Saturday, March 7, 2015

Decades of no change in racism, corruption, judiciary

Let's hope warmer temperatures melt the ice and snow covering the sidewalk on this corner near Target in Hackensack before a pedestrian breaks his neck.


The Record's front page today carries three stories that suggest little has changed in decades when it comes to racism, official corruption and high legal fees that deny access to the courts.

Recent attacks on President Obama by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other Republicans show racism is alive and well 50 years after "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Ala. (A-1).

An indictment naming U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., will expose the corrupt system of campaign financing, but probably not change the way The Record and other media ignore the need for reforms (A-1).

The Page 1 story on the retirement of Bergen County Assignment Judge Peter E. Doyne was written for other judges and lawyers, not for the public, including people who can't afford high legal fees (A-1).

In fact, Doyne is returning to the private practice of law for the "money" -- legal fees of hundreds of dollars an hour that appear to be completely unregulated by the judiciary.

Staff Writer Kibret Markos, who once covered the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, is himself a lawyer, but you won't find any details his Doyne story -- certainly not his salary as an assignment judge or the hourly fee he is expected to command when he joins a Hackensack law firm.

In fact, in all the years Markos has reported on multi-million dollar legal settlements and jury awards, he never told readers about the substantial amount lawyers always raked off the top. 

Herb Jackson

Another Record reporter is in the news today, Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson, who is described on A-3 today as "a face that has for years struck fear into the hearts of North Jersey politicians."

What a joke. What can you expect? That lead paragraph was written by a Record reporter in Woodland Park, Stephanie Akin.

Jackson's selective memory doesn't strike fear in politicians' hearts; it gladdens them.

That certainly was the case before the November election when Hackensack lawyer Roy Cho campaigned against Rep. Scott Garrett, the crackpot conservative from the 5th District.

In a major front-page story, Jackson somehow forgot to mention that Garrett initially opposed billions in federal aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

To impress Jackson, all you have to do is raise a ton of special interest money to crush your opponents.

In fact, his coverage of an incumbent and challenger is directly in proportion to how much money they raise -- the incumbent usually gets the lion's share of his attention, because the reporter isn't interested in issues-oriented stories.

How else to explain that the first thing Jackson tells you about Menendez today is that the Cuban-American senator is "a prolific campaign fundraiser" (A-1).

Local schools

Readers might be questioning the poor job some school officials do to safeguard students after reading today's Page 1 story on a fifth-grader who jumped to his death (A-1).

The death of a 10-year-old from Dumont follows that of a 7-year-old killed by a falling table in January at a school in New Milford.

Local news

Head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes and her deputy, Dan Sforza, continue to struggle to fill their thin section with legitimate news (L-1 to L-6).

Today, they needed two filler photos of minor accidents (L-2 and L-3), and a long wire service obituary for an obscure documentary film maker (L-6).

On the Local front, Staff Writer Melissa Hayes reports on Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck attending "a summit" to develop "policies to bolster the middle class."

That's in stark contrast to Hayes' full-time job of covering Governor Christie, who is famous for policies that are destroying the middle class in New Jersey, though you certainly don't know it from any of her stories.

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