Thursday, October 16, 2008


UP FRONT News October 14, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."


By Tom Weiss

A few weeks ago at a meeting of SiColab, a Staten Island grass roots arts advocacy organi- zation, a filmmaker strongly criticized the Staten Island Advance for ignoring her calls for coverage and for the skimpy coverage of grass roots issues. Little did she know that she was making contact with the tip of an iceberg of censorship and slanted reporting at the Staten Island Advance.

Also present at the meeting was Ben Johnson, the music editor of the Advance's weekly entertainment magazine called "Awe." I could understand some defensiveness on his part as he acknowledged the lady's polite but very firm criticisms and then suggested that complaints should be directed to the Advance's Editor Brian Laline. Mr. Johnson needn't have bothered as it seems that directing a complaint about reporting or non-reporting to Mr. Laline is the equivalent of directing a complaint against Dick Cheney to George W. Bush.

The reality is that the Staten Island Advance, owned by the multibillionaire media mogul Donald Newhouse, is a corporate mouthpiece that regularly practices censorship, most clearly in its political coverage. The villain in the piece is a dour and dishonest man named Tom Wrobleski, who is the Political Editor of the Advance.

I first met Mr. Wrobleski in as I recall March of 2005, a few weeks after I had decided to run for the U.S. Senate against the very corporate Republicrat Hillary Clinton, who, among her many other negligences, is directly involved in the political and media coverup of the Genocide in Tibet. Mr. Wrobleski and I met for over an hour in his Borough Hall office. I answered all of his questions, provided him with the identities and contact information for sources about me and gave him a pile of news clippings about me from various newspapers and magazines over the years. When, at the interview, I asked him about coverage, he said, "let's see how your campaign goes." He asked me to stay in touch with him by telephone and e-mail. I did.

As I have said and written previously. If there were an Olympic gold medal for not answering messages and e-mails, Tom Wrobleski would be an easy winner.

All of that changed during a televised campaign debate in August, 2005 involving candidates for the office of NYC Public Advocate. One of those candidates was the incumbent Betsy Gotbaum, a person with whom, via a family member of mine, I've been personally acquainted since 1979. Betsy Gotbaum is a symbol of what is bad and corrupt about politics, particularly when ruled by rich and greedy people like her. My first experience with Betsy Gotbaum as Public Advocate occurred a number of years ago when I had an appointment with her then Chief of Staff Scott Coccaro to discuss staff abuse of homeless people in shelters and drop-in centers. Ms. Gotbaum responded by trying to have me arrested in her office. Fortunately the intelligence police officer assigned to the task proved to be far more intelligent and stable than Ms. Gotbaum handled the situation appropriately and, after asking me the right questions, merely advised me to return home and leave Gotbaum alone for awhile.

Ms. Gotbaum's anxieties about me relate directly to the fact that I'm a free lance investigative journalist and that she has a closetful of political skeletons including (at least) marital links to the Central Intelligence Agency and some adultery.

Under any circumstances, any reasonably competent psychiatrist evaluating Betsy Gotbaum should have no difficulty in including "paranoid" in his or her diagnostic assessment.

Because of Ms. Gotbaum's apparent unwillingness to do something about the rampant staff abuse of homeless people in shelters and drop-in centers, I decided to support civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel for Public Advocate. One day Mr. Siegel told me that he had received a Gotbaum complaint that I had been "stalking" her. In fact, as I told Mr. Siegel, I've never stalked anyone and but I have been present as a journalist at some events at which Gotbaum has appeared. Mr. Siegel and I had a chuckle about all that.

And so during the aforementioned 2005 debate, the very secretive Gotbaum was asked to reveal the contents of her Public Advocate appointment schedule. Perhaps with the Tom Weiss appointment in mind, she refused, stating that she was being stalked by a homeless individual. Thanks to what may be the one of the greediest landlords around, the very politically con- nected loftlord, Forest Hills, Queens resident Thomas Berger ("The Greed Merchant of Tribeca"), I was homeless for a time.

Upon reading the "stalker" comment in several newspapers I contacted the Daily News and very soon met with reporter Celeste Katz. Her story, which accurately reported my side of the Gotbaum "stalker" delusion, appeared in the Daily News on August 27, 2005. My side was also covered in a New York Times story on the same date by Jonathan Hicks.

Breaking that story, however was Dan Janison, then the City Hall reporter for Newsday. In his essentially accurate story on the Gotbaum fantasy and the Weiss rebuttal which appeared in NYC Newsday on August 26, he also reported my U.S. Senate candidacy.

It was at that point that Tom Wrobleski, who had written not one word about my Senate candidacy, contacted me asking me for an "exclusive." We did a telephone interview. His story, which appeared with a front page lead on August 27, was error-riddled and openly slanted in favor of Gotbaum (who, by the way, later and very secretively, apologized to me). He even gave State Senator Diane Savino, whose Chief of staff Robert Cataldo, almost physically attacked me in her office several years ago when I was there for a homelessness-related scheduled appointment, the opportunity to make a blatantly defamatory comment about me in print and gave the same opportunity to Keith Parascandola, a Chief of Staff who demonstrates why the New York State Legislature has been properly rated as "the worst in the country."

I complained to the Advance and was assured they would publish corrections. They lied. I was asked to write a letter to the editor. I wrote two. They refused to publish them and when I asked why, the response was a Tom Wrobleski/Dick Cheney-style silence.

And as far as "stalking" Betsy Gotbaum is concerned, I usually respond to that Gotbaum fantasy by a reference to a fine country song recorded by Dwight Yoakum titled "I Ain't That Lonely Yet."

Following Wrobleski's poorly written article he resumed his journalistic silence about my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. It is apparent that he regarded protecting Hillary Clinton as part of his job. I therefore wrote an article on my U.S. Senate campaign blog accusing the Staten Island Advance of censorship and referring to him as Tom Wrongleski. Not to long after that I had a telephone conversation with Advance editor Dean Balsamini. As we were talking he brought up my article on his computer and exclaimed, "You trashed my reporter." I reminded him that Mr. Wrobleski had been guilty of false reporting and censorship with regard to me and advised him that I felt free to write further critical articles about Wrobleski and the Advance.

It was not too long after that conversation that I received a call from Mr. Wrobleski asking for an interview. The interview was conducted by phone and resulted in a front page article in the Advance appearing on August 21, 2006 under the headline "With the stroke of a pencil vote for anyone." Mr. Wrobleski spent most of the article on the technicalities of write-in voting and very few words on my very serious issues with Hillary Clinton. He did mention that I have accused Mrs. Clinton of ignoring the Chinese Communist Genocide in Tibet. And that makes the Staten Island Advance perhaps the only paper anwhere that mentions a genocide and doesn't follow up the story.

Some months ago an Advance reporter named Tevah Platt wrote a story about some civil rights work by Rev. Demetrius Carolina, Pastor of the First Central Baptist Church in Stapleton, of which I am a member. I sent her an e-mail commenting favorably about her article but advising her of the serious censorship problems at the Advance. To my surprise Ms. Platt replied with an e-mail expressing interest in my issues and also claiming that she would never work for a paper that practices censorship. (If she meant it, she will have to start looking for work elsewhere.) She referred me over to several editors, such as Marjorie Hack and they buried everything.

The Staten Island Advance knows full well that I can prove major negligences by Diane Savino, the really bad State Assemblyman Matthew Titone and City Councilman Michael McMahon. They know I have the facts and the paperwork on the Clintons' involvement in the coverup of the genocide in Tibet. They know that I have the facts about domestic fascism in NYC, including Staten Island (via the racist Lenora Fulani and the "Independence Party of New York" - and Fulani's ideological godfather, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.).

And now that I am a write-in candidate for the U.S. Congressman the Staten Island Advance is trying to shut me up again by singling me out for exclusion from the Advance-sponsored debates on October 15 and the 28th. the Advance is even covering up its coverups. (The October 28th debate is co-sponsored by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. Hopefully the Chamber of Commerce's President & CEO Linda M. Baran and it's Vice President Patrick Hyland have more respect for the first amendment and for the voters of the 13th congressional district and will see to it that I am included in the October 28th debate).

And so Ben Johnson might be interested to know that Brian Laline, who ignored a mountain of information provided him by me and my Communicatons Director Frank De Luca on the Wrobleski censorship, in a one line note apologized for excluding me from its debates and said that the Advance wants to confine itself to candidates whose names appear on the ballot. What that means that they favor candidates who are backed by political party machines.

One of the stories covered up by the Advance was the political blowout in the NYC City Council some months ago generated when the imperious Council Speaker Christine Quinn ("The Marie Antoinette of City Hall") sabotaged the effort to have several blocks of a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant now named for a slaveowner named Gates renamed in honor of the late and very controversal black nationalist Sonny Abubadika Carson. Among those who most vociferously denounced Carson, thereby disrespecting thousands of African-Americans, was Councilman Michael McMahon. I was in the Council chambers that day and I saw the whole thing.

Some months ago at a Sonny Carson-supporting rally in Brooklyn, a prominent Staten Island African-American activist, responding to my mention of the Staten Island Advance, said firmly, "The Staten Island Advance is the most racist paper in New York." As long as Tom Wrobleski runs things politically there, I cannot disagree.
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