Sunday, November 22, 2015

Editors ignore wreck left by Christie, our homegrown terror

Radio City Music Hall on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Since the Paris attacks, The Record and other news media haven't explored why New York City and North Jersey have been safe from terrorism since 9/11 or whether Syrian refugees already living here have been anything but law abiding.


The front page of The Record's Sunday edition is filled with news of global terrorism, Syrian refugees and New Jersey's own terror, Governor Christie.

But Editor Martin Gottlieb and Columnist Charles Stile still are trying mightily not to alarm readers with daily reports of the nightmare the GOP bully has left behind as he pursues his White House dreams.

Stile's boring political column today focuses on the distant future, the 2017 gubernatorial election (A-1).

Readers might be confused by another Paris-related story, today's column by Travel Editor Jill Schensul on her indecision over flying there for her annual vacation (T-1).

After all, she arrived there on Wednesday, and has already described the changes in the city she calls a second home in a Page 1 column on Friday and again in today's paper (A-6).

The attack on a hotel in Mali still has not prompted the news media to explore France's colonial rule in West Africa, Algeria, Syria and other countries as the possible root of today's terrorism (A-1).

Local schools

Englewood's new superintendent is telling parents whose children attend minority schools to eat cake (L-1).

That's the only conclusion readers can draw from an interview with schools chief Robert Kravitz, a former cake and dessert executive, who doesn't mention the challenge of elementary and middle schools filled almost completely with minority students.

Staff Writer Kim Lueddeke mentions poor test scores, limited English proficiency and other problems, but says nothing about whether Kravitz is hoping to desegregate those schools, as his predecessors did at Dwight Morrow High School.  

Other stories on schools in Edgewater and Wayne have Hackensack readers wondering when Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza are going to get off their asses, and assign a reporter to look at all of the problems in Bergen County's biggest school district.

They include high salaries for administrators and thefts of computers, two of which were allegedly traced to the home of teacher, who has never been charged.

Seats for homeless

Road Warrior John Cichowski, the so-called commuting columnist, continues to ignore the lack of rush-hour seats on NJ Transit buses and trains.

Today, he goes on and on about the cat-and-mouse game between NJ Transit cops and the homeless using seats at Newark Penn Station and other rail hubs.

At a total loss on how to lure readers who long ago became bored with Cichowski, the veteran reporter compares a homeless man nervous about a cop kicking him out of a train station to "a driver parked overtime at a meter" (L-1).

Crazy Kelly

Columnist Mike Kelly already showed readers what a wimp he is on Saturday, when his Page 1 column was completely devoid of criticism or condemnation of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Today, the best he can manage is to label Christie a "crazy uncle" for saying he would not even allow Syrian orphans under the age of 5 to enter the United States (O-1).

Who is crazy? I'm betting it's Kelly, a burned-out columnist who has been pushing around words and desperately filling space for more than 20 years.

He has bad company in Cichowski and Stile. 

What can be said for a daily newspaper that gives precious space to so many stale journalists, and doesn't foster younger, more courageous voices?

See the Christie cartoon by Margulies on O-2.

Tipping guide?

Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung's Better Living column on tipping today ignores a question on every restaurant customer's mind (BL-1).

Is 15% still considered the standard tip or should we be adding 18% or 20% to the pre-tax total as a matter of routine?

And when will Ung or any other reporter explain how wealthy restaurant owners managed to get regulators to go along with a system of extremely low hourly pay for their staffs and tips from customers to make up the difference?

If something goes wrong in the kitchen or the owner misrepresents the food he serves, the only recourse customers have is to stiff the server.


  1. From a reader:

    Victor -- saw today's Record. why nearly three weeks after the election did the record again publish the local results today. yet they still have not published the town by town results from freeholder and assembly.

    1. Guess the local editors desperately needed filler for a huge news hole they couldn't fill with legitimate municipal news or it was a production error overlooked by the six-figure editor who is laughing all the way to the bank, Liz Houlton.


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