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Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Now is absolutely the wrong time for dispassionate reporting about Trump
-- HACKENSACK, N.J.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Even with the barrage of reporting about President Trump's first 100 days in the national news media, The Record's effort stood out:
For its staggering length, its lack of focus on what New Jereyans think and for the Woodland Park daily's refusal to take sides during one of the most perilous times in the nation's history.
The banner tying together last weekend's coverage was awkward:
"PRESIDENT TRUMP: 100 DAYS LATER"
And readers were left reeling from the equivalent of four full newspaper pages of photos and text on Saturday followed by about eight more on Sunday.
Yet, instead of sending reporters to speak to New Jersey residents about how they've survived Trump's first few months in office, Editor Richard A. Green delivered several "process" stories about the potential impact on tax deductions and other issues.
No N.J. interviews
He also squandered the paper's dwindling resources by sending a columnist and photographer on a five-day road trip through Trump country, including what looked like Tobacco Road in West Virginia (front page photo on Sunday).
And while Green ignored the tried-and-true man and woman on the street interviews in New Jersey, he actually wrote a story last Saturday asking, "One hundred days later, how are you feeling North Jersey?" (Saturday's 9A).
Amazingly, the story contains not a single interview with anyone in North Jersey nor an answer to his question.
Instead, Green pledged that a project called "Trump Tracker" is "objectively" monitoring the new administration and its impact "on the lives and livelihoods of New Jersey's residents, taxpayers, neighborhoods, children, environment, commuters and businesses -- big and small."
This would be an ambitious project for The Record when it was at full strength, but impossible now that Green turned hatchet man for Gannett Co., and laid off more than 350 employees at North Jersey Media Group, including about 50 reporters and editors.
100 days editorial
Last Sunday's editorial on Trump's first 100 days was even-toned and boring, failing to raise an alarm.
With a president like Trump, who is threatening our democracy, editorials should run on Page 1, and take sides.
The Record was the only major New Jersey newspaper that didn't call for the resignation of Governor Christie after he dropped out and endorsed Trump for president in February 2016.
Now, The Record refuses to push back against Trump's insane style of government.
On Sunday, The Record's Editorial Board said about Trump:
"Campaigning was always the easy part. It's the governing that's hard.
"After 100 days, the president at least has grasped that.
"It's a start."
No. It's a cop out.