By VICTOR E. SASSON
Today's front-page headline on The Record's story about ex-boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is confusing.
The trite main headline says Carter "loses his final bout," but the sub-headline notes he "fought years to clear his name and died a free man."
The writer assumes readers knew Carter had prostate cancer, which apparently was "his final bout."
Still, "final bout" is too close to "fought years to clear his name," and the headline writer failed to communicate Carter's death clearly.
Even more disturbing is The Record and other media always reporting that a subject "lost his/her battle" with the disease that killed them.
Judging from John Artis, Carter's friend and co-defendant in a triple-murder trial, it wasn't much of a battle.
"I'm sad he is gone, but relieved that the pain and suffering is over. There will be no more pain," Artis says (A-6).
This story has other problems of sloppy caption writing and lazy reporting.
On the continuation page, a caption notes, "Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter knocking out Italian Fabio Bettini in Paris in 1965 (A-6).
Yet the photo show both men in the ring, and no contact, hardly what you'd describe as "knocking out."
Even worse is the silly sidebar by Staff Writer Jim Norman, who was assigned to see what had changed at the Lafayette Grill nearly 50 years after the murders that led to the wrongful conviction of Carter and Artis (A-6).
In keeping with The Record's slanted coverage of Paterson as a hell on earth, Norman claims "the neighborhood has changed over the nearly half-century that has left much of Paterson crumbling into dust."
Where has this reporter been?
Hasn't he ever visited the Eastside's glorious mansions; the city's Great Falls or the bustling Middle Eastern bazaar known as South Paterson?
Shame on Norman and shame on the Woodland Park daily for continuing to mine all of Paterson's negativity while ignoring the Silk City's many attractions.
Another front-page story today -- on the death of 76-year-old Dolores Bellina in a Carlstadt house fire -- never asks or answers a natural question:
Did the woman, who lived alone, smoke (A-1)?
Governor Christie's decision on whether to keep New Jersey Chief Justice Stewart Rabner is still about five weeks away, according to Staff Writer Charles Stile's column on Page 1 today.
Stile has written this column about Christie's image numerous times by just changing names and situations, but fails to deliver what every reader wants from a columnist:
A strong opinion.