Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reporters, editors, sources say the stupidest things

Road Warrior John Cichowski is back today, again making excuses for the slow pace of pothole repairs, this time on Route 4 and environs. In the process, the befuddled reporter misspells the name of Hackensack's upscale shopping center -- just one of the errors that sailed past The Record's six-figure production editor, Liz Houlton.


That apologist, Columnist Charles Stile, is back on Page 1 of The Record today, claiming Governor Christie "successfully" cast himself as a "reformer, fiscal hawk [and] champion of the beleaguered middle class."

"Successfully"? That goes against any objective standard:

The state economy is a wreck, job creation lags, local property tax increases continue to hit the middle class and New Jersey can't even afford to fill potholes expeditiously.

Playing dumb

Stile's column on Christie's second-term "narrative" is among the stupid things that have been coming out of the mouths of reporters, editors and news sources recently.

In Wednesday's paper, another big Christie fan, Staff Writer Melissa Hayes, ended her story on a Sandy aid town meeting in Toms River by saying one questioner asked "how the Affordable Care Act would affect senior citizens on Medicare" (Wednesday's A-6).

Hayes doesn't seem to know the answer: That seniors are unaffected and are still covered by Medicare, and that the act expands the pool of people under 65 who are eligible for Medicaid.

Nor, apparently, does the reporter know or care that Christie accepted federal money to expand Medicaid coverage in New Jersey, while he sabotaged the roll-out of the federal health-care program for everyone else by refusing to set up a state exchange.

So, she allows the GOP bully to take a potshot at President Obama, reporting Christie "suggested voters elect a new president."

Of course, before Bridgegate and Tollgate, Christie likely would have suggested they elect him president.

Cops and doughnuts

Retiring police chiefs continue to get away with murder -- at the expense of taxpayers.

A front-page story today reports the borough of Cliffside Park hid tens of thousands of dollars going to Chief Donald Keane, and it took a lawsuit by North Jersey Media Group to uncover the details -- a total package of more than $262,000 (A-1).

When is the last time The Record blasted Christie for giving a pass to local, doughnut-chomping police chiefs when he placed a ceiling of $175,000 on the salaries of school superintendents?

And the paper could urge towns to follow Hackensack's example and appoint a police director, such as Mike Mordaga, who cracked down on quality-of-life and drug crimes in his first year. He is paid $150,000 a year.

Euclid Avenue in Hackensack.

Holes in his head

Road Warrior John Cichowski is likely one of the stupidest and laziest reporters at The Record, constantly using words improperly, exaggerating reality and failing even to accurately report the MVC regulations that he cites so obsessively.

Today, he writes about "incessant" traffic lights on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Paterson, and "silky" road conditions (L-1).

Is he smoking medical marijuana for his early Alzheimer's?

A photo caption with his column today describes "potholes riddling" the Garden State Plaza parking lot, although only one large crater is clearly visible (L-1).

It's more likely errors are "riddling" today's column.

And on L-7, Cichowski misspells The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack as "The Shoppes at Riverside," an embarrassing mistake given all the copy devoted to mall retailers whose advertising revenue enriches the Borg publishing family.

No apology, no blame

Today, Cichowski reports the state Department of Transportation "offers no apology" for all of the unfilled potholes on Route 4 and other highways.

But none of his three "black hole" columns have explained whether money from the state Transportation Trust Fund could speed pothole repairs, if the fund wasn't bankrupt and Christie didn't refuse to raise the low gas tax that feeds it.

Readers shouldn't hold their breath for Cichowski to act like a real columnist and blast state and local officials for the half-assed job they have done fixing potholes.

A recent editorial approved by Editor Alfred P. Doblin said cavalierly that no one is to blame for unfilled potholes. 

The state and towns don't have the money? Give us long-suffering taxpayers a break.

Sleeping editors

In Better Living today, the editors managed to find a new restaurant that tries to address customers' concerns about the harmful animal antibiotics and growth hormones used to raise beef, pork and other meat (BL-1 and BL-3).

Amore Tuscan Grille in Englewood Cliffs serves a "wild board stew" with polenta ($28).

For that typo, someone should take a board to the ample derriere of Production Editor Liz Houlton, who gets paid six figures to catch such boo-boos.


  1. Hayes doesn't do any critical analysis, she is just a stenographer for Christie.

    1. That's sad, and even sadder if that direction is coming from her editor.


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