By VICTOR E. SASSON
In The Record newsroom, the local editors' contempt for bus riders knows no bounds.
For decades, coverage of snow removal routinely ignored blockaded bus stops, and long lines of NJ Transit riders snaking through Manhattan's midtown bus terminal became a laugh line at news meetings.
In the months and years after Staff Writer Karen Rouse was assigned the transportation beat, she couldn't find time to report on NJ Transit's creaking local buses, patronized mostly by minorities who can't afford to buy cars.
Now -- five days after the problem was reported on TV news -- The Record's front page catches up to dangerous snow mounds blocking riders' access to bus stops along Route 4 in Hackensack and Route 3 in Clifton.
Where was Dan Sforza, head of the local-news assignment desk, hiding out in a bathroom stall with one of the New York tabloids?
Where was Editor Marty Gottlieb, editing another one of those interminable Page 1 stories about the "bromance" between Governor Christie and some other GOP moron?
Where were Rouse and Road Warrior John Cichowski?
Christie love fest
Meanwhile, Gottlieb sent Staff Writer Melissa Hayes to Chicago to cover Christie's fund-raising trip as head of the Republican Governors Association (A-3).
Hayes, one of the governor's biggest boosters, uses a well-worn media device to blunt criticism of Christie -- putting the harsh assessment in the mouth of a Democrat:
"Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat who made the trip to Chicago, described Christie as a 'political bully,' questioning how he couldn't know what some of his closest aides were doing" when they closed Fort Lee access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, Hayes reports.
Millions have been wondering the same thing, and readers wonder why The Record's reporters and editorial writers have been so blind to Christie's many faults since he took office in 2o10.
Three days ago, former Record staffer Tom Moran, now a member of The Star-Ledger's editorial board, said the paper's endorsement of Christie during the fall election campaign is "regrettable."
"Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn’t know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno."
Some of the worst headlines I've seen appeared today in The Record's Sports section: