Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Editors miss big story about legal system

This pothole on Euclid Avenue in Hackensack was photographed on Feb. 23, but still hasn't been repaired. I called the Department of Public Works and was told crews are filling holes, but permanent repairs can't be made until warmer weather arrives.


A Page 1 photo in The Record today shows a man in rumpled clothing who could stand in for tens of thousands of litigants who have been made poorer by high legal fees.

Although the editors say Governor Christie is paying $650 an hour to his Bridgegate lawyer, the paper has never explored a system with no apparent ceiling on legal fees paid by ordinary people who face age, race or employment bias or who file other civil suits.

And those high fees deny access to the courts for thousands of people with legitimate grievances.

Rewarding lawyers

Today, a front-page story discusses all of the judicial vacancies Christie has left unfilled, including 21 in Essex County, causing case backlogs (A-1).

But the story doesn't explain those backlogs delay the cases of plaintiffs who then have to shell out even more money in legal fees, playing into the hands of lawyers like Christie.

Screwing up the legal system is the latest accomplishment of the GOP bully, the worst governor New Jersey has ever had.

High legal fees

Staff Writer Kibret Markos, who covers the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, has ignored high legal fees in just about every story he's written about lawsuits.

And Markos never tells readers that plaintiffs only collect part of those huge multi-million dollar  jury awards that make headlines, with a significant portion going to the lawyers.

None of this is surprising, given the propensity of the Borg family, which publishes The Record, to sue people for alleged copyright infringement, forcing them to spend many thousands of dollars to defend themselves.

North Jersey Media Group also regularly employs lawyers from firms in New Jersey and New York, paying them hundreds of dollars an hour to file suits to enforce open-records laws and for other purposes.

Maybe the Borgs get a discount when they run favorable publicity about Pashman Stein, the Hackensack law firm they employ frequently.

Media negativity

Staff Writer Virginia Rohan panned Ellen DeGeneres' performance as host of the Oscars on Sunday night, but today, the paper reports the broadcast drew the most watchers since 2004 and that a "selfie" by actor Bradley Cooper crashed Twitter (A-4).

Was Rohan merely indulging in the kind of negativity the media seem to love, finding fault with nearly everything and often failing to report anything  positive?

Editors' favorites

Of course, the editors do have favorites, including Christie and Rep. Scott Garrett, the conservative crackpot who represents the 5th District in Congress, including the liberal bastions of Hackensack, Fair Lawn and part of Teaneck.

Today, an Opinion piece by Garrett appears on A-9, where he decries "government intrusion" in food choices and other consumer issues. 

Hey, give me a break. Garrett, you may remember, initially opposed President Obama's offer of billions of dollars to help Sandy victims in New Jersey.

I keep misspelling his last name as "Garret," as in the mountain near the Woodland Park newsroom, and that's likely because every word out of his mouth adds to a mountain of mean-spirited bullshit.

More headlines

On L-6 today, two local obituaries appear, retelling the lives of a Lodi High School coach and a state police veteran who got plenty of headlines when they were alive (L-7).

What about the unknown, unsung people who led interesting lives? Don't they deserve some special attention?

More bad reporting

Rohan is back today with way too much information about "the evolution" of Matthew McConaughey, who won the best actor Oscar on Sunday night (BL-1).

What a waste of space. I would like to have seen second thoughts on her harsh assessment of DeGeneres in Monday's paper.

I especially found curious the reporter professed to be puzzled -- she wrote, "Huh?" -- when the daytime talk show host told the audience they would be considered racists, if "12 Years a Slave" didn't win the Oscar for best picture.

Obviously, that was a reference to academy members rejecting a film with a black director, a black screenwriter and a largely black cast that is a clear condemnation of slavery, which enriched whites and drove the country into civil war. 

Hilarious pizza bit

And I can't fathom Rohan's claim that there was no payoff after DeGeneres ordered pizzas, said she didn't have any money and asked Hollywood bigs to fork over some cash.

Harvey Weinstein, the homeliest studio head in Hollywood, handed her a couple of big bills, and actor Brad Pitt also contributed to the pot.

Instead of wasting space on the "evolution" of an actor, The Record's editor, Marty Gottlieb, should run a long piece on the "devolution" of Christie, and explain why he deserved reelection last year.

And let's hope that if Gottlieb assigns such a story, he picks someone who isn't as dim-witted as Rohan.


  1. Are you sure that's a pothole at the top of today's post? It looks more like an ancient Hackensack Native American burial ground, which would explain why it hasn't been touched.

  2. Chief Oratam is on the city seal, and lots of Hackensack looks like an ancient Indian burial ground, unfortunately.


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