Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Editors ignore racism -- from Ringwood to White House

The rebuilding of the Route 46 Bridge over the Hackensack River is 99% complete, above, and a lane is closed on the new Court Street Bridge between Hackensack and Bogota, below. Still, The Record's Mike Kelly on Monday focused on the Anderson Street Bridge as an example of "how New Jersey does not have enough [money] for all of the bridges that need fixing." Was Kelly's column the 49th or 50th piece to make that point in the last year or so?


Even though Ford Motor Co. began dumping toxic paint sludge in Ringwood nearly 50 years ago, The Record today is splashing across Page 1 an exposé about the discovery of a new, cancer-causing chemical.

The focus of Staff Writer Scott Fallon's story is whether chemicals, including the newly discovered 1,4-dioxane, "are migrating from the site ... above the Wanaque Reservoir, a drinking source for 3 million people" (A-1).

Readers have to search on the continuation page for Fallon's description of the people who live in a "low-income neighborhood" near the mines and landfill where Ford dumped the sludge (A-4).

Later, Fallon quotes Vincent Mann, whom he describes as "chief of the Ramapough Lenape Nation's Turtle Clan." 

But nowhere does the reporter note the Ramapoughs are a mixed-race people who have faced discrimination for centuries.

Same as in '05

Today, as they did in their 2005 "Toxic Legacy" series, The Record's editors refuse to explore whether racial animus has shaped how the Ramapoughs have been treated by Ford, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ringwood officials, the courts and the media.

Readers have noticed the same blind spot when it comes to critics who still haven't gotten over the election of our first black president, including Governor Christie and Record Columnist Mike Kelly.

Local news?

Hackensack residents won't find any news of their city on Page 1 or the Local front today.

The lead story on L-1 is about a dog that was found dead in the home of a Northvale man who is being held in the Bergen County jail on weapons charges. 

Hackensack may be the most populous community in Bergen County, but it continues to be slighted by local assignment editors.

Monday's Local section also contained no Hackensack news, and the closest the paper came was a front-page column on closure of the Anderson Street Bridge to Teaneck. 

Although that piece, by Kelly, went on and on, the columnist didn't explore whether closure of the bridge will hurt merchants along Teaneck's Cedar Lane.

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