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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trump budget speech to Congress lacked specifcs, didn't end lies and exaggeration

Stephen K. Bannon is the white supremacist who is President Trump's chief strategist. This cartoon is from Adam Zyglis of the Buffalo News.



The Record and other news media grabbed at a line in President Trump's budget address to Congress without bothering to examine whether it is true:

"The time for small thinking is over," the president declared.

The USA Today reporters who put the line in their lead paragraph and the copy editor who used most of that quote in the big headline on Page 1 today didn't bother to question the reference on Tuesday night.

Was Trump referring to President Obama?

Was he referring to the Affordable Care Act as "small thinking"?

How about the $305 billion infrastructure bill for roads, bridges and rail lines Congress passed in December 2015 and sent to Obama, who had asked for $478 billion?

What about Obama's bailout of General Motors and Chrysler? Was that "small thinking"?

Checking Trump

The Record's story fact checking Trump's speech should have been on the front page, but readers find it buried on 7A.

In some cases, Trump took credit for changes that took place before he became president.

"We will provide massive tax relief for the middle class," Trump announced with his usual bombast.

But The Associated Press reports "most of the benefits would flow to the wealthiest families" (7A).

"The richest 1 percent would see an average tax cut of nearly $215,000 a year, while the middle one-fifth of the population would get a cut of just $1,010" according to independent analyses of his campaign's tax proposals.

Local news?

On the Local front today, a story on the opening of the $82 million Bergen County Justice Center in Hackensack never uses the words "Justice Center" to describe the building (1L and 6L).

Staff Writer Steve Janoski calls the six-story structure "the county government's newest administration building."

Is that accurate? Tenants include the county Prosecutor's Office, sheriff, surrogate and tax board.

How many of them are involved in "administration"?

For Hackensack home and business owners who pay property taxes, the tax-exempt county building won't provide any relief. 

Meanwhile, The Record has never reported why work stopped last July on a major downtown Hackensack redevelopment project -- a 14-story, 382-unit apartment building at Main and Mercer streets. 

How's that again?

On Page 1 today, Staff Writer Megan Burrow refers to the handwriting of a Teaneck man as "a shambolic longhand" (1A).

Try not to choke on the long-winded lead paragraph of the story on Governor Christie's proposed budget, especially the last six lines:

"... casting his fiscal stewardship of the state as a net positive despite a historic run of credit-rating downgrades and surprising lawmakers with a blizzard of complex policy plans just as his term begins to draw to a close" (1A).

Sounds like Staff Writers Salvador Rizzo and Nicholas Pugliese, and their assignment editor couldn't settle an argument over the focus of the lead paragraph, so they just threw everything into it. 

Just awful.

On 9L today, AP Business Writer Colleen Barry quotes a grumpy 70-year-old woman comparing Starbucks Coffee's planned entry into Italy with McDonald's, the fast-food restaurant that serves some of the lowest-quality beef on the planet.

"We don't need to be invaded by American scenery," the incoherent woman said. "We already have McDonald's and that's enough."

The photo caption, written by a Gannett editor in Neptune Township, N.J., refers to a barista at a coffee bar in Milan, Italy, as a "waiter [who] dishes an espresso coffee for a customer" (9L).

Sounds like the Gannett editor and the woman in Italy have something in common: English isn't there first language.

Also on 9L, story on United Airlines adding more flights caries this headline:

"United, after years of falling
 revenue, hits its thrusters"

"Thrusters" are small engines on a spacecraft or a ship, but they are not found on passenger jets.