 editorial today)?

The borough has long been known for high-rises, traffic congestion and a prime terrorist target, the George Washington Bridge.

Readers write column

On the front of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section, Road Warrior John Cichowski is back doing what he does best -- basing his silly column on reader e-mails and avoiding any exploration of commuting problems.

On Monday's front page, The Record previewed the start of suspended Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa's criminal trial, but the testimony still is not under way.

Sykes loves Zisa

How embarrassing for Sykes. Stories Tuesday (L-1) and today (L-3) have tried to explain the delay, but Monday's story was premature and should have run the day testimony starts.

The Local section today and Tuesday had no Hackensack municipal news, but readers on Tuesday found non-fatal fire and accident photos on L-1 and L-2.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Editor will look at columnists' diversity

The New York Times building in New York, NY ac...
The New York Times building in Manhattan, across from the midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal. (Wikipedia)

Editor Marty Gottlieb says he will put a lack of diversity among The Record's news columnists "on my list."

Gottlieb listed Columnists Charles Stile, Bill Ervolino and Mike Kelly as among his "strongest writers," but didn't mention Road Warrior John Cichowski.

He called sports staffer Tara Sullivan a "beautiful writer," noting that is why he likes running her columns on Page 1.

Gottlieb, who took over the Woodland Park newsroom two months ago, spoke on Monday to a class of senior citizens, many of whom are longtime readers and fans of The Record, and they gave him a warm welcome.

He also answered questions from members of the "In The Record" class, part of the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Bergen Community College in Paramus.

All-white columnists

One class member noted The Record once had black, Hispanic and female news columnists, and that at least one of the current columnists has been at it for 20 years.

Asked if he felt it was time for greater diversity and fresher column voices, Gottlieb said he will put the lack of diversity on his list.

"You're only as good as your reporters," he said in answering another question -- on where story ideas come from.

He said those ideas come from both reporters and editors, noting he asked Staff Writer Stephanie Akin to follow her recent in-depth piece on a homeless man with a profile of his rescuer.

Returning to his roots

"I'm proud to be here [at The Record]," Gottlieb said, listing Akin, Mary Jo Layton, Pat Alex, Leslie Brody and Lindy Washburn as among the "terrific" and "talented" members of the staff. 

Gottlieb recalled his job interview at the end of 2011 with the Borg family -- Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg, Publisher Stephen A. Borg and General Counsel Jennifer A. Borg.

Mac walked into the room and asked if Gottlieb knew how long it had been since he had worked as a reporter at The Record when it was in Hackensack (1971 to the end of 1973). 

"Exactly 38 years," the elder Borg said, then mentioned that he wanted to go after Public Service Electric & Gas Co. for the terrible job it did restoring power after the freak October snowstorm.

Gottlieb said Stephen Borg talked about "hard-hitting local reporting," and Jennifer Borg discussed the freedom of information lawsuits she likes to file.

None of the Borgs talked about "watching the bottom line."

Gottlieb called them "real people with a real commitment to journalism" who "wanted a tougher, better paper."

Sought the job

Without mentioning the Halloween firing of Francis "Frank" Scandale after more than a decade as editor, Gottlieb said he learned of the opening from some of the 45 Record alumni who worked at The New York Times.

He said he called the Borg family and expressed interest in running the paper. The Borgs could have sold out to Gannett and retire to Florida, but chose not to, he noted.

He said he spent about four years running the Times-owned, Paris-based International Herald Tribune and had the choice of returning to a reporting job in New York or seeking the editorship of The Record.

"My roots and my heart will always be here," he said.

Local news reporter

He recalled his "formative years" covering Oradell, River Edge and New Milford for The Record, including ratables, budgets and other local issues.

He said that experience helped him at other newspapers, whether writing about New York neighborhoods or the European Union's $100 billion budget.

Gottlieb, who is 64, is of medium build with a full head of white hair and a deep voice. He wore a dark suit and gray tie on Monday.

He gave the class a glimpse of his management style when he noted, "I pace all day."

Today's front page

Gottlieb also spoke about the stories on Page 1 today.

From home, he had a discussion with the Sunday editors, asking them to figure out how they could run the story on disappearing pay phones along with all the serious news slated for A-1.

The editor said he strives for a front-page with a "range of different stories that appeal to readers in different ways."

Gottlieb said Staff Writer Jay Levin's "phone-booth" story "invigorated an entire page." He noted the "load of smiles" in the BCC classroom at mention of the piece.

The Record gives readers "added value" by reporting what no other medium does -- such as today's A-1 "walk-up" to the trial of suspended Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa or the story on a failing Paterson school that is getting big federal rescue grants.

What readers think

But it's clear from today's paper that Gottlieb's vision doesn't always get translated into great or even good journalism by such sub-editors as head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and Production Editor Liz Houlton, who supervises the news copy desk.

For example, the first paragraph of the Zisa trial preview on A-1  is poorly written and edited, especially the awkward phrase at the end -- "charges he will share in part with a former girlfriend."

Defendants do not "share" charges.

The drop headline on the Zisa story is preposterous:

Drawn-out case has
Hackensack in limbo

What's the basis for that? Did the reporter interview residents? No. She quotes gadfly Kathy Canestrino as saying Zisa's long-standing legal troubles have "put a lot of things in limbo."

Inducing vomit

On the front of Sykes' Local section, Kelly's column on the new Overpeck Park merely regurgitates a lot of his previous column on the county park.

And does anyone but  Gottlieb think what follows is great writing?

The new park, Kelly writes, "overlooks the northern end of the New Jersey Turnpike like a sparkling emerald amid a river of concrete roadways and the steely swoosh of cars and trucks."

Oh, say, can't you just hear that "steely swoosh"?

And contrary to the strong local news coverage Gottlieb promotes, Sykes fails to deliver the municipal news readers in Hackensack desperately need.

Today, there are three major pieces from Englewood, and all Hackensack readers get is yet another chapter in the Zisa legal-problems saga, which has been covered ad nauseum for nearly three years.

Related articles

'Eye on The Record' will return soon

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why didn't they let Dick Cheney die?

Schematic of a transplanted heart with native ...
Schematic of a transplanted heart with native lungs and the great vessels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Page 1 brief in The Record today refers readers to an inside story on a heart transplant for former Vice President Dick Cheney, but there is no discussion of whether a man with such a poor reputation deserves to live beyond 71 (A-8).

The story says more than 3,100 Americans are on a national waiting list for a heart transplant, so I'm sure there are plenty of other ordinary Americans who deserve a new lease on life more than Cheney, who is infamous for aiding the two Bush presidencies and profiting mightily from the Iraq war.

North Jersey news

The Cheney story distracts from a strong front page of North Jersey news, ruined by a sports column at the bottom of the page.

Editor Marty Gottlieb seems to be as jock-like as former Editor Francis "Frank" Scandale, who often used sports on A-1 so aggressively it overshadowed or displaced more serious news.

Raw deal on taxes

The lead A-1 story by Staff Writer David Sheingold documents the raw deal homeowners are getting when they appeal the assessments that have led to rising property taxes amid falling home values.

Another important story -- on Syrian-Americans in North Jersey aiding the uprising against the Assad family -- is one of the few times  in the past year head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes has localized the conflict. 

Mass smoking 

The front of Sykes' Local section is dominated by the funeral Mass for the Rev. James F. Reilly of St. Michael Church in Palisades Park, but there is no mention he died of injuries from a fire that started when he fell asleep while smoking -- an unintended suicide (L-1).

The main headline, "Simple parish priest," probably should have read, "Simple smoking priest."

Commuting news

Readers are doing a double-take at the second Road Warrior column on commuting problems since March 16 -- after enduring innumerable pieces on potholes, roof snow, MVC lines and all the other driving minutiae John Cichowski has mustered in the past 11 years.

There is no Hackensack news in the Sunday edition, but Sykes found room on L-3 for an accident photo (car crashes into home) and a house burglary in Tenafly, where Publisher Stephen A. Borg lives in fear of a break-in at his $3.65 million McMansion.

Poultry on drugs

In Better Living today, a column on what "two prominent chef's could do to help home cooks spice up their boneless, skinless [chicken] dinners" makes no mention of all the harmful antibiotics used to raise the vast majority of chicken sold in supermarkets and served in restaurants (F-1).

In Real Estate, the cover story provides a lot of terrific information for homeowners who want to challenge their tax assessments (R-1). 

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Page 1 Ravi round-up is more pure hype

Syke's Warbler

Syke's warbler suggests the parents of Tyler Clementi of Ridgewood might ask the judge to show leniency when he sentences Dharun Ravi on May 21. See Page 1.

Editor Marty Gottlieb of The Record continues to test the patience of readers with the 15th story on the Darhun Ravi trial since the verdict was reported a week ago today.

Gottlieb's voice has been clear since he took over in late January: Today, the lead paragraph of the Ravi round-up claims the gay-bias case has "captivated the nation."

Recently, a long A-1 story on a homeless man who nearly blew himself up in Hackensack supposedly "captivated the region." The tortured tale of seven Wayne high school athletes "gripped" the township. 

Polishing a turd

Many readers just want to see Ravi deported to the turd world he came from. The jury has spoken. He was found guilty on multiple counts for spying on his gay Rutgers roommate, Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide. 

Ravi declined to testify in his own defense, so why are the media knocking themselves out to publish or air his patently false statements? 

Today's round-up, written by the reporter who covered the trial, is pure hype. It says nothing new, but merely rehashes the last few days of front-page stories, calling them "revelations as surprising and insightful as the trial's outcome."

In the last paragraph on A-1, the story poses a bizarre rhetorical question: whether the Clementis will ask the judge to show leniency to Ravi when he is sentenced May 21. 

Is Gottlieb, with the aid of head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes, just trying to keep the Ravi story alive to sell more papers or has the lazy, incompetent assignment desk run out of any other compelling local news?

Christie setback

For the second day in a row, Governor Christie has suffered another embarrassing defeat, as reported in the lead A-1 story today on Port Authority retirees, who have won back free tolls and parking the GOP bully cut in January 2011.

Can anyone find the sentence in the slanted story with the number of retired electrical workers affected? Does the alleged savings of $1.5 million sound credible?

Why does Sykes report, in her typically lazy fashion, "the benefit would be worth more than $2,000 annually for a daily, weekday commuter traveling at peak hours" (A-3)? 

These are retirees; they don't commute daily at peak hours, for crying out loud.

Local news diet

Hackensack readers searching Sykes' Local section for news find only a brief on the arrest of a prostitute on L-3.

Teaneck news leads the section, and there are three items from Englewood (L-2 and L-6). The Dean's List fills out the section (L-2).

Another great job by Sykes and her dysfunctional assignment desk.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Democrats answer Christie's racism

Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, seat of the...
The New Jersey Constitution requires the state Supreme Court to provide parking.

When Governor Christie dumped the only African-American on the state Supreme Court in 2010, he claimed the respected judge didn't fit his "ideology," Columnist Charles Stile reports today.

The Record and other media not only didn't question Christie's motives, they also didn't explore whether racism played a part in the unprecedented move against Associate Justice John Wallace. Most of the stories that followed even omitted any mention of Wallace's color.

Kimchi chronicles

Now, Democrats have denied Christie's nominee, Phillip Kwon, the chance to become the first Asian-American on the high court, and let's hope they do the same for his second nominee, Bruce A. Harris, a gay black lawyer who is an abomination to most of the state's church-going African-American community.

Today, Editor Marty Gottlieb delivers two news stories and Stile's column to explore a major political defeat for the GOP bully, who usually gets his way through bluster and a veto pen (A-1 and A-8).

Winding up Ravi

Also on Page 1 today, Gottlieb runs two more stories about Dharun Ravi, the homophobe who was convicted of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation against his gay Rutgers University roommate, Tyler Clementi of Ridgewood.

These are the third and fourth A-1 stories about Ravi in the past three days, but the first to tell readers the former student is on a "media tour." How easily he has manipulated Gottlieb, despite all the years the editor spent at The New York Times.

I guess even a veteran newsman like Gottlieb can't resist the urge to sell newspapers for Publisher Stephen A. Borg.

Prison mentality

Road Warrior John Cichowksi continues to be the laughing stock of the Woodland Park newsroom, ringing his hands today over license plates instead of writing about commuting problems (L-1).

Hackensack reporter Stephanie Akin reports yet another development in the lawsuits police officers have filed against Police Chief Ken Zisa, who has been suspended pending a criminal trial (L-1).

Small-town news

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes has been responsible for better coverage of her hometown, Harrington Park, and other small communities than for Hackensack, the county seat and onetime home of The Record for more than 110 years.

When Sykes sends out Staff Photographer Tariq Zehawi to chase ambulances and come back with images of fender benders and non-fatal rollover accidents, she runs the blown-up photos on L-1, L-2 or L-3 to fill the space of local news she doesn't have. 

Today, his artistic shot of the GWB shrouded in fog gets buried on L-8.

Raw deal for readers

Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung and her two guests were crammed into a table for two; charged $65 for 25 pieces of sushi with "chewy, stringy toro," the expensive belly meat of the endangered giant blue-fin tuna; and treated brusquely by the manager -- yet she gives Yamagata in Fort Lee two and a half stars (Good to Excellent).

Maybe it's because her grandmother was Japanese. But her abysmal lack of knowledge about raw fish continues to grate.

Women of child-bearing age like her are warned about consuming regular cuts of raw tuna, as well as toro, because of the fish's high mercury content. And nowhere does she mention whether Yamagata freezes or uses frozen fish for sushi and sashimi, as the law requires, to kill parasites in the raw flesh.

The cramped, noisy Yamagata isn't the only high-end Japanese sushi restaurant in Fort Lee, and Ung doesn't convince readers it is the best (Better Living centerfold).

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Jets that matter played the Sharks

The George Washington Bridge over the Hudson R...
The only Jets who really interest readers of The Record of Woodland Park once roamed the West Side of Manhattan and rumbled with the Sharks.

Hey, Editor Marty Gottlieb, readers of The Record don't care much for the Jets, another football team from New York that offends us by refusing to adopt New Jersey in its name.

In fact, the Jets we love sang a West Side story:

When you're a Jet, 
You're a Jet all the way 
From your first cigarette 
To your last dyin' day. 

When you're a Jet, 
If the spit hits the fan, 
You got brothers around, 
You're a family man! 

You're never alone, 
You're never disconnected! 
You're home with your own: 
When company's expected, 
You're well protected! 

Then you are set 
With a capital J, 
Which you'll never forget 
Till they cart you away. 
When you're a Jet, 
You stay a Jet! 

Most of the front page is taken up today with another silly column by Staff Writer Tara Sullivan. Who can -- or cares to -- follow this tortured sports tale?

Exploiting the media

Meanwhile, the lead A-1 story continues to promote the rehabilitation of Dharun Ravi after he was found guilty of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation when he used a Web cam to spy on a tryst involving his gay Rutgers roommate, Tyler Clementi of Ridgewood.

This is the 12th story since the Ravi verdict and the second on Page 1 in two days. On Wednesday, The Record discussed Ravi's "strategy" for appealing his conviction.

Boy, Ravi's defense attorney, Steve Altman, is having such an easy time manipulating The Record and other media, but he fell flat on his face with the jurors who convicted his client.

Time to deport Ravi 

What a joke. The main headline is a quote from Ravi: "I didn't act out of hate." Does anybody but Gottlieb believe that?

What about poor Clementi, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge, and his grief-stricken parents? Can you imagine their rage at all this attention Ravi is getting? Ravi can't get deported fast enough.

Maybe Ravi can try to make up for his crimes by doing community service in India, a turd-world country mired in poverty.

Lazy assignment desk

Don't bother turning to head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section, if you're interested in municipal news, whether from Hackensack, Teaneck or many other towns.

Today's 8-page Business section is unusual. Business pages usually appear inside Local, except on Sunday, when a standalone section is published.

Want a good laugh? Check out the B-2 photo of an ancient Datsun 210. Nissan is reviving the brand, so where is a photo of the new car?

The Business section also contains legal notices with local school budgets, as did pages in Wednesday's paper. Take a good look. You'll never see that kind of detail in the news columns from Sykes and her lazy, incompetent minions.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to bore readers to death

Banoffee pie layers.
The Record is recommending a slice of banoffee pie in place of a balanced breakfast.

When editors elevate the "process" to the front page, they are delivering some of the most eye-glazing, mind-numbing stories imaginable.

Today, Editor Marty Gottlieb of The Record turns off readers with at least three process stories on his premier page -- A-1. 

His Eminence, who came to the Woodland Park daily from The New York Times, doesn't seem to know or care that the outcome is Page 1 news -- not the process leading up to it.

Police gun play

The lead story focuses on Garfield police station "protocol" and not whether two officers were justified in using deadly force when they killed Malik Williams, 19, on Dec. 10, 2011.

The big photo on Page 1 has nothing to do with North Jersey. It's yet another primary result in the excruciatingly slow process of selecting a wealthy Republican to be the party's presidential nominee.

Only lawyers and judges will read more than a few sentences about Dharun Ravi's "strategy" in appealing his conviction for bias intimidation, which led to the death of Ridgewood's Tyler Clementi.

Quoting experts

Process stories have another thing in common, besides being boring: 

They often are based on quotes from "experts," such as Eugene O'Donnell, whose affiliation consumes nearly four sentences in the second paragraph of the lead A-1 story on Williams, the black teen from Garfield.

On the front of Local, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes signed off on another Road Warrior column based entirely on readers' e-mails about MVC lines and other minutiae (L-1).

How many of the e-mails are real and how many are fabricated by a columnist desperate to fill space three times a week -- under Sykes' wet-noodle lashes?

Where is Stanley?

The Record was responsible for getting Stanley Kowalski, an 82-year-old homeless man who almost blew himself up, evicted from a motel last week. 

Today, an L-3 story reports Kowalski has been moved to a nursing home from a hospital.

A follow-up story on Thursday will discuss whether he is having regular bowel movements.

Another crash photo

Sykes needed another non-fatal accident photo to fill out L-3 today after her lazy, incompetent minions failed to produce any news from Hackensack and many other towns.

Cardiac-surgery units at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, and other hospitals, are preparing beds after Food Editor Susan Leigh Sherrill published a pie recipe that calls for two sticks of butter and one cup of heavy cream (F-1 and F-2).

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Editors mock black teen's death

The Gangsters
The overpaid Garfield police chief, at left on phone, gets word that a suspect ran out of an unlocked police station door and three officers could not catch him.

On The Record's front-page today, four big photos showing a black suspect fleeing the Garfield police station focus on a comedic Keystone Kops chase -- not the confrontation with officers who shot him dead.

The story and photos take up most of Page 1, but the text is so poorly edited, there are several major flaws -- typical of the assignment desk under Editor Deirdre Sykes and the news copy desk under Editor Liz Houlton.

Sykes and Houlton continue to make Editor Marty Gottlieb look bad as the ex-Timesman completes his second month at the Woodland Park daily.

The use of "TALE OF THE TAPE" -- a sports term -- in a kicker over the main headline seems inappropriate over a story about the controversial shooting of Malik Williams, 19. The phrase mocks the victim.

Why not just use the phrase "COPS' VIDEO TAPE" or something similar?

'Unspecified tools'

Three months and 10 days after the fatal police shooting, The Record continues to report Williams "allegedly had armed himself with unspecified tools" on Dec. 10, 2011 (A-1). 

But on the continuation page (A-6), the paper quotes the two "use of force" reports it obtained from police recently, alleging Williams attacked an officer with a "blunt object" and a "knife/cutting object."

That conflicts badly with "unspecified tools" on the front page. Where are Houlton and her copy editors? Are they so in awe of Sykes, they ignore such glaring conflicts in a story?

Who owns garage?

Also on A-6, a large photo of the detached garage behind a Dahnert Park Lane home is shown. The caption says Williams was shot "near" the garage. The graphic just under the photo says he was shot "in" the garage.

The laziness and incompetency of Sykes and her minions have been exposed by coverage of the Williams shooting.

In the past 100 days -- instead of looking for witnesses to the shooting or interviewing the owner of the garage on what he or she might have seen -- the paper merely regurgitated bare-bones press releases from Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli as he tried mightily to cover the asses of all of the police officers involved.

Breaking weather news

On the front of Local today, Sykes delivers the breathless news that we've had our "warmest winter ever" -- which anyone who watches TV news already knows.

Former Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado is back with a ridiculous story on "two tragedies" in Palisades Park -- the unintended suicide of a priest who fell asleep while smoking and the "beheading" of a statue at another church in the borough.

Death and vandalism

How can the desperate Sykes have the nerve to compare the untimely demise of the Rev. James F. Reilly to vandalism, especially when the paper appears to have no intention of using his meaningless death to illustrate the dangers of smoking. 

Sykes continues to nibble around the edges of Hackensack for local news, but there is nothing from the county seat itself.

Developer had sole

On L-6, a local obituary on land developer and footwear inventor Eli Cohen, formerly of Paramus, fails to note that his shock-absorbing running shoes had only limited commercial success.

In a bid to capitalize on the Nike name, Cohen named them "Nebbishy."

Highway businesses

On L-7, the first Business page, a story on businesses filling "retail space" in Parmaus, doesn't explain the 24 Hour Fitness health club opened in a building that once housed a multiplex movie theater, not a big-box store.

The story does tell readers a second New York-based Fairway Market is expected to open in June on Route 46 in Woodland Park -- in a former Pathmark.

The paper's commercial real estate coverage continues to virtually ignore struggling downtowns in Hackensack, Teaneck and Englewood.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Today's front page really sucks

Lincoln Tunnel, New Jersey side approach and &...
Lincoln Tunnel, New Jersey side approach and "helix," circa 1955. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long-suffering readers of The Record know Editor Liz Houlton's news copy desk can't edit or always deliver accurate headlines. 

But the lead Page 1 story today demonstrates the copy editors can't add, either.

If the Lincoln Tunnel helix was opened in October 1938, it became an engineering marvel more than 73 years ago, not "70 years ago," as the lead paragraph reports.

And nowhere in the text on A-1 and A-8 or in the elaborate graphic can readers find the helix's well-known numerical designation, Route 495, though other route numbers are provided.

That's just sloppy

You don't expect that kind of sloppiness on a front page from Editor Marty Gottlieb, who spent many years at The New York Times.

Even on a Monday after a slow news weekend, the Page 1 column by sports writer Tara Sullivan seems made up, fabricated, fraudulent -- supply your own word. 

Who the hell remembers what happened five years ago? So members of the Rutgers women's basketball team were called "nappy headed hos" by that racist pig Imus. 

Is there any doubt -- except in the mind of Gottlieb and his desperate sports editor -- the women shook it off years ago? 

Elephantine news

Instead of getting better, the front page gets worse with yet another column by Charles Stile on Governor Christie's "Jersey style."

Christie is the worst governor the state has ever had, and that can be documented in numerous ways. On top of that, the GOP bully is a slave to food who has ignored the childhood obesity epidemic in New Jersey.

When are the editors of The Record going to stop trying to polish a turd and level with readers?

Local readers suffer

Although story length has grown and sidebars have proliferated under Gottlieb, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes still turns out the same tripe she has been peddling for decades.

Former Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado was sent to the Rutgers campus for reaction to the Dharun Ravi verdict -- the 10th story about the trial in the past three days -- and readers are still wondering how the university pairs roommates and how easy it is for students to change rooms (L-1).

The only Hackensack news in Local today is a brief on a kitchen fire (L-2).

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Editor panders to gambling addicts

A photograph from atop the Palisades Sill look...
Since Governor Christie took office, more destitute middle-class residents have thrown themselves from the Palisades than under any previous administration.


Don't look for much North Jersey news in The Record today -- with most of the front page covered by the eighth and ninth stories on the Dharun Ravi verdict, and a takeout on possible expansion of the state's corrupt gambling industry.

Editor Marty Gottlieb doesn't seem to know much about who is reading the Woodland Park daily.

Gambling addicts who read every word from the biggest self-promoter in the newsroom, Staff Writer John Brennan, are few and far between. 

Rich and powerful

The vast majority of readers know Brennan and head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes routinely climb into bed with the rich and powerful, including Jon F. Hanson, the real estate mogul who is Governor Christie's adviser on gaming, sports and entertainment.

Hanson also is a close friend of Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg's, and the two multimillionaires co-own a business jet -- though Brennan would never tell that to readers.

Since Christie took office in January 2010, The Record has been famous for ignoring his refusal to tax millionaires or raise the low gasoline tax and focus instead on gambling as one way to rescue the state's economy.

One story I would have liked to see on Page 1 today is the A-3 report that Christie's rosy projection of a 7.4% revenue increase over the next fiscal year is "the highest jump of any of the 50 states -- and more than double the national average" of 2.8%.

Wrong photo -- ouch

Talk about embarrassing corrections. On A-2 today, Production Editor Liz Houlton corrects a huge screw-up -- running the wrong, poorly reproduced photo with Saturday's L-6 obituary of Terrence Pellegrino, a retired Paterson firefighter.

On the front of Sykes' Local section, that blithering idiot, Road Warrior John Cichowski, talks about getting burned at the gas station, which pumped $42 worth of gas instead of the $25 he wanted.

What kind of gas guzzler does the moron drive? Why doesn't he just buy a plug-in hybrid and shut-up, so he can fulfill his column's mission of writing about commuting problems?

Two local obits

At the bottom of L-1 today, readers find a full report on the unintended suicide of the Rev. James F. Reilly, who died early Saturday from the severe burns he suffered when he apparently fell asleep while smoking.

Readers have had to study the words and quotes in stories about the Palisades Park priest to conclude he caused his own death, because Sykes has done her best through editing to obscure that.

On L-3, the obituary of Librarian Mary Louise Helwig-Rodriguez, 46, ignores the role her obesity might have played in her short lifespan, as evident in the photo of her reading to children in the Little Falls Public Library.

Today's Local section carries a long story about development in Englewood (L-3), but nothing from Hackensack, Teaneck or other large communities. 

Drink up

In Better Living, Staff Writer Elisa Ung does her best to promote wine sales in restaurants by allegedly telling readers how to get "the most value" with tips from the pros (The Corner Table, F-1).

Readers shocked by the outrageous markup of wine in restaurants might be excused in not believing Ung when she says they "generally mark up wine at least two to three times the wholesale (not retail) price."

In Opinion, the most readable piece today is not from Mike Kelly. On O-2, Bill Holland of Better Choices for New Jersey calls Christie's proposal to cut income taxes a bad one:

"Over three years it will cost the state $1.1 billion, and as you might expect from a governor who has made tax cuts for the wealthy a point of pride, over $400 million will go to the richest 1 percent of New Jerseyans" while "the average working family will see about $2 a week."

More heat than light

In Real Estate, the cover story on the so-called untested market for solar homes doesn't include anything on the huge federal tax deductions enjoyed by homeowners who install panels or loans that can be paid back with money from Solar Renewable Energy Credits (R-1).

Congratulations to Travel Editor Jill Schensul, a vegetarian, for finally including a full discussion of food options in a cover story -- today's piece on Austin, Texas (T-1).

Readers who wonder why Travel has rarely, if ever, had anything on South Korea should know the animal-loving Schensul has been punishing that country in the mistaken belief the consumption of dogs is widespread.

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