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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Columnists claim New Jersey opposition to Trump policies is politically motivated

At a listening session to honor Black History Month on Feb. 1, President Donald Trump praised slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who died in 1895, as "an example of somebody who's done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more." This photo is from Getty Images.


The only thing new in today's political column from Charles Stile is an updated thumbnail photo showing him wearing glasses and resting his chin on his hand.

The Record's Trenton-based reporter has been boring readers to tears by churning out the same everything-is-politically motivated column since Governor Christie took office in early 2010.

Now, Stile is claiming Democrats in the state Senate are only protesting President Trump's arbitrary immigration and refugee bans in a bid to defeat "Republican senators who are facing tough campaigns in this fall's legislative elections" (3A).

That sounds awfully familiar, almost an echo of a column on Monday's front page:

The Record's so-called Washington correspondent wrote, "Two weeks into Donald Trump's administration, a spurt in protests and other activism could be a boost for [Democratic] incumbents who otherwise might have faced tough re-election fights" (Monday's front page).

And, lo and behold, NJ/DC Columnist Herb Jackson's thumbnail also shows him wearing glasses and resting his chin on his hand.

By relentlessly focusing on partisan politics, Stile and Jackson have helped keep any meaningful reporting on issues out of the paper.

That leads to tremendous voter apathy, which helped throw elections to Christie in 2013 and Trump on Nov. 8.

Donald J. Trump and his older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a federal appeals court judge in Philadelphia. Barry worked for many years as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey before being appointed to the federal bench in Newark by Ronald Reagan.

Odd headline

A federal appeals court hearing  on whether Trump's travel ban on Muslims and refugees can be reinstated appears under a confusing headline:


Meanwhile, today's editorial blasts Trump for trying to delegitimize the federal judge who suspended his executive order banning immigration and travel.

He referred to U.S. District Judge James Robart as a "so-called judge" (8A).

The editorial notes:

"As U.S. president, his continued assault on judges who hold opinions opposite of his, as well as claims that any negative poll is 'fake,' should be denounced by all, regardless of party affiliation [italics added].

"Continuing that assault could precipitate a constitutional crisis that only weakens the greatness of America."

The editorial doesn't mention that Trump's older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is herself a longtime federal judge.

Painful reminder

I'm not sure what veteran reporter Joan Verdon was thinking when she wrote a story on the Acme supermarket chain aiming to convert 100 full-time positions to part-time jobs (7L).

Verdon herself may be one of the 141 employees who were given 60-day layoff notices late last month by Gannett's North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record.

Acme "also is offering voluntary severance packages as a way of reducing the number of jobs affected," Verdon says.

In September 2015, Acme saved hundreds of grocery jobs in North Jersey when it bought 10 stores from bankrupt A&P.