Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Exxon deal, roads are bigger stories than vaccinations

Gasoline prices below $2 a gallon are just a memory. Take that, drivers of gas-guzzling SUVs who speed and hog the road.


Today's front page exposes Editor Martin Gottlieb of The Record to charges he is a slave to the conservative agenda adopted by Governor Christie and congressional Republicans.

Four of the five main elements on A-1 cast such issues as vaccinating schoolchildren, a pollution settlement and a nuclear deal with Iran in strictly partisan terms -- Republicans v. Democrats.

Gottlieb even legitimizes a crackpot group's wildly distorted estimates of road building and maintenance costs in New Jersey in an effort to kill any gas-tax increase (A-1).

Leading the paper with the so-called controversy over vaccinations is bewildering.

Ugly politics

The real controversies involve Governor Christie caving in to Exxon Mobil, and the transportation crisis brought on by the GOP bully's refusal to raise the gasoline tax to repair roads, bridges and rails.

One example of how politics is allowed to influence many of The Record's stories is today's report on the proposed $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil Corp. for $8.9 billion in damages (A-1).

Staff Writers Scott Fallon and James O'Neill write almost the entire story as a battle between Democrats and Christie's party.

They note "Christie's practice of siphoning funds from environmental settlements to close state budget gaps instead of using the money for restoration efforts" (A-6). 

But in a related story at the bottom of the same page (A-6), O'Neill quotes a Democrat, Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, on Christie's money grab, casting it as a partisan issue.

Of course, this and just about every other story neglects to point out the state's ongoing fiscal crisis is caused by Christie's refusal to impose a tax surcharge on millionaires and raise the gas tax, two moves that would raise billions of dollars.

'Breaking news'

In his Feb. 22 column bestowing 2015 Black Hole Awards, Road Warrior John Cichowski neglected to warn drivers about numerous potholes on Route 4 west.

In today's column, the confused reporter is Johnny-come-Lately for two drivers I know who lost a total of five tires on that highway between Englewood and Hackensack (L-1).

Cichowski isn't the only disoriented reporter in the Woodland Park newsroom.

Staff Writer Hugh Morley insists the Tesla Motors showroom he visited (and wrote about in December) is on "Route 17 west" in Paramus (L-7).

Of course, that highway runs north and south.

How did his editor, a news editor, a copy editor and their supervisors miss that blatant error?


  1. Exxon Mobil =


    1. Just because companies and law firms run their names together doesn't mean others should.

  2. It's a matter of style

    1. Not my style. Exxon has long been a scourge. Remember the Exxon Valdez? I've been boycotting the company since then. The New Jersey case has been in the courts since 1977.


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