Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary's biggest obstacle is media's love of controversy

The cellphone lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queen is where drivers of limos and black cars go to die. The other Port Authority airports, Newark and La Guardia, have nothing like it.


Now that Hillary Clinton is a candidate for president in 2016 the news media represent her biggest obstacle.

The media's obsession with controversy likely will mean an endless parade of stories like the nonsense from The Washington Post on The Record's front page today (A-1).

I laughed at a story The Record carried last week claiming Hillary will have trouble convincing voters she is "fresh and different."

Voters don't want "fresh and different" candidates like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

They want someone like Clinton who is experienced in leading -- she was the first to propose national health care -- not the parade of Republican candidates intent on stripping seniors of their entitlements.

The media are so bored with elections they portray every one as a horse race, and their reliance on the sound bite is irresponsible.

Lazy coverage

You just have to look at what has happened to election coverage at The Record in the last two decades.

Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza, the lazy local assignment editors, stopped covering uncontested elections long ago, and school board contests are reduced to briefs.

In Hackensack, less than a sixth of registered voters turn out for council elections and even fewer bother with the April election for school board, ensuring the latter is filled with incompetents.

Herb Jackson and the paper's Trenton staff devote major coverage in statewide and congressional elections to the candidates who have raised the most special-interest money.

In a major front page story last year, Jackson even omitted conservative Republican Rep. Scott Garrett's initial opposition to federal aide for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Rare is a story discussing how the candidates stand on the issues, resulting in tremendous voter apathy, such as the record low voter turnout in the last gubernatorial election in New Jersey.

Think pieces

Three of the four major stories on Page 1 today are speculative "think" pieces that go on and on and on.

Let's hope U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman at leasts names Governor Christie as an unindicted co-conspirator, if he brings criminal charges in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal (A-1).

I know it's only a typo, but how did the editors on the assignment, news and copy desks misspell the name of Bridget Anne Kelly (A-6), the onetime Christie official who sent the infamous email to a Port Authority official, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee"?

The danger of long, speculative stories like this one is that it will put to sleep the underpaid, sleep-deprived copy editor (who also writes headlines and photo captions) long before he gets to its bitter end.

With a bimbo like Joe Giudice for a father, wouldn't his four daughters be better off living with relatives or even in an orphanage while their mother is in prison (A-1)?

Local news?

For the meaning of a "slow news day," see today's Local section.

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