There is much to blog on in our state today, and yet we keep returning to the latest “reporting” by our favorite local “reporter.”
We put both words in quotes because, well, neither is really accurate anymore. Over the past several months, we’ve watched the Niagara Gazette’s Mark Scheer’s writing move from the realm of legitimate journalism to something more akin to writing press releases for Francine DelMonte and Dan Rivera.
And so it is today, as Scheer, no doubt thinking himself the Gazette’s answer to Bob Woodward, breathlessly informs us of the latest scandal to plague Niagara County government: it seems that the county hired a law firm where County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek’s THIRD COUSIN works.
What a scoop.
Yes, you can see the machinations of the wily Republican Chairman at work here. No doubt, Henry W. cracked the whip on the Majority Caucus and demanded that his THIRD COUSIN’s employer get the job.
We suppose it could happen. Just like we can suppose Scheer could have met Rivera, played by Hal Holbrook, in the Rainbow Mall’s parking garage at 3 in the morning. (Sorry, but if Mark’s not going to take his role as a journalist seriously, well, then neither are we.)
Of course, a reading of the lead paragraph of Scheer’s press rele—er, “news article” manages to tell us the real story: “The head of the Niagara County Democratic Party believes political and personal connections may have played a part in the hiring of a Buffalo law firm that is currently representing Niagara County interests in a pair of high-profile lawsuits.”
In fairness, we’ve thought Scheer was a putz for months, ever since his famous “Stop Pointing Out to Niagara Falls That We Suck” column ran in the Gazette. But today’s hit-piece just cracked us up. If Dan Rivera “believes” it, well, it must be newsworthy.
Still, we hope to one day be in a position of influence in local politics so Rivera can go digging through our family tree. He’s apparently quite the genealogist. Heck, we don’t even know who most of our SECOND COUSINS are. Looks like Rivera’s Ancestry.com membership is really paying off!
What Scheer doesn’t know, but ol’ Hobbes does, is that Scheer didn’t even have this story first. Rivera actually pushed it on Buffalo News reporter Tom Prohaska several days ago. Prohaska asked around, including several individuals with whom the Niagara Times has communicated, concluded Rivera’s accusations had no real merit, and ended up writing an article about the merits of the lawsuits instead.
Prohaska has been in the news business a bit longer than Scheer, and knows a turkey of a story when he sees it. Moreover, though, he’s not a putz.
We still hold out hope that Scheer will one day become a real journalist. But the Gazette isn’t exactly a place where wannabes should learn their trade. Maybe it’s time that the Greater Niagara Newspapers send him down to the minors.