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Adventures in Journalism: The North County News Does it Again

July 10, 2007

The North County News, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Yorktown Heights, claims to serve all the communities of northern Westchester. That’s a tall order for a paper that doesn’t even send reporters to attend the board meetings of the several communities it purports to cover.

In the current issue and on its website, an editorial commentary about the Paramount Center for the Arts by the paper’s pompously titled “Publisher & Editor-in-Chief” Bruce Apar caught our attention. It says, “Then there’s the singular support Paramount Center receives from Entergy, known hereabouts as the owner-operator of the twin plants at Indian Point Energy Center in Montrose.”

Entergy may be known “hereabouts” (which we presume to be The North County News editorial offices) as the owner-operator of the twin plants at Indian Point Energy Center in Montrose. But anybody knowledgeable about this part of northern Westchester knows that Indian Point is in the incorporated village of Buchanan, not in the hamlet of Montrose.

This isn’t the first gaffe in which Mr. Apar has revealed his appalling lack of local knowledge. Earlier, he waxed eloquent about how French Major John André was captured by the British in the Underhill house in Yorktown Heights. The problem, of course, is that Major André, the spy with whom traitorous American General Benedict Arnold had conspired to sell the plans of fortifications at West Point, was British not French, and he was captured not in Yorktown but in Sleepy Hollow. Crotonblog called this mangling of history to Mr. Apar’s attention, but he never acknowledged our correction nor the full extent of his own screw-up.

Almost in retaliation, Mr. Apar and The North County News vehemently attacked Crotonblog for following the established blogging practice of publishing comments by anonymous contributors. Anonymity makes especially good sense in a small village when tempers run high and neighbors cease to be neighborly. Mr. Apar’s bright idea was to create a competing blog on which contributors are required to identify themselves with their “full legal identity,” whatever that is. His blog calls itself, in Fox News style, “the first civilized and sensible blog for the citizens of Croton.” Yet, after someone from Ossining posted a highly critical comment about Mr. Apar’s blog, the post was summarily removed, we are told. Although Mr. Apar and his blog can dish it out, they apparently can’t take it.

The new blog, named TheBlogCabin.com, can easily be confused with the “Log Cabin Republicans”—the controversial gay Republican organization. It began toward the end of April with a single entry. To date, that lone entry has attracted 182 sporadic and listless comments from a handful of disgruntled former Crotonblog anonymous commenters. As one Crotonblog loyalist told us, “Out of curiosity, I logged onto the North County News blog. It’s the pits—like a bunch of monkeys sitting around and picking lice off of one another.”

When Mr. Apar joined The North County News, it fired its entire top-rated news and sports staff and replaced them with a pick-up team consisting mostly of untested amateurs. Mr. Apar and his acolytes had better pull up their socks if they want to gain readership outside the paper’s home base of Yorktown Heights. Otherwise it risks being regarded as Mr. Apar’s improvised explosive device when it implodes. And, instead of amateurishly starting a fight with Crotonblog as a ploy to build circulation, Mr. Apar would be wise to spend time improving his paper by gathering news and getting his facts straight. Finally, we would remind Mr. Apar that the principal reason for not treading on a rattlesnake is that it can rise up and bite you in the ass.

See also:

The Gasden flag was first dislpayed by American colonists to warn the British about their harsh repressive measures.



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