Saturday, April 19, 2014

Editors are exploiting every misery in Paterson

As commuters streamed by on a chilly spring day this week, homeless men and women warmed themselves with coffee inside the main NJ Transit entrance of Penn Station in Manhattan.


I pity readers who rely on The Record of Woodland Park for their knowledge of Paterson, a pioneering industrial center that harnessed the power of the Great Falls and immigrant workers to earn the title of "Silk City."

Under former Editor Francis "Frank" Scandale, Paterson was most often portrayed as a drug bazaar that lured white suburbanites, many of whom overdosed and met untimely deaths.

In a boneheaded decision, Scandale even ran a map showing readers where they could find drug dealers, and never put the city's Police Department on the spot for lax enforcement.

Editor Marty Gottlieb exploited that same Paterson theme in a 2013 series on North Jersey's heroin epidemic, and the stories were among the finalists in this year's Pulitzer Prize competition.

Drive-by shootings and murders, spectacular and often deadly fires in slum dwellings, failing schools, greedy public officials, South Paterson as the neighborhood that harbored 9/11 hijackers -- every negative has been exploited by The Record's editors to sell papers.

Today, Page 1 screams about "shocking ... blood and cruelty" after two people were arrested for running a dog-fighting ring and 21 pit bulls were rescued by Paterson's John DeCando, North Jersey's most-visible animal control officer (A-1).

Race based?

Another front-page story today doesn't discuss the racial makeup of Ramapo, N.Y., where Ford Motor Co. has been ordered to remove "almost all of the toxic paint sludge" the automaker dumped there decades ago, in contrast to a plan to cap much more Ford waste a few miles away in Ringwood. (A-1).

Readers have no way of knowing whether the Rockland County, N.Y., town is being treated differently than the Upper Ringwood neighborhood, because of discrimination against mixed-race Ramapoughs who live in the North Jersey community.

GWB scandal

Readers who have called on The Record and other media "to move on" and stop writing about the George Washington Bridge scandal were greeted by another front-page story today that explores for the first time lawyer David Samson's influence in the Christie administration (A-1).

Samson has been called a mentor and father figure to Governor Christie, who named the lawyer chairman of the Port Authority, where he ran interference for clients of his law firm, Wolff & Samson.

The powerful lawyer is among members of Christie's inner circle who resigned in the wake of allegations of political retribution against Democrats in the months before last November's election.

Christ and potholes

The Local section today manages to wrap up in a single story Easter, the suffering of Christ and how an actor injured himself on a Paterson pothole that hasn't been repaired weeks after the end of a brutal winter (L-1).

Why does it take a Good Friday procession to get the editors to dramatize the danger of all of those still-gaping potholes on streets and highways in North Jersey? 

Second looks

The Record's lazy local-news editors ran a Page 1 story on Thursday, praising Hackensack Police Officer Victor Vazquez for saving the life of an elderly woman, arresting a suspect in a violent robbery and assisting in the arrest of two drug suspects on Route 80.

But the story wasn't based on original reporting. 

Jerry DeMarco's ran a piece on the cop's exploits two days earlier. 

Meanwhile, a concerned reader e-mailed managers and editors of The Record, reporting that Road Warrior John Cichowski "confused and misled readers in his Sunday and Tuesday columns about the dangers, state regulations and a recent crackdown on driving while talking or texting on handheld cellphones."

See the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers, which chronicles all of the befuddled reporter's many errors in these and past columns:

More errors on a familiar Road Warrior theme

Facts can't curb out-of-control Road Warrior


  1. Out of curiosity, when was the last time you were in Paterson north of Route 80?

    1. What does that have to do with the paper's slanted coverage?


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