Campaign contribution story explodes into questions on Hudson Reporter editors

Political operative connections to the Hudson Reporter raises issue of journalistic integrity 

In a Grafix Avenger story on current campaign contributions to Hoboken mayoral candidates, controversy swirling around relationships of political operatives and the Hudson Reporter raises serious questions on the integrity and journalistic practices of its editors.

One major question surrounds the SLAPP suit against more than a dozen Hoboken residents last year including MSV directly pointing to the journalistic practices of its editors.

Yesterday, Grafix Avenger detailed recent NJ ELEC campaign reports highlighting a former HR reporter had briefly worked for the Ruben Ramos mayoral campaign.  GA has been exploring an effort by the Ramos campaign to employ former reporters at the HR in an effort to (further) tilt its coverage in favor of Ruben Ramos and his council slate in the Hoboken November elections.

Last July, Councilwoman Beth Mason issued a threat of a civil lawsuit during a live City Council meeting to MSV never mentioned by the Hudson Reporter.  The SLAPP suit was filed two weeks later and although the Hudson Reporter quotes Beth Mason extensively in its story, it never asked the central question of the Mason family’s involvement and if they are underwriting the lawsuit.

Back in the spring of 2012, several inquiries on another Mason political operative’s dealings led to odd questions from a former reporter at the Hudson Reporter claiming a Nazi Parody YouTube video was created by MSV.  According to a story last year on Grafix Avenger, the accusations arose as part of a political operation prompted by a meeting at the Hudson Reporter with Councilwoman Beth Mason and James Barracato.

 MSV’s inquiries on the unpublished story by phone and email were met with complete silence.

MSV invites the HR editors Caren Lissner (Matzner) and Gene Ritchins to publicly explain the paper’s relationship to the plaintiff(s) in the SLAPP suit last year and why it failed in its story to make any disclosure to its readers.

Tim Carroll, a former reporter for the Hudson Reporter issued a statement to MSV referencing internal emails of political operatives of the 2009 Beth Mason campaign filed in court documents in Hudson County Superior Court where he is mentioned writing :

What am I missing? The email shows that I was a reporter who was sent a press release. Is having my email address and knowing my name SPECIAL ACCESS? Both were published on a weekly basis.

What is unfortunate is that Fauxboken residents would spend their time conflating a former employee, a community newspaper, and two VERY DIFFERENT spokes on Hoboken’s political wheel.

The reason I came to work in the mayoral campaign as a professional and on an intermim basis was because I know Hoboken inside and out. I have a deep understanding of the issues and the people.

I’m no longer a journalist and my jobs are IN NO WAY a reflection on the Hoboken Reporter or its current staff, nor does my professional activity have any relation to the journalistic standards you numbskulls think you’re defending.

If you were so very concerned about Hoboken, wouldn’t you surely want an open government advocate, a fan of clean campaigns, and a proponent of solid policy working for ANY CAMPAIGN in your town? Strong competition breeds strong leaders.

If you were so very concerned about Hoboken, wouldn’t you surely want a three-time investigative jounalism award winner celebrated for his work? Wouldn’t you celebrate and embrace ANY SORT of investigative journalism?

If you were so very concerned about Hoboken, wouldn’t you surely want dialogue, civil discourse, and actual investigations which requires interacting with the principals of your story.

Maybe so, maybe not; but this particular story has a problem with its timeline: you are calling for disclosure from the newspaper LAST YEAR for a relationship that a long-gone former employee began THIS YEAR. So I repeat: am I missing something?

Enough nonsense and get back to work on the city. Don’t stoop to the level. Later-

Caren Lissner – Matzner is at the center of a controversy as Editor at the Hudson Reporter.
An extensive story on the SLAPP suit against more than a dozen Hoboken residents failed to address its relationship to the plaintiff(s).  Councilwoman Beth Mason however is quoted prominently in the story last year.

Talking Ed Note: After departing the Hudson Reporter, Carroll did a freelance article for Hoboken Patch on the 2010 Fourth Ward Special Election notable in it detailed rampant vote buying.  In the article, Carroll wrote, “Local sources have confirmed that some campaign workers in recent elections were paid $35 or more to cast an absentee ballot.”

Later while working for PolitickerNJ, Carroll again wrote about extensive vote buying operation citing the story broken on MSV,  “Inside Hoboken’s absentee boom.”   The following month, the Hudson Reporter published a story on the issue when Ray Smith detailed the hundreds of paid campaign workers on the Tim Occhipinti campaign.

Earlier this year, MSV saw Tim Carroll at an HHA meeting and had a cordial chat when he briefly worked on the Ruben Ramos mayoral campaign.  While our communications have been infrequent, they’ve always been exceedingly professional and MSV appreciates his 2010 reporting on the integrity of the vote in Hoboken. We differ however on how campaign work should be evaluated/appreciated by the Hoboken voter.

Grafix Avenger highlights in its comments section, recent less than savory attempts at intimidation which she says have been forwarded to the FBI in Newark.  Carroll may not be aware of any of this after his brief work for the Ramos campaign but Hoboken residents won’t find it praiseworthy.  Worse, pro-Ramos bloggers hint at bigotry which once again points to Councilwoman Beth Mason and her paid political operatives; it’s the Nazi Truck redux.

Neither Beth Mason nor the Hudson Reporter were contacted for this story.  They are invited to provide a public response.

Photo courtesy by arrangement

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