Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Post-Star Responds

The Post-Star responds to my "tiresome ramblings"! (See Mark Mahoney's post below)

What happened? Well, to sum things up, I sent an email out yesterday about Jack Abramoff and salon.com's report on his misdealing which included the LOCAL NEWS that our own LOCAL Congressional Representative, John Sweeney, is being investigated by the Justice Department in relation to Abramoff. I simply asked in my email why this story was not page one in our "LOCAL" paper? Why do I have to read these things online? After all, its a "local" story, right?

I had two amazingly quick responses from the Glens Falls Post-Star. Maury Thompson (a reporter) let me know that he had already posted a story to the website (poststar.com) and that he was working on a story for today's front page (Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - Page One). Great story, great positioning, great job, Maury! Good work! Then, Mark Mahoney emailed me, as well, to say that the paper allocates TONS of its resource to local stories. In his email, Mark refers to this story as a "national story with local implications".

I appreciate the Post-Star getting right on this story. Thank you, guys! I do hope that you'll stick with this story and try to dig up the dirt, though, because, I don't know about you, but I remember that not so long ago our infamous little fascist congressman ran into a power pole in Greenwich after getting drunk at Willard Mountain. I also remember that he sat in his vehicle for over two hours on his cell phone and refused to leave the vehicle or open his windows to communicate with the civilians and officials who arrived on the scene to help. He left when his NYS Trooper friends showed up to "take him away". No breathalyzer was ever administered. No charges were ever laid. No investigation was ever conducted. The Post-Star did, to its credit, post a few buried stories on Drunk-Boy's little escapade, but did they ever really achieve a result? Was justice ever served? Did they ever uncover the truth? Did they editorialize that Sweeney was a drunken idiot who should be voted out? Did they relentlessly go after him and try to let their readership know what had really happened? In case the suspense is killing you, the answer is, "No, they did not." They ran a few "Sweeney's assistant said ....." stories and gave up on the whole thing.

Lets hope that this isn't "Drunk Boy Redux", in which local media prints idiotic non-answers from Weeney's staff and then throws up their hands and waits for national media to tell us the rest of the story. I sincerely hope the Post-Star will stay on this and not let go of it the way they usually do. I can hear the excuses now, "Well, Gee, Matt, Weeney's assistant said that Weeney never even knew this Abramoff guy. What more do you want from us? We did our jobs!"

Mr. Mahoney left his email address and phone number after his missive and asked that I send it out. Please do get in touch with him and let him know that we demand to know the truth about Sweeney/Abramoff and that we don't want our local media to give up on this local story until the truth is known!

Peace,
Matt

(The following is an email from Mark Mahoney, the Post-Star's Editorial Page editor and author of many of its editorials)

When you're scrawling your tiresome ramblings about how awful and out of touch this paper is, do you ever consider how much effort and resources we put into covering news that actually relates directly to the people in this community?

We're going to have the Roll Call story tomorrow. In fact, it was on our Web site before you sent out your latest missive. We don't overlook national stories with local implications, and we never have.

We don't have the resources to station a reporter in Washington, D.C., or even Albany. As Ken and I have explained to you numerous times, obviously without much impact, we pay wire services to get us the national news.

We do, however, have a reporter at Glens Falls City Hall. And in Washington County. And Warren County. And Saratoga County. We'll have one at the Lake Luzerne town meeting tonight where they're discussing a controversial theater proposal. And one at the Hudson Falls village board meeting where they're putting together their budget. We've had a reporter sitting at a local murder trial for the past week. We've got one working on local school budgets. And others working on village elections. And another writing about what's happening at local businesses. We've got at least four people dedicated exclusively to getting community and hometown news and calendar and senior citizen and church items in the paper every day. We'll have our sports staff and local photographers covering the high school basketball tournament at the Civic Center this weekend in which several area teams are playing.

As we speak, we have at least half-a-dozen Freedom of Information requests pending with state and local government bodies. And we'll have our reporter at the local protest in Glens Falls on Saturday marking the third year of the Iraq war.
Oh, and yes, we did have a local reporter at Rock Hill Bakehouse covering a breast-feeding group on Saturday. Perhaps you saw the article on the front of today's Arts/Life section. It was underneath the photo spread of the Lake George Opera performance at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls.

That's what a local paper does. That's what we do. We cover local news.
Maybe you'd prefer that all those people instead be assigned to the search for Osama bin Laden or to dig up dirt on the president's ties to United Arab Emirates.
But I doubt most of our readers would agree.
(I hope you'll share this response with your devotees.)

Mark C. Mahoney
Editorial Page Editor
The Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY
mahoney@poststar.com
518-792-3131, extension 3220

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