Friday, June 26, 2015

Desperate editors pit GOP against Dems to sell papers

At Wednesday afternoon's 120th Commencement, graduating Hackensack High students used an elaborate, wheelchair-accessible pedestrian overpass to cross to the football field from the school, above and below.


Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling was a victory for millions of Americans who were able to buy affordable health insurance for the first time.

But that's not sexy enough for Editor Martin Gottlieb, who is desperate to sell copies of The Record during what is certainly print journalism's darkest hours.

So, as he has done so many times in the past with this and other stories, he reports the decision in political terms, pitting President Obama against the Republicans who have been trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (A-1).

Gottlieb uses "Obamacare" liberally, even though GOP conservatives have made it a dirty word.

Sadly, the word fits into headlines more easily than Affordable Care Act.

Since Gottlieb left The New York Times to take over the Woodland Park newsroom in early 2012 and cruise into retirement, Page 1 stories have grown longer and more complex, and many show his own rewriting.

Today, a paragraph in a front-page sidebar sums up the political conflict once again for weary readers:

"Amid the applause, however, came a strong dissenting voice that echoed the chorus of outrage from ardent opponents of the Affordable Care Act nationwide, including many Republican Party leaders" (A-1).

Give me a break, Marty. 

Absentee governor

The front-page story quoting sources on Governor Christie's entrance into the race for the 2016 GOP nomination has an unintentionally hilarious line:

The GOP bully is making an announcement on Tuesday at Livingston High School, "where he served as class president for three years" (A-1).

Let's hope he doesn't hold that presidency up as experience that makes him suitable for the White House, especially given how badly he has screwed up New Jersey.

According to radio news, Christie today signed the state budget after vetoing taxes on the wealthy and state pension system contributions proposed by the Democrats (A-3).

Gottlieb splashes the Christie-might-run story on Page 1, but the budget story is on A-3, even though that is the one that affects middle-class readers most.

Production error

Six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton must have been snoozing at her computer after a big lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant.

That is the likely explanation for why the same story on the Garfield Council appears twice in Local today, on L-2 and L-3.

Temper tantrum

There are only 10 paragraphs in the appraisal of Nirvana Indian Kitchen in Allendale, but one of the longest relates how Staff Writer Elisa Ung "struck out on all counts" on the desserts she sampled (BL-14).

I'll bet the majority of readers, who are older and watching their weight and cholesterol, don't even bother with dessert.

Still, Ung is obsessed, and in the data box notes the pricey restaurant is "less appropriate for anyone for whom dessert is a priority."

Like her. The poor woman.  

Eye on The Record
 will return in a couple of weeks

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