….put Cory Booker under a microscope like they have Governor Chris Christie and Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann.
By Art Gallagher, [email protected]
Star Ledger sports columnist Steve Politi has a column this morning that is part of his ongoing campaign to take down Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann; Julie Hermann: It would be ‘great’ if The Star Ledger went out of business.
Politi has been trying to get Hermann fired since Rutgers hired her to turn around their Athletic Department last spring. Something about alleged bullying and sex discrimination at a previous job and lying about whether or not she talked to the parent of a Rutgers student who alleged he had been bullied.
Turns out that Hermann doesn’t like The Star Ledger. Several weeks ago she told a journalism class that, “That’d be great [if the Star Ledger died]. I’m going to do all I can to not to give them a headline to keep them alive because I think I got them through the summer,” according to a Rutgers student alternative news site, Muckgers. (Note that Hermann didn’t actually say the words ‘if the Star Ledger died.’ She was responding to a student’s question that was not quoted.) The Muckgers reporter broke the “news” of Hermann’s several weeks old remarks to a journalism class last Thursday, the same day The Star Ledger told 167 employees they would be out or work in September with severance pay.
As part of his pity party for his 167 colleagues, Politi wrote a column with a headline that implies Hermann threw a celebratory party to celebrate the coming hardship on those reporters, advertising execs, copy editors and clerks who don’t find work before their severance and unemployment benefits run out.
Forget, for a minute, what you think about the newspaper. It doesn’t matter if you think its Rutgers’ coverage stinks, or its news coverage is biased, or if its columnists are too smug for their own good.
What matters is this: The Star-Ledger employs a lot of people. And if the Rutgers athletic director thinks it would be great if it closed down, then she relishes the idea of seeing those people lose their livelihood, their benefits and maybe more.
I don’t know Hermann. Never talked to her. But I’d bet that she doesn’t “relish the idea of seeing those people lose their livelihood, their benefits and maybe more.” She probably just feels that way about Politi, who has been trying to see her lose her livelihood, benefits and more.
I don’t begrudge Politi taking his shots at Hermann. I have no idea if his coverage of her career is accurate or not. I respect the fact that his bias against her is obvious.
But I think that The Star Ledger spending so much on an Athletic Director while giving a U.S. Senator a pass is disgraceful.
What I think would be great is if The Star Ledger put people that they like, U.S. Senator Cory Booker for instance, under the microscope like they do to people they don’t like, Herman and Governor Chris Christie for instance.
The Star Ledger has been all over Christie’s troubles, and spinning them as if they are worse than they are. They’ve reported his 50+% approval ratings as if that was bad news. Did anyone think that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman would actually not have a grand jury investigation into Bridgegate? The Star Ledger reported as if it were earth shattering news when ABC News scooped them with the confirmation that a grand jury was investigating. The Star Ledger created the post-Sandy AshBritt scandal that turned out not to be a scandal.
But the recent former mayor of New Jersey’s largest city, Newark, home of The Star Ledger is getting a pass now that the depth of problems in Newark are being revealed. Without Booker’s spinning finger in the dyke, a great deal of bad news about Newark is coming out.
The Associated Press published a piece over the weekend that ties Booker, who is running for his own full term as a U.S. Senator after having been elected to finish the late Senator Frank Lautenberg’s term last fall, to Newark’s problems:
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s largest city is hitting some roadblocks just months after its rising-star mayor went off to Washington. A bold reform plan for the state-run school system has hit a snag, the police department is facing federal oversight over citizen complaints, and the state is threatening a takeover of the city’s finances after several key deadlines were missed.
If The Star Ledger has run that piece, I can’t find it on their site. The Record’s NorthJersey.com has it. The Asbury Park Press has it. The Star Ledger has a bunch of articles about Booker campaigning with Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith. Pulitzer material.
I get the media piling on Christie. He’s a big deal. Has a good shot at being our next president. Stories about him drive traffic to news websites. MMM’s traffic is up 49% since the Bridgegate scandal broke in January. But the problems in Newark, and Booker’s role in them, are more scandalous than a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge or an Athletic Director’s sloppy language. New Jersey would be well served if The Star Ledger gave Booker half the scrutiny they are giving to Hermann and Christie.