Saturday, November 08, 2008


UP FRONT News November 5, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."


By Tom Weiss

In the spring of 2007, during a major political confrontation precipitated by the arbitrary action of the imperious New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn ("The Marie Antoinette of City Hall"), who, in collusion with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, arbitrarily overruled the wishes of the Brooklyn community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, which had decided to change the name of a few blocks of a local street to honor the late African-American activist Sonny Abubadika Carson, I was at a protest demonstration in Brooklyn on the issue. I was stand- ing next to Staten Island African-American activist and former candidate for elective office Kelvin Alexander. Sonny Carson, who had been active in getting drug traffickers out of the community and who was involved in the creation of Medgar-Evers College, had also once some years ago reportedly responded to a question about anti-Semitism by denying any such views but confessing to "anti-white" feelings. That comment has angered Ms. Quinn , Michael Bloomberg and some others who know very little about Sonny Carson.

As far as I was (and am) concerned, the main issue was (and is) one of community self-determination. Mr. Alexander agrees. The Bedford-Stuyvesant community was very much in support of the street name change and expressed itself in a petition signed by thousands and the vocal support of elected officials including City Councilmembers Al Vann and Charles Barron. The proposed name change was perhaps rendered even more rational by virtue of the fact that the existing name, "Gates", memorializes another slaveowner.

Mr. Alexander and I talked some about Staten Island politics, which is essentially run by almost lily-white major party machines protected by the establishment-coddling multi-billionaire Donald Newhouse-owned Staten Island Advance. I have a multi-year history of battling news censorship and slanted political reporting at that paper directly involving for the most part Political Editor Tom Wrobleski. In fact in 2005 Wrobleski sat on the story of my candidacy for the U.S. Senate against Hillary Clinton for months. Indeed, as I have said and written, Tom Wrobleski has the de facto gold medal for not answering phone messages and e-mails. The tactiturn Wrobleski is the Dick Cheney of New York journalism.

All of that changed on August 26, 2005 when Dan Janison of Newsday accurately reported the public dispute between myself and the seriously paranoid NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, with whom via a member of my family I have been acquainted since my Aunt Dolly's funeral in 1979. Ms. Gotbaum has a closetful of political skeletons involving things like ties to the CIA and related adultery. Once the wealthy and very connected Gotbaum learned of my work as a free lance investigative journalist, she tried to protect herself from me. Once she tried to have me arrested when I was at her office for a scheduled appointment with her Chief of Staff to discuss staff abuse of homeless people in drop-in centers and shelters. I got saved by the NYPD's Sgt. Al Fiore, who is definitely more stable and competent than the quite impaired Gotbaum.

And then Gotbaum lost it when in she claimed to the lawyer and NYC Public Advocate candidate Norman Siegel that I was "stalking" her.

She then repeated that defamatory reference to me in a televised campaign debate also covered in the print media. As regards "stalking", Ms. Gotbaum really flatters herself since as a journalist I sometimes cover events she is at. As reported by me, the notion of "stalking" Betsy Gotbaum - or anyone else for that matter - reminds me of the country song "I Ain't That Lonely Yet" by Dwight Yoakum. Gotbaum later very quietly apologized by via a telephone call from an aide to my friend and UP FRONT News Editorial Advisor Willard Whittingham.

On August 26 NYC Newsday published an essentially accurate article reporting not only my side of the Gotbaum vs. Weiss matter but also the fact that I was a candidate for the U.S. Senate. That story was read all over City Hall and many other places in the five boroughs and Long Island. (Newsday is a much better and more widely read newspaper than the Advance.) In an act of apparent desperation, Wrobleski called me asking for an "exclusive."

Following a brief telephone interview, his article, with a front page lead, appeared in the Advance on August 27, 2005. It was willfully error-riddled and slanted. Indeed, since Wrobleski's article contained falsehoods reported as facts, my lawyer at the time characterized it as defamatory. The Advance promised corrections and reneged. It also refused to publish the letters to the editor they asked me to send.

On August 27 much more accurate stories appeared in the Daily News (by Celeste Katz) and The New York Times (by Jonathan Hicks).

When, in my conversation with Kelvin Alexander at the Sonny Carson rally, I mentioned the Advance, he interrupted me and, with a hard stare, said, "The Staten Island Advance is the most racist paper in New York." When I expressed some reservation about the word "most", he repeated it.

In light of my now several years of experience with the Advance, I have to conclude that Mr. Alexander is right.

After the slanted Gotbaum article appeared, Wrobleski reverted to total censorship of my U.S. Senate candidacy. I then wrote a widely circulated article on that criticized the Advance for censorship and referred to Tom "Wrongleski." Some days later I was on the phone with editor Dean Balsamini, who was fully aware of my candidacy and my media history. As we talked he read my article on his computer and exclaimed over the phone, "You trashed my reporter."

I reminded him of Wrobleski's slanted reporting and news suppression. Not too long after that I received a call from Wrobleski asking for a telephone interview.

His article, appearing on the front page of the Advance on August 21, 2006 under the headline "With the stroke of a pencil, vote for anyone", would have received perhaps a C+ in a second level school of journalism." Wrobleski's article essentially protected Mrs. Clinton by for the most part ignoring my major human rights issues with the very corporate Republicrat Hillary and focused on the technicalities of a write-in candidacy. Near the end he did mention the Tibet Genocide (the Clintons are directly involved in the coverup of the Tibet Geno-cide and I have the proof), which makes the Advance perhaps the only paper anywhere to report a genocide and not follow it up.

And since the Tibet Genocide involves the brutal oppression of a dark-complexioned people culturally and ethnically distinct people and nation by a light-complexioned totalitarian regime, it is racist and covering it up is also racist.

And that explains why, during my recent write-in candidacy for the U.S. Congress in the 13th Congressional District (all of S.I. and parts of Brooklyn), in a long telephone conversation between Wrobleski and my Communications Director Frank De Luca, the Advance man said he did "not care" what I said or wrote about Tibet and Hillary Clinton. This guy should head the Beijing desk.

The Advance has suppressed stories on major negligences by State Assemblyman Matthew Titone. Titone, who has angered at least one minister with his habitual disregard of the truth and his failure to properly provide mandated constitiuent services to me, may well be facing questioning by the ethics people in Albany (who have responded to emails and calls from me) not to speak of law enforcement. Perhaps that kind of news suppression at the Advance is to be expected as in Wrobleski's defamatory August 27, 2005 article about me he allowed one Keith Parascandola, Chief of Staff to both the late John Lavelle and then Titone (talk about being entrenched in what has been rightly rated "the worst state legislature in the country") to slander me in print. The same holds true for State Senator Diane Savino, whose at least borderline violent Chief of Staff Robert Cataldo once nearly assaulted me in her district office at 36 Richmond Terrace, a short walk from the St. George ferry terminal. Cataldo has a police record as a result. Not a syllable in the Advance.

Among the stories downplayed in the Advance was the Sonny Carson confrontation which was heavily reported in all other NYC media. Among those who most vociferously played the race card along with Bloomberg and Quinn was North Shore Staten Island Councilman Michael McMahon, who took it upon himself to further ingratiate himself with "Quinnberg" by denouncing Carson at the Council.

And that explains at least in part why, with the exception of a September 16 report by Wrobleski at the Advance blog at, my campaign for the U.S. Congress (McMahon was the leading candidate) went unreported in that newspaper.

The Advance has also covered up the very politically relevant matter of the Independence Party of New York's racist albatross Lenora Fulani and her ties to the IPNY congressional candidacy of Carmine Morano. Among the people escaping coverage in this matter are the IPNY-entrenched Fulani's Staten Island loyalist Sara Lyons and the much more serious Fulani's links to the convicted felon and mega-fascist Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

In that regard the Advance's Deborah Young censored out of her November 13, 2005 story on a so-called "peace festival" on November 12, 2005 in Tappen Park in Staten Island, the loud confrontation between me and anticipated guest speaker neo-fascist and terrorism-linked LaRouche ideologue Geoffrey Blank.

All this explains why the Advance, over considerable e-mailed protests from community leaders such as Kelly Thompson ("Drinking Liberally" discussion group, S.I. branch) and Rabbi Gerald Sussman of the Temple Emanu-El, Staten Island in Port Richmond, et. al., excluded me from its two candidates debates. In the second debate, the rather obsequeous co-sponsor the S.I. Chamber of Commerce caved in. I would not want to be in an ethical foxhole with the likes of Linda N. Baran, the President & CEO of the S.I. Chamber.

I did participate as a candidate in debates sponsored by a coalition of non-profit anti-poverty groups at the Olivet Presbyterian Church (October 16) and also by the Staten Island branch of the NAACP (November 2). I also spoke as a candidate at the October 26 service of the First Central Baptist Church in Stapleton (of which I am a member) led by Staten Island's most outspoken and well-known civil rights leader Rev. Demetrius Carolina, who reads UP FRONT News as well as the Bible.

Fortunately the First Amendment in Staten Island has not been totally interred by the Advance (known to increasing numbers of people as "The Staten Island Retreat"). In the context of my Advance-ordered exclusion from its congressional candidates debates, which took place at the very corporate Hilton-owned Garden Inn Hotel in the rather remote Bloomfield area, near New Jersey, William Kline, the Co-editor in Chief of "The Banner", the newspaper of the College of Staten Island, wrote a solid story about my congressional cam- paign appearing in the October 27, 2008 edition under the headline "No Room in Garden Inn." There are now thousands of copies throughout Staten Island and beyond. I've put it on the internet.

Mr. Kline, who expects to attend one of the better graduate schools of journalism after graduation, seems like a good political reporter, which probably means he would not be welcome to work at Donald Newhouse's Staten Island Advance.

Racism is a major problem in Staten Island. Indeed some of the more egregious incidents, such as the Hallowe'en, 2007 police abduction of a reportedly egg-throwing black young-ster, do get covered in the Advance, which cannot afford to suppress S.I. events covered in the other media. And as regards consistently getting scooped on political stories by other media, in fact it was the other tabloids, Newsday, Daily News and New York Post, which broke early stories years ago on the very belatedly disgraced Vito Fossella. The Advance protected Fossella for years. The Virginia police on the lookout for (philandering) drunks at the wheel get the credit for ending that censorship.

Mr. Kline at The Banner (I've also been covered in other college print and broadcast media, e.g. Queens College "Knight News", radio stations at Binghamton University and SUNY Purchase, "The Spectator" at Columbia University, and at the College of Staten Island's WSIA) has expressed interest in other stories that might be covered up at the Advance such as violent racism of an anti-Jewish nature (against me) at Workforce1, a employment assistance and training agency at 60 Bay Street in Staten Island. That situation, already reported in UP FRONT News, and well known in civil rights and some religioius circles, is being investigated by the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Violent people such as the menacing Allen Dawson, a racist thug and now known to the NYPD who is being protected by admistrators like Workforce1's Robin Johnson, need to be exposed.

Having lived in all five boroughs I have grown to like Staten Island - with its very energetic and often cover charge-absent grass roots arts world, its open mics, its First Central Baptist Church and other houses of worship, its small town qualities and its actual ruralness, its Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, free ferry and (relative to for example Manhattan) rational prices for at least some of life's necessities, etc. - a great deal.

Staten Island however has long way to do to clean up its machine politics.
And as far as the Staten Island Advance is concerned, the fact that this politically racist newspaper has some black reporters is window dressing of the sort made famous at the Republican National Convention of 2000 in Philadelphia where the white citizens council known as Karl Rove/Dick Cheney/George Bush put a bunch of complaint and connected African-American people out front on the dais. The Condoleezza Rice Effect.

The crime reporting in the Advance is thorough, as is its high school sports coverage. The "World" Section sometimes runs some interesting national and international stories from the Associated Press and Reuters. The supermarket advertising is of Pulitzer Prize quality. And I actually got quoted by a presumably Wrobleski-free reporter named Maura Yates in her story a few months ago on the often really instrusive and inconsiderate ferryboat "preach- ers." My comment merely reported what I have often told these guys who are under the very mistaken impression that Jesus had bad manners. I reminded them that "Jesus said, 'speak softly'" and that "You're creating a boatload of atheists." At least, unlike Tom Wrobleski, she didn't misquote me.

Politically, as long as Tom Wrobleski and Editor Brian Laline (Laline is the George W. Bush to Wrobleski's Dick Cheney) are in power, the Staten Island Advance will be the worst newspaper in New York.
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