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Sunday, April 30, 2017

As local news wanes, interviewing Trump voters is a colossal waste of time, money

Cartoonist R. J. Matson on the precarious situation in the nation's capital.



With President Trump in office for more than 3 months, few readers will have the patience today to plow through nearly three full pages in The Record on our "divided nation."

As news of Hackensack and many other North Jersey towns declines dramatically, Editor Richard A. Green decided to waste the paper's dwindling resources to send a reporter and photographer on a five-day road trip "to take the pulse of America" (1A, 6A and 7A).

What is the point of interviewing Trump supporters?

They were delusional when they voted for the tax-dodger, con man and liar after he claimed he would better their lives, and they remain delusional, even though he's failed to deliver on most of his campaign promises.

The bitter 2016 presidential campaign and the Electoral College election of the New York billionaire didn't divide the nation.

It split when Barack Obama was sworn in as our first black president in 2009, and grew further apart with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mean-spirited Republicans in Congress opposed everything Obama did, just because he is black.

Readers would have been better served if Columnist Mike Kelly and Staff Photographer Chris Pedota spent five days traveling through New Jersey, exploring how we've survived Trump's dysfunctional presidency.

In just 100 days ended Saturday, he cemented his reputation as the worst president in the history of the republic.

Divisive speech

Buried on Page 16A in The Record today is a weak Associated Press story on Trump's visit to Pennsylvania on Saturday.

That's when he skipped the White House correspondents' dinner in Washington, renewed his attacks on the media and rallied his base, according to CNN.
"Trump held that divisive tone throughout the speech, prompting former presidential adviser and senior CNN political analyst David Gergen to call the remarks 'deeply disturbing' in a special prime-time edition of 'CNN Newsroom' with John Berman and Poppy Harlow.
"'This was the most divisive speech I have ever heard from a sitting American president,' Gergen said. 'Others may disagree about that. He played to his base and he treated his other listeners, the rest of the people who have been disturbed about him or opposed him, he treated them basically as, "I don't give a damn what you think because you're frankly like the enemy." I thought it was a deeply disturbing speech.'"

From cartoonist John Cole of The Scranton Times-Tribune. President Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night, delivering his most divisive speech since the inauguration.

Local news?

The Record's Local news section today carries stories or photos from about a dozen communities out of the 90 or so in the circulation area.

One of the stories on the Local front reports on Saturday's climate march in Bergen County, but a film about a Fair Lawn girl who is a "powerlifter" gets much better play (1L and a front-page banner).

The Record continues to ignore the year-old attempt by the Zisa family to return to power in Hackensack by defeating City Council reformers led by Mayor John Labrosse in the May 9 election.

In school elections last week and in April 2016, all six of the candidates backed by the Zisas' Team Hackensack won seats on the Board of Education.

More cuts

When Gannett Co. redesigned The Record last November, production of the paper was moved out of Woodland Park and Rockaway to the Design Studio of one of its other New Jersey dailies, the Asbury Park Press, in the shore community of Neptune.

Last week, Gannett announced it will be closing the Neptune Design Studio by June, with the loss of 85 more jobs.

So, production of The Record will be moved out of state to a Design Studio in Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee or Arizona.

Gannett also is shutting down the Asbury Park Press' Freehold Township printing plant, which opened in 1996, and shifting all printing functions to Gannett's Rockaway plant by June.

The Freehold plant employs 225 people, 154 full time.

Since last July, when Gannett bought The Record, more than 350 jobs have been cut at North Jersey Media Group, parent company of dailies, weeklies, a website and a magazine.