One of my first stops on this morning “catch up” of events is The Star Ledger, one of New Jersey’s largest daily newspapers and one that I write guest editorial for. Of course since newspapers are becoming more and more obsolete, I check out the online version of this daily periodical. This morning, as the Star Ledger downloaded on my laptop screen I saw the bold headline “N.J. officials, N.Y. rabbis caught in federal money laundering, corruption sweep”.
I figured, “oh Lord, here we go again” another example of political corruption in one of the most politically corrupt states in the nation”.
As I read on, the story began:
“NEWARK — A New Jersey assemblyman and the mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus were among public officials arrested this morning by FBI agents in an international money laundering and corruption probe that includes rabbis in the Syrian Jewish communities of Deal and Brooklyn.
Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean), Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell and Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega are among those already brought to the FBI building in Newark. Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini has also been arrested.”
After reading the second paragraph I suddenly lost track of the scandal which was the main thrust of the headline and article.
I was taken back by the fact that of the five elected officials at the focus of the account only one had his party affiliation identified, Assemblyman Dan Van Pelt.
The Mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, and the Deputy Mayor and Council President of Jersey City are all Democrats but Van Pelt, who is a dual officeholder that occupies a seat and the state assembly while also serving as the Mayor of Ocean Township, is a Republican.
Upon realizing the blatant focus on Van Pelt’s party connection and the lack of such association for the other four culprits, the details of the allegations put forward in the purported news article became secondary and almost meaningless to me.
That is not to say that the scandal and its details are not alarming. They are more than that, they are horrific. They are just the tip to a plot that could involve a deeper and more notorious conspiracy. But at the moment the shock of the Star Ledger’s blatant display of partisan favoritism took the thrust of the news that they attempted to present, right off the radar and on to the egregious nature in which they presented facts. The blatant political bias that the newspaper and author of the story, Joe Ryan, presented is what became the news to me.
The way that the paper presented this story broke one of the main tenets of journalism…..tell the story, do not become the story. By identifying the political allegiance of one and not and all the arrested parties in this unfolding scandal, the Star Ledger became just that……the story.
They became a perfect example of the left leaning proclivities that exists in journalism and news reporting today. They became a glaringly obvious purveyor of political bias that seeks to favor the image and impression of one political party over the other.
It would be one thing if the author of this piece, Joe Ryan, was a diehard liberal and could not help himself from making the sole mention of party affiliation in this scandal a reference to Republicans but it is another thing for the editorial staff to run with it unedited and uncorrected . Professional news outlets should have at least a scintilla of ethical judgment that allows them to be perceived as impartial deliverers of news and information.
The Star Ledger could at least try to make accusations about bias in the media a debatable question by trying to act impartial but I guess the fact that the mainstream media is a left leaning propaganda machine is taken so much for granted and such a given that even The Star Ledger has given up on trying to hide their favoritism.
The way in which this story was presented by Joe Ryan and the Ledger was disgraceful.. So much so that it overshadowed the story it tried to present and became a different headline, one that reads “New Jersey Star Ledger Makes It Official…Journalism Dies As Political Propaganda Prevails”.
The episode just goes to prove that Walter Cronkite is not the only hallmark of journalism to succumb to time. So has journalistic integrity.
As for my guest editorial in this newspaper, I do not think they will be publishing the topic I have chosen for next weeks edition.