Sunday, April 1, 2007

Newspaper of Record

he good folks at Rochester Pundit have a great take on the problem of a one newspaper town like ours.

Here's an example:   the Democrat and Chronicle obsesses over a scandal caused by a renegade, long-gone President of the Monroe County Water Authority that involves about $500,000, but sweeps under the rug the $70 million loss to taxpayers from the High Falls and Fast Ferry debacles brought to us by the all-Democratic City Council whose members are still in office. The sweetheart, One-Dollar-a-Year lease of the Port of Rochester to the original ferry promoters, the undisclosed subsidy to the port authority of Toronto, the off-the-books transactions in support of the ferry -- these reflect institutional problems of a one-party city regime that lacks even a single minority-party member to call it to account.

In fairness, the Democrat and Chronicle ran an in-depth piece on the ferry situation, in which it was the first to disclose the Toronto deal and the port lease. But that was it. No steady drumbeat of follow-up articles and editorials probing the matter further or demanding action. When troubles carry the big political "D" label, this newspaper isn't interested in doing more than the minimum necessary to say that they actually covered it.

The D&C pontificates routinely about "accountability" of Town governments and the County government -- which has a vocal and active minority party contingent that constantly questions majority initiatives and motives-- yet remains silent about any kind of accountability of the single-party City Council.

We'll start taking the D&C seriously when it starts taking some of these issues seriously.

Until then we'll have to put up with our newspaper in the form of a comic book. Or is it our comic book in the form of a newspaper?

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