Monday, September 30, 2013

Editors buy into Christie's fraudulent weight loss

Bergen County has started to recoup some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars it is paying North Jersey Media Group for 540 parking spaces at The Record's old headquarters in Hackensack while a new Justice Center is going up on the nearby courthouse lot. 

By Victor E. Sasson

For the second day in a row, The Record carries a glowing account of Governor Christie's successful weight loss, hoping readers will forget just how he got there (A-3).

After he took office in early 2010, Christie ballooned on a steady diet of beer and pizza, his favorite foods, while deflecting any media attempts to find out how much he weighed.

Then, in February, an obese, desperately unhealthy Christie -- nearly as big as one of those shore houses blown away by Sandy -- entered the hospital for secret weight-loss surgery.

He still refuses to disclose how much he weighs to The Record, which for years has ignored the GOP bully's total lack of discipline or self-control, whether at the dinner table or governing New Jersey.

Christie claims he has been working out all along, but the sad truth is only will power and a good diet leads to weight loss.

Political poison

What's the point of Staff Writer Herb Jackson's column on non-stop political ads in Virginia, and why is the column on the front page of a North Jersey newspaper (A-1)?

The only connection to the Garden State is the non-stop political columns in The Record that obscure the issues at stake in the Nov. 5 gubernatorial election.

The endless exploration of politics by Jackson and sidekick Charles Stile has poisoned coverage of the contest between Christie and state Sen. Barbara Buono, even as Trenton reporters continue to regurgitate unreliable polls. 

Cruz missile

If the federal government shuts down at midnight tonight, readers can blame The Record and all of the other media for giving prominent play and non-stop coverage to Tea Party crackpots, including the Canadian-born, half-Cuban Ted Cruz, the moronic senator from Texas (A-1).

Not a single reporter had the smarts to ask Cruz exactly how the Affordable Care Act is going to "hurt millions of Americans" or just whom is he talking about when he urged colleagues to de-fund health-care reform and come down "on the side of the American people."

I guess Cruz doesn't think the millions who will be getting health insurance for the first time are among "the American people."

Hackensack scoop

In Local today, Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza scooped other media on major Hackensack news -- two bricks dislodging from the facade of the Bristol House, one of the high-rises on Prospect Avenue (L-2).

Sforza thinks more bricks will follow, so the story notes the Bristol House is "across the street from the site of a massive parking-garage collapse three years ago."

Enough already

You have to search and search for the real story in Food Editor Esther Davidowitz's long-winded profile of Chef Steve Santoro, owner with his wife of Local Seasonal Kitchen in Ramsey (BL-1).

"People don't want grease, preservatives or hormones in their food," Santoro says.

Of course, there is no explanation from Davidowitz why The Record almost exclusively reviews restaurants that serve meat pumped up with antibiotics and growth hormones, but rarely levels with readers and exposes its low-quality.

Sadly, Davidowitz isn't much of a reporter or writer:

She notes the interview took place in the dining room of Local Seasonal Kitchen "while [Santoro's] wife of 26 years, Joan, and their 19-year-old son Marco, both of whom work at LSK, wandered nearby."

"Wandered"? Is that the best the food editor can do?

One reason the profile is so agonizingly long is that no one edited it and removed all the extraneous detail or asked Davidowitz to expand on such nonsense as "wandered nearby."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Losing weight and gaining credibility

This fading sign in the bathroom of an old NJ Transit rail car in New York's Penn Station -- part of the 4:31 express to Trenton on Friday afternoon -- includes an object below the lit cigarette that I can't identify. 

By Victor E. Sasson

A Page 1 story in The Record today suggests Governor Christie is gaining credibility as a presidential contender now that he has had successful weight-loss surgery.

The story appears to be part of the Woodland Park daily's campaign to groom Christie for a White House run while ignoring what a terrible job he has done as governor.

The breathless report by Staff Writers Scott Fallon and Melissa Hayes says "photos show a slimmer governor whose appearance is commented on by New Jerseyans almost everywhere he goes."

What is left unsaid is that before he lost weight, Christie's obesity repelled New Jerseyans almost everywhere he went, especially as his war on the middle class and minorities gained steam.

Unfortunately, Christie's battle of the bulge is one of the few readable stories in the Sunday edition, which is weighed down by Road Warrior and Mike Kelly columns.

Staff Writer John Cichowski, aka The Addled Commuter, seems to equate glare off the glass facade of a 47-story high-rise in Fort Lee with a nationwide death toll from sun glare he puts at 200 people a year, although his columns have been so inaccurate, I'm skeptical about that figure (L-1).

The Kelly column on the Opinion front rambles so much readers can't help noticing the shit-eating grin in his dated thumbnail photo. Neither columnist appears to get any sorely needed editing.

A letter to the editor about the accomplishments of Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli seems to be saying that The Record's Sept. 13 story, "Molinelli leaves a mixed record," was poorly researched and hastily written (O-3).

"FIRST COURSE," a new food feature in Better Living, appears to be a warmed over version of Marketplace, a round-up that ran in The Record's Food section when Pat Mack was editor (BL-2).

On the Better Living front, Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung rhapsodizes about two huge hunks of meat -- one a burned pork chop and the other a filet mignon bathed in an artery clogging bearnaise sauce that is guaranteed to send patients to North Jersey cardiac units (BL-1).

Talking about obesity, why would The Record assign Jerry Luciani, the grossly overweight graphics director, to cover a food and wine festival in the Caribbean (T-1)?

The absence of any prices in his Travel story suggests Luciani was comped, leaving readers to wonder how much of the glowing report is accurate and how much is payback to Turks and Caicos tourism officials.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Courts say Governor Christie is wrong for N.J.

An NJ Transit rail car in 1980 or 2013? This was one of the cars on the 4:31 local to Trenton from Manhattan on Friday afternoon.

By Victor E. Sasson

Page 1 of The Record today and Friday reports court rulings on affordable housing and gay marriage that reject Governor Christie's mean-spirited policies.

Now, voters can add those major issues to all of the other areas Christie has been wrong on:

Mass transit, hiking the minimum wage,  women's health, school breakfasts for low-income children, etc. etc .

Today, we received our mail-in ballots for the Nov. 5 election, and we will gladly be marking them to vote for Democrat Barbara Buono for governor and a constitutional amendment to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour.

Is Christie "Mr. Clean," as today's A-3 headline suggests?

What about the many assistant U.S. attorneys or cronies he named to jobs in his administration or at the Port Authority, which continues to soak drivers with exorbitant tolls and refuses to expand public transit -- all with Christie's approval?

On Friday's A-3, environmentalists note Christie's voodoo budget balancing included $850 million taken from clean-energy programs. What a guy.

On Friday's A-6, The Record reports a proposed $174,000 death benefit for the widow of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, the eighth-richest member of Congress at the time of his death in June.

But a reader knew about the tax-free benefit three days earlier, according to a letter to the editor published on Friday's A-20. Maybe he should be hired as a reporter.

Staff Writer John Cichowski continues to commit major errors in the Road Warrior column, even as he avoids addressing major commuting problems.

One glaring example in Friday's column on the Local front is his reporting that "roughly 200 people" are killed each years by drivers who are backing up vehicles.

In fact, the number of adults and children killed is closer to 292 annually, according to a concerned reader who created a Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers.

The only Thursday events worth reporting at the Bergen County Courthouse, one of the state's busiest, was the appearance of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers, and testimony in the titanic legal battle over the $800 million Hudson News inheritance (L-1 and L-5).

In Friday's Better Living, doesn't that huge hunk of presumably low-quality pork chop -- filled with harmful additives and burned to a crisp -- look appetizing (BL-20)?

It's another lukewarm restaurant review from Staff Writer Elisa Ung, who describes herself and a friend at Due in Ridgewood as "a pack of hungry lions."

So hungry that Ung managed to sample three desserts on top of all that artery clogging pork, beef and bacon.

Who wants to go to a restaurant that refunds only a fraction of the outrageous $23 charged for a chicken dish Ung describes as "so dry I could barely swallow the first bite; everything else stayed on the plate"?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Editing of stories is getting worse and worse

By Victor E. Sasson

I can remember when The Record's local-news editors grudgingly gave a few paragraphs to report the death of a woman in her 20s who was killed by a car crossing Kinderkamack Road.

An elderly driver who died when his car ran off Route 80 and hit a tree got the same treatment.

Who were they? Did they have survivors? No, the editors seemed to say, the young woman and old man were just chopped liver.

Today, in marked contrast, a report on the Local front goes into great detail about the death of a successful Korean immigrant who was killed by a car as she crossed the street in Dumont.

Two reporters worked on the story, as did an assignment editor, news editor, layout editor, copy editor, copy desk supervisor and page proofer.

But the story has a hole big enough to drive a truck through:

Was Eun Ok Jo,  63, the victim, in a crosswalk when she was struck by a small Toyota SUV?

Shouldn't every story about a pedestrian killed by a vehicle include that information, especially in view of the relatively new and controversial crosswalk law, which has been the subject of numerous Road Warrior columns?

The Dumont police chief is quoted, but apparently the reporters didn't bother asking him whether Mrs. Jo was in a crosswalk or even whether there is one where she was hit by the SUV.

The L-1 photo caption says the woman was walking "at East Madison Avenue and Howard Street" when she was run down shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The story reports the vehicle has diplomatic plates, but apparently the reporters also didn't ask whether Lucy Camargo-Cortes, the driver, was speeding or talking on a cellphone nor did they make any attempt to contact her, even though the chief said the SUV is owned by the U. S. State Department.

This is another major editing lapse under  Production Editor Liz Houlton, supervisor of the copy editors.

She may have been out of the Woodland Park newsroom shopping for a new dress or having her nails done.

When Houlton ran the old features copy desk, she missed so many problems she earned the dubious title of  "Queen of Errors."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Didn't Christie decision affect cost of Obamacare?

The vast majority of readers commute on NJ Transit buses and trains, not on jitneys, such as the one shown above, so why is The Record's John Cichowski spending so much time reporting on the so-called Spanish buses and so little effort addressing public transit problems that affect nearly all of us? See the Road Warrior column on L-1 today.

By Victor E. Sasson

I searched today's Page 1 story in The Record for Governor Christie' role in the cost of health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, but couldn't find even a mention of him.

The Woodland Park daily already reported that Christie's refusal to set up health-care exchanges in New Jersey would limit the choices that are expected to reduce costs dramatically in New York and other states.

Today, The Record's Lindy Washburn reports New Jerseyans will have fewer plans to choose from than residents of most other states -- and save less money -- "largely because only three insurance companies chose to participate in the new marketplace."

But there is no mention that Christie's decision to allow the federal government to set up the state's exchanges led to that limited choice.

Christie booster

Is this another example of Editor Marty Gottlieb sanitizing stories during the gubernatorial campaign to put the GOP bully in the best light possible?

That's what a campaign manager or a defense attorney does. It's certainly not what newspapers should do.

Deceptive TV ad

Readers have to turn to A-6 today, and search the story for reporting on a deceptive Christie TV ad that accuses challenger Barbara Buono of voting to raise "taxes and fees on hardworking New Jersey families" and then raise her own salary.

It turns out "hardworking New Jersey families" is a reference to millionaires who aren't paying a tax surcharge thanks to Christie's repeated vetoes.

And the raise in legislative salaries to $49,000 from $35,000 occurred more than a decade ago, was sponsored by a Christie ally and signed into law by a Republican governor, and raised the state executive's salary to its current $175,000.

Media won't help

Sadly, Buono can't rely on The Record and other media to get her message across that Christie is hiding his record of economic failure and attacks on the middle and working classes.

On A-2 today, out of the thousands of errors in Road Warrior columns in recent years, the editors correct the spelling of a reader's name.

'Zisa' is dirty word

The lead story in the Local news section today reports a settlement in "the most extensive" civil lawsuit brought against Hackensack and its infamous police chief, Ken Zisa, alleging "corruption, intimidation and retaliation" in the Police Department (L-1).

Zisa was convicted last year of official misconduct and insurance fraud, and the department is now being run by Police Director Mike Mordaga.

Stomach turning

The Record's mindless promotion of food trucks offering low-quality fare has landed a hot-dog vendor in hot water with the city of Englewood (L-6).

From Staff Writer Elisa Ung's rave Sunday column, readers might think Rosario D'Rivera was selling grass-fed filet mignon, not Sabrett beef hot dogs pumped full of harmful additives.

After the article appeared, Englewood ordered D'Rivera to move her Rosie's Weenie Wagon from a corner in the city's industrial section.

The real loser

"I lost an incredible amount of business, D'Rivera is quoted as saying, claiming she has only $20 in her pocket.

For that, she can thank Ung.

The overweight restaurant reviewer uses The Record's money to stuff her face and promote unhealthy food, and the merchant takes the heat and a big hit to her income. 

Don't you love newspapers?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mysterious removal of Ridgewood dirt is big news

Cubby's BBQ in Hackensack got a new sign last week, and now the steakhouse and ribs crib is offering "fresh salads."

By Victor E. Sasson

Few local news editors can compete with The Record's Deirdre Sykes.

Sykes, the long-time head assignment editor, has ordered photos of nearly every fender bender and non-fatal rollover accident in North Jersey, and her shots of downed utility poles may soon be submitted for a Pulitzer Prize.

Pole vaults

Today, like a dog sniffing for the urine of other canines, Sykes found big news in the removal of "several inches of soil around the base" of utility poles in Ridgewood (Local front).

The village's wealthy residents have few worries, but they've been obsessing lately over the installation of taller and stronger utility poles, and Sykes has ordered comprehensive coverage of the brouhaha.

Apparently, some Ridgewooders or Ridgewoodians have become alarmed about "staining that appears at the base of several recently installed utility poles," according to a PSE&G spokeswoman quoted on L-1 today.

This is a huge environmental story, and Sykes and her right-hand man, Dan Sforza, deserve kudos for another example of muckraking local journalism.

A fish called Marty

Another amazing local story appears on Page 1 today, where Editor Marty Gottlieb seems to be fascinated by a retiree who caught a fish from the Amazon in Passaic's Third Ward Veterans Memorial Park (A-1).

This story deserves a few paragraphs at best, but it grows and grows just like the length of a fish does in a good fish story.

Christie lover

Staff Writer Melissa Hayes can't say enough good things about Governor Christie, whom she appears to idolize.

Now, readers are doing a double take at her assertion in the first paragraph of an A-3 story that the GOP bully "has been open about his weight struggles."

This about a governor who has refused to disclose how much he weighs, and who hid his weight-loss surgery from the media until it was over.

A strong smell

And while The Record has endorsed Christie's "Stronger Than the Storm" campaign, an attorney at the Fair Share Housing Center in Cherry Hill notes:

"In Ocean County alone, 26,000 people are still displaced from their homes" (A-9) -- nearly a year after Superstorm Sandy.

Rich v. poor

The Local front today carries another long story about the Hudson News inheritance battle being waged by multimillionaires in Superior Court in Hackensack (L-1).

Staff Writer Kibret Markos continues to hammer home the contrast between plaintiff Samantha Perelman and defendant James Cohen, "and the everyday banality of medical malpractice, auto accidents and negligence cases."

Reporter ventures out

The byline of Staff Writer John Cichowski appears on L-2 today without his thumbnail Road Warrior photo and column logo.

To show how of out touch Cichowski is with the realities of traffic congestion, his first sentence is padded with a ridiculous statement:

"A state Assembly panel braved northern Hudson County's busy urban traffic Monday."

In his Sunday Road Warrior column, Cichowski also demonstrated his ignorance that traffic jams are everywhere when discussing a single intersection, according to a concerned reader's e-mail:

"Road Warrior falsely hypes traffic problems at Hackensack's Polifly Road and a Route 80 west exit, which he seems to be unaware of is just like dozens, if not hundreds, of intersections in Bergen County with similar traffic congestion.

"He also fails to realize that the increase in traffic accidents in this area was due to the significantly increased traffic, which he frequently reported was aggravated by the closure of the Route 17/Summit Avenue exit for more than 2 years.

"Road Warrior is not embarrassed to suggest some crazy ideas for this intersection, including a bridge flyover and red-light monitors, which even the Road Warrior's reporting shows is not supported by any crash reports, experience of local law enforcement officials or traffic safety engineers."
To read the full e-mail to the editors, click on the following link to the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Road Warrior is on the blink again

Elder news

See today's Better Living cover for a rare story about seniors who don't live in nursing homes (BL-1).

Unfortunately, The Record fails to tell seniors that some supplemental Medicare polices include a free membership in 24 Hour Fitness, Gold's and other gyms under the Silver Sneakers program.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Is today's local focus on Page 1 just a fluke?

A speeding pick-up truck being driven by a woman on the wrong side of Hudson Street in Little Ferry slammed into the front of an NJ Transit bus on Sunday afternoon, according to the bus driver, also a woman. The driver of the pick-up was taken to a hospital.

By Victor E. Sasson

For a Monday, the strong local focus of The Record's front page today is a revelation, but is it permanent?

What a difference. 

Readers don't have to suffer through a tortured political column from Herb Jackson in Washington or another endless analysis of a national or international story.

Still, the security forces' assault on a high-end shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, has no place on Page 1, especially when President Obama has renewed the call for gun reform after a mass shooting in the Capitol (A-3).

Shit galore  

As someone who has stepped in the shit left behind by lazy dog owners, I cheered the DNA testing of canines at a Riverdale condo complex (A-1). 

Don't you love Governor Christie's deceptive TV campaign ads, especially the latest one in Spanish (A-3)?

The GOP bully was careful to get Leo Cervantes -- the owner of a Mexican restaurant at the shore -- to praise him after stiffing all of state's low-wage servers and other workers when he vetoed a hike in the minimum wage.

Of course, Cervantes loves Christie for allowing him and other wealthy restaurant owners to cheat their workers and boost their profits.

How appropriate. Dog shit on A-1, bullshit on A-3.

I couldn't find an expanded local obituary in the Local section today or Sunday, but don't miss two wire-service obits about people you have never heard of on L-5.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Booker's color -- not sports -- shaped who he is

Creative zoning in Hackensack. You can barely fit a dozen gorditas between a Mexican restaurant and a home on East Broadway, above. Churchgoers can have their oil changed while they're praising the Lord, below.

By Victor E. Sasson

A young, smiling Cory Booker appears on the front page of The Record today -- a perfect example of America's growing diversity.

What's all this nonsense about Booker being molded by "North Jersey's gridirons"?

I guess Editor Marty Gottlieb doesn't want to shove Booker's color down the throats of the many racists who read The Record.

The Democratic Newark mayor and U.S. Senate candidate stands for all the liberal values rejected by Governor Christie and Booker's opponent, Tea Party crackpot Steve Lonegan.

Booker's real weakness is personal ambition. He should have taken on Christie in the gubernatorial election and sent the GOP bully packing.

Dated photo

Another smile appears on Page 1 today -- the shit-eating grin of Columnist Mike Kelly, whose dated, unflattering photo also appears a second time on the Opinion front (O-1).

Two Kelly columns in one edition. Thousands of readers are smacking their foreheads in disbelief.

When I saw an updated thumbnail photo of staffer Ginny Rohan last week, I thought that meant the editors would be updating photos of Kelly and others.

No such luck.

GOP vetoes

At the bottom of Page 1 today, a story on the liberal use of vetoes by Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan reminds readers of another Republican who loves to veto, Christie.

When are we going to see that story, giving a lie to Christie's portrayal of himself as a great compromiser?

Two of his mean-spirited vetoes killed a hike in the minimum wage and a tax surcharge on millionaires that could have raised an estimated $1 billion.

Law breakers

On the front of Local, Road Warrior John Cichowski again demonizes red-light cameras, calling them "the modern-day equivalent of highway robbery" (L-1).

How irresponsible can Cichowski get?

Of course, The Addled Commuter hides the fact that most red-light violators are speeders, and that speeding is the leading cause of crash deaths and injuries.

Many sane drivers wish there were red-light cameras at every intersection, and can't wait for the authorities to install cameras to catch speeders, tailgaters and other maniacs on the parkway and turnpike, too.

The Borg family might even want to install cameras in the Woodland Park newsroom to catch staffers whose bylines are as rare as a blue moon.

Crappy food corner

Check out The Corner Table column on the front of Better Living today, glorifying a food truck in Englewood that sells low-quality Sabrett beef hot dogs pumped full of harmful antibiotics, growth hormones and preservatives (BL-1).

Staff Writer Elisa Ung is the fine-dining restaurant reviewer, but she could care less about how the food she promotes is raised or grown, and simply can't resist all the junk out there.

Hot dog "entrepreneur" Rosario D'Rivera calls her truck "Rosie's Weenie Wagon," a weird sexual image from a woman.

Ung turns today's column into a profile of D'Rivera, and we even learn she is the sister of Paquito D'Rivera, the great Cuban jazz saxophonist, but the so-called food journalist tells us nothing about the hot dogs.

You say you don't eat meat? Go to hell, Ung says.

Crossing a line

A freelance reporter for AIM Vernon, one of the many weeklies published by North Jersey Media Group, was fired after she spoke up at a Township Council meeting she was covering.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti, 60, ran for council in 2008, 2009 and 2011, according to Editor & Publisher.

Click on the following link to read the entire E&P story:

A Matter of Principles

When I was a reporter at The Record, I recall reading the newspaper's policy barring staffers from running for public office or engaging in politics.

Is that policy still in effect? Does it apply to freelancers?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

GOP radicals deserve swift kick, not banner headlines

Our tax dollars at work. Hackensack Fire Department equipment producing these geysers were parked between Costco Wholesale and Pep Boys on Monday, near the Hackensack River, above and below.

By Victor E. Sasson

The Record and other media love conflict, as today's lead Page 1 story on Tea Party crackpots demonstrates.

Why don't newspaper, radio and TV reporters challenge Republican claims that the Affordable Care Act is a "train wreck" and a "job killer," instead of merely quoting such nonesense?

And contradicting such prominent play is an editorial condemning Friday's vote in the GOP-led House of Representatives:

Withhold funding for health-care reform while keeping the federal government up and running, temporarily, is called "one of the most irresponsible votes in recent memory" (A-13).

Where is the reporting that Governor Christie's refusal to set up the law's health-care exchanges will lead to less competition among insurance providers and reduce the savings of New Jerseyans who buy coverage starting on Oct. 1?

Sandy and Chris

Isn't it strange that state Sen. Barbara Buono -- not the media -- managed to find Sandy victims who haven't gotten a penny of federal aid nearly a year after the superstorm (A-3)?

Editor Marty Gottlieb should have put the Buono campaign story and a story on the $25 million state-revenue shortfall (A-4) outside -- replacing Tea Party antics and another crappy sports column.

OK. That wouldn't square with Gottlieb's effort to put Christie's bid for a second term in the best light, even if that means bending the facts.

Miguel Perez

A story on L-3 today rehabilitates the image of former Record reporter Miguel Perez, a Cuban exile who was stripped of his column when then-editor Francis "Frank" Scandale decided the newsroom was too diverse.

Scandale also ended the columns of Lawrence Aaron, who is black, and Elaine D'Aurizio, the only female news columnist at the time.

Spanish conflict 

Today's story also inadvertently reveals how little diversity exists in Woodland Park when reporter Monsy Alvarado blurts out:

"I am one of two reporters who speak Spanish at The Record. There is a need for more people like me, who speak Spanish...."

Perez also was one of the few Spanish-speaking staffers, leading Scandale to create a real conflict of interest by assigning the rabidly anti-Castro reporter to cover Cuba and the large exile community in North Jersey.

About Hackensack 

In Hackensack news today, Police Director Michael Mordaga is barring officers from being paid to do residency fraud investigations for the school district (L-1).

Also, see Regina DiPasqua's letter to the editor on the Hackensack school district's refusal to pay the city about $1 million for a school resource officer (A-13).

On Friday, another letter to the editor, from Howard Vogel of Fair Lawn, urges voters "to fire" Christie in November "and let him campaign for president on his own time and with his own money" (Friday's A-18). Amen.

Friday's Local section continues the blow-by-blow coverage of two multimillionaires' legal battle over the Hudson News empire (Friday's Local front).

Get me rewrite

John Cichowski's Road Warrior column on Friday rehashed an earlier column, according to an e-mail from a concerned reader:

"In his Friday column, the Road Warrior takes the exact same information from his Wednesday column and shuffles it around to report the exact same information about less transportation funding for urban counties v. rural counties in New Jersey.

"Either The Record management and Road Warrior are totally clueless about what they previously reported or they think and do not care that their readers might actually remember what they read in the Road Warrior columns.

"What is even stranger is that all of the surprising news in his two columns took place seven months ago.

"The Road Warrior actually did report some new information. He was stunned that 70 per cent of New Jerseyans live in only 50 per cent of its counties, as if that is newsworthy."

Read the full e-mail on the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:

Road Warrior should get out more

Drive, she said

See Friday's Better Living tab for a lukewarm, 2-star  review of 15 Grand American Bistro in far-off Montvale (BL-18).

It appears as if Vincent Giambona, co-owner of a popular Fort Lee restaurant, opened this "updated, upscale diner" to shorten his commute from his home in River Vale.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Editors obsess over the wealthy and well-off

Hackensack residents continue to see the property tax burden shifting to them as Bergen County embarks on a mini building boom. Construction has begun on a new Justice Center and a few blocks away, on a maintenance and fuel-storage depot, above, opposite the county homeless shelter. Both will be tax exempt.

By Victor E. Sasson

Laboring under Production Editor Liz Houlton, The Record's copy editors still haven't mastered the art of headline writing, as today's Page 1 story on household income demonstrates.

"N.J. may have turned a corner"

Why use the weak phrase "may have"? Did it or didn't it?

And "N.J." only shows the editors' bias for the wealthy, because, as the second paragraph reports, "the number of people in poverty rose" to 934,900 from 897,400.

Another error

There is a second copy editing problem on Page 1 today -- a misplaced time element in the first paragraph about the World Trade Center brand name.

The $10 sale of the brand name was shameful "nearly three decades ago," not "on Wednesday."

The paragraph should have begun, "The Port Authority's top executive on Wednesday called ...."

Of course, the story doesn't say whether the Port Authority will use any of the money recovered through an investigation to expand mass transit or slow the pace of toll increases.

Ridgewood, Queens?

What is a Ridgewood story doing in the A-section, which is usually reserved for state, national and international news (A-8)?

On that same page, the photo caption writer failed to say the skyline is in Manhattan.

A pack of lawyers

More news of the wealthy appears on the front of Local, with another long story about the legal battle over the estate of Hudson News founder Robert Cohen (L-1).

And all of these words were triggered by "pretrial motions."

Two big photos shows the battling millionaires staring at the camera -- James Cohen of Alpine and his niece, Samantha Perelman, two spoiled silver spoons who have hired a total of 15 lawyers to duke it out in Hackensack.

How bored Cohen and Perelman look.

The breathless coverage is being provided by Staff Writer Kibret Markos, the full-time Bergen County Courthouse reporter who ignores 99.67% of the civil suits filed there and spends most of his time on smoking breaks outside the 10 Main St. entrance.

Slice of life

Want a good laugh?

Another L-1 story claims Mazur's Bakery was "the only place many residents of Lyndhurst and nearby communities have ever bought bread and cake."

That's ridiculous. Maybe it was the taste of "rodents, cats and insect, as well as encrusted flour and food debris on equipment" that made them so loyal.

More 'rich' news

The only expanded local obituary today is about a wealthy real estate executive, Stanley H. Marcus (L-6).

And no edition would be complete without a report on the millions of dollars in tax breaks Governor Christie is giving wealthy business owners -- with no job creation expected in return (L-8).

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