Thursday, March 5, 2015

Failed columnists provide warped views of New Jersey

Snow is falling in Hackensack's Fairmount section.


I suppose readers are thankful Columnist Mike Kelly of The Record is not plugging his latest book or once again exploring events that date to the late 1990s.

But many of them also are rolling their eyes over the veteran reporter's declaration that Governor Christie was "clearly not in campaign mode" at a town hall meeting in Fair Lawn on Wednesday (A-1 and A-6).

Kelly has been writing an opinion column since 1988, but rarely offers an opinion about anything, including Christie.

In a letter to the editor today, Frank Gunsberg of Englewood makes Kelly seem like the fool he is:

"Aside from losing his focus as governor by being out of state most of the time while he chases his political dreams, by every barometer Christie has been a terrible governor. It is time for him to resign," Gunsberg says (A-8).

Kelly, on the other hand, continues to push around thousands of words to little effect, so desperate for a fresh perspective he seizes on a single public appearance to christen a new Christie, even though the GOP bully is expected to declare his candidacy soon.

And readers must be wondering why Editor Martin Gottlieb is wasting precious front-page space on a Kelly column that does little more than duplicate the Melissa Hayes news story displayed next to it (A-1) 

We're not buying Christie's or Kelly's bullshit. It's time for the columnist to resign, too.

More Cichowksi errors

Today, Staff Writer John Cichowski's Road Warrior column reports that at least 17 vehicles were damaged by a "3-foot crater" on Route 95 in Ridgefield Park (L-1).

Ridgefield Park is about 6 miles from the George Washington Bridge.

But the reporter refers to a pothole "in a local lane ... approaching the George Washington Bridge" (L-1), this despite exits for Route 46 west, Teaneck, Englewood, Leonia and Fort Lee, all short of the bridge.

Cichowski also quotes drivers "interviewed on a morning television broadcast," leading the reporter to launch into a roundup of other bad roads and ramps in the region.

Added confusion

He claims Paula Rogovin "simply continued over the GWB on what she dubs 'the evil ramp' that takes her to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge ...."

That's inaccurate and a physical impossibility: 

The GWB and RFK bridges are more than 7 miles apart via the Harlem River Drive in Manhattan, so no "ramp" could take her to the latter, once known as the Triborough Bridge.

Not only that, but if Rogovin got on Route 95 in Teaneck (the reporter calls her "the Teaneck motorist"), the "stalled" traffic in the local lanes she watched "open mouthed" couldn't have been caused by a pothole behind her in Ridgefield Park.

This discrepancy once again demonstrates that Cichowski fabricates details to help his narrative.

Unlearned lesson

The disoriented Cichowski also inadvertently mocks himself in today's column, declaring one driver had ignored "a basic grade-school lesson: Remembering what you learned yesterday can keep you out of trouble today." 

The veteran reporter long ago abandoned the duty of every journalist -- "Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy" -- and often repeats errors from past columns, even though he has been corrected by the editor of the Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers.

Cichowksi doesn't even know where the drivers who damaged, wheels, tires, shock absorbers and springs will be going for repairs (L-2).

He refers to "estimators at auto-body shops" and "annoying bills" for "mechanical sundries."


A brief report on the same pothole that was the focus of the Road Warrior column appears on North

Pothole takes out more than a dozen cars

But the online report says the pothole was "around mile marker 119," not the 117.4 reported by Cichowski, and there is no mention of the GWB approach.

Also, the report refers to "about 15 cars," not the "at least 17" vehicles in the Road Warrior column.

The online report was updated at 8:02 a.m. today.

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