Thursday, November 5, 2015

Editors turn Page 1 into a tabloid, demonize mass transit

At lunchtime, Hackensack High School students walk or drive to restaurants as far away as Essex Street in Lodi rather than eat the low-quality fare served in the cafeteria by Chartwells, a Canadian company. The owner of Giovanni's Pizza 2, above, less than a block from the high school, does so much business he closes and spends the summer in Italy.

On Tuesday, a Chartwells employee emptied a van and took boxes into the Fairmount School on Grand Avenue in Hackensack, above and below. The van wasn't refrigerated, yet the employee left the engine running as he made three trips into the school over the space of 20 minutes.

Do parents of the elementary school students know anything about the quality of the food in the boxes?


A sensational murder case and a lurid murder trial dominate the front page of The Record today -- as if Editor Martin Gottlieb secretly wants to work for the New York Post or another tabloid.

The only other Page 1 stories focus on Sen. Bob Menendez' donors, and how the Republicans did in Tuesday's election for state Assembly (A-1).

I suppose readers should welcome even mild criticism of Governor Christie from political Columnist Charles Stile, who called the larger Democratic majority "a political low point for Republicans."

But the GOP bully is expected to handle this setback in the same he has since he took office in early 2010 with Democrats in control of the Legislature -- vetoes and plenty of them, neutralizing any middle-class initiatives.

Shock reporting

More disturbing than Stile's boring political analysis is The Record's continuing attempt to demonize mass-transit projects, such as the East Side Access and new Hudson River rail tunnels (A-3).

Readers saw the same negativity in the hysterical editorial that ran on Wednesday, when a proposal for new rail passenger service in North Jersey was dismissed as too expensive and less important than other projects.

Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin sunk to a new low by politicizing the proposal in a sub-headline: 

"Democrats push for new passenger line"

It's easy for Doblin and Record reporter Christopher Maag to shock readers with billion-dollar price tags while ignoring the intangible societal benefits:

Less traffic congestion, cleaner air, increased worker productivity and slower climate change.

If readers didn't know better, they might think Maag and Doblin are taking their marching orders from the Borg family, whose North Jersey Media Group thrives on ad revenue from automakers and their dealers.

Hackensack news

It's not over until the fat lady sings.

That may be so in an opera, but in Hackensack, Tuesday's special City Council election still isn't over, according to a story on the Local front today (L-1).

Staff Writer Todd South reports county election workers are trying to certify and count 69 provisional or paper ballots.

Eye on The Record reported incorrectly on Wednesday that mail-in and provisional ballots had been counted, giving the election to teacher's assistant Deborah Keeling-Geddis over incumbent Jason W. Some, a businessman.

Based on a tally of voting machines on Tuesday night, the Bergen County clerk named Some the winner.

The next day, a count of mail-in ballots gave Keeling-Geddis the edge.

Now, the outcome is not expected to be known until at least Monday.

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