I blinked twice, but couldn't avoid the reality of seeing Herb Jackson's byline on a Page 1 column in The Record on Monday.
In one foolhardy move, Editor Marty Gottlieb ignored North Jersey's incredible diversity and named another white male to join the paper's four incompetent news and feature columnists -- all white males.
Jackson is the paper's so-called Washington correspondent, but readers recall his weak reporting on a variety of stories -- from Tea Party demonstrations in the capitol to last year's congressional races in North Jersey.
Before the November election, Jackson commanded so little respect he tried and failed to get an interview with Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, the subject of Monday's NJ/DC column.
Jackson blew it again, as today's A-2 correction of his amateurish reporting demonstrates.
It's bad enough the new column is written by a white male, ignoring all the talented women in the Woodland Park newsroom.
This from a newspaper that once had an African-American, a Hispanic and a woman writing news columns.
But why did Gottlieb think readers needed another column about politics after suffering through years of Charles Stile's incredibly boring Political Stile?
The rest of Monday's paper is all downhill from Jackson's nonsense, including a correction on A-2, a story about long commutes that belongs in the Road Warrior column, not on the Business page; and a Local section with Hackensack news lifted from a weekly paper (L-2).
Monday's Local also had two stories on major road closures (L-2 and L-3), but not a word about the detour at Passaic Street and Rochelle Avenue that caused major problems this afternoon.
You know Gottlieb is having problems appreciating North Jersey's diversity when the first front-page story he's had about a resident from the Dominican Republic is today's A-1 report about Pedro Quezada of Passaic city, winner of the $338 million Powerball prize.
Crossing readers again
On Friday, not Sunday, as I wrote earlier, Road Warrior John Cichowski had another column about the three-year-old crosswalk law, but he still is unable to accurately report on just what drivers are supposed to do when they encounter a pedestrian crossing the street.
A reader, concerned about Cichowski's flawed reporting on a range of issues, sent another e-mail to management, referring to the columnist as the "decoy Road Warrior":
"How sad is it that once again the decoy Road Warrior is unable to comprehend or report accurately on pedestrian fatality statistics and N.J. crosswalk statutes in his column of March 22, while also reporting about decoy cops that would be used in Teaneck to try and snare drivers who might be violating these statutes.
"What is most embarrassing is that The Record's management continually allows the decoy Road Warrior to mistakenly misrepresent the crosswalk statutes in a completely different way each time that he has unsuccessfully tried to explain these statutes to his readers in the past 3 years, even though I have repeatedly corrected the Road Warrior about his misinterpretations in various columns.
"It is interesting to note that the Road Warrior's confused reporting and advice about these crosswalk laws has definitely increased confusion about these crosswalk laws among drivers, pedestrians and readers of The Record. Who knows if this increased confusion has led to any of the increases in pedestrian deaths over the past 3 years?"
The full e-mail can be found on the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:
Road Warrior crosses readers again