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Bruce Apar's Ethical Double Standard (and Goof)

July 23, 2008

In the 99th Assembly district bitter words are being exchanged between challenger John Degnan and incumbent Greg Ball. The latter is accused of mailing out campaign literature containing lies about his opponent.

The North County News, which advertised for a copy editor recently, still needs the services of a good copy editor or proofreader. The current edition features an editorial written by Editor in Chief + Publisher Bruce Apar from which we extracted the following gem:

“A Degnan supporter has been sending anonymous letters to Ball supporters that claim to tell the truth about Ball. Whoever it is didn’t even have the strength of his or own convictions [sic]. Sending anonymous letters is an act of cowardice. Enough already.” (Mr. Apar obviously tripped over “his or her.”)

As the target of many snide remarks from a small band of vicious posters on the NCN chatroom, Crotonblog feels that turnabout is fair play. The phrase “act of cowardice” has been heard before at NCN. When that newspaper began a competing blog unimaginatively called “Croton Blog,” readers who posted comments were required to reveal their identities. Mr. Apar piously explained that anonymous comment on a blog was “an act of cowardice.” The real Crotonblog was regularly reviled for allowing anonymous comments.

NCN’s blog with the copycat name, however, was really a chatroom. It was soon closed down because of low participation. Mr. Apar next started a series of community chatrooms pompously described as “forums.” To encourage participation, the naïve former requirement that posters reveal what Mr. Apar had described as “their own legal names” was abandoned.

Nevertheless, other communities have assiduously avoided the NCN’s new pre-packaged chatroom forums. But a small group of PMFs (post-menopausal females) who conceal their identities behind covert names has hijacked the Croton chatroom, filling it with self-congratulatory compliments and back-fence gossip. And, of course, regular attacks on Crotonblog.

Leading the pack are six individuals—craven cowards by Mr. Apar’s definition. The names behind which they conceal their identities, and the number of posts each has made thus far, are: Maria (573), Jennifer (190), Carolyn G. (142) and Judith A. (61). We are also including two male PMFs who call themselves notorc (101) and william b r (68).

The total number of comments from these six shadowy busybodies is 1,125. What’s so amazing about this number is that, in a period of less than nine months, comments on the NCN Croton chatroom have totaled only 1,557. In other words, six individuals have posted three out of every four comments, a ratio that makes it positively incestuous—and boring beyond belief. Almost nobody else, it seems, can get a word in edgewise.

Crotonblog is therefore impelled to propound this question to The North County News Editor in Chief + Publisher: If, in your opinion, sending anonymous political letters in Putnam County is an act of cowardice, Mr. Apar, isn’t writing anonymous comments on the NCN’s Croton chatroom equally cowardly? How about composing another editorial, this time to explain NCN’s ethical double standard? And do proofread it more carefully.

On July 31, 2008 11:12 AM, weewill said:

Thanks for you compliment, oldtimer, but I am far from “eloquent.” One need not be eloquent to present the truth .. only factual.

One of the ncn chatroom regulars posted the following “fact.”

“We learned yesterday that this forum’s (meaning the NCN Forum) numbers are off the charts here in Croton.”

I suggest the poster should consider that the “off the chart numbers here in Croton” reflect only a very few actual readers. For example, I “hit” the forum at least a dozen times every single day. I’ve committed myself to “monitoring” the posts so I can challenge the not-so subtle spin and false impression that may result from their inner circle conversations.

Georgianna Grant

On July 23, 2008 8:34 PM, TeaDrinker said:

I can’t be as eloquent as Geogianna. She speaks from her own long experience with these people. From time to time, I have tried looking at the NCN site. Chatroom is the proper designation to describe it. It’s run by a few insiders who have opinions on every subject, whether their comments are meaningful or not. Among their especially boring communications are the frequent thank-you notes exchanged to compliment someone else in the group for posting an item appropriated from the Journal News. Big deal! And their insincere praise for their “hero du jour” is sickening.

Reading this chatroom’s collection of meaningless comments and private messages made me feel very uncomfortable. It’s like you’ve accidentally listened in on a party line telephone conversation. Or like finding yourself at some secret club meeting when you don’t know the special handshake used by members. After reading it for a while, you get the feeling that this NCN site is a tuxedo and you’re a pair of brown shoes. There ought to be a big sign up front reading, “FOR MEMBERS ONLY.” There’s little on it for the average intelligent Croton citizen.

Heaven help anyone who gets on the wrong side of this crowd. The latest well-intentioned village volunteer who has become their whipping boy is Kieran Murray, organizer of the Harmon committee. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to pick up his marbles and go home after his run-ins with them. They picked apart his Committee’s report mercilessly and found it wanting. Their roadblocks are in place. Nice try, Kieran.

If anyone considering moving to Croton or opening a business here changes their mind after stumbling on the mean-spirited NCN site, it would be because no sensible person would want to live or work among hypocrites like these. Busybodies is the right word to describe them. I’m absolutely ashamed that they may be my neighbors.

On July 23, 2008 7:59 PM, Devil's Advocate said:

Absolutely true Georgianna, the NCN blog is the opinions of 5-6 posters at most. They cannot be allowed to go unchecked any longer!

I encourage each and every Crotonblog reader (and village resident) to get a User ID on NCN Blog and challenge every rumor, innuendo, insinuation, exageration, and flat our lie they post. Their online party MUST come to an end for the good of the village. This is the only way their political manipulation will be put to an end.

Right now no one is challenging them and so their version of reality is out in Cyberspace to see and unfortunately it is effective for them, as many people take their repetition as fact.

I urge you all to fight back! Again, challenge them on their own turf, the NCN blog.

On July 23, 2008 3:40 PM, weewill said:

We’ve long believed the NCN chatroom is a “pretend” blog with “pretend” posters and “pretend” facts. Those anonymous posters would have you believe they are authorities on just about every issue relative to Croton. They’ll challenge and refute highly paid professionals (hired by their own tax dollars incidentally) in every field from planning, to operations to legal issues – from water control, storm management and engineering – to finance, recreation and environmental protection. Even more amazing is their self-proclaimed ability to know what motivates not only the Mayor and village staff, but every single person not buying into their propaganda. They operate on the false premise that if you say something often enough, and loud enough, people will believe you.

Not so, ladies and gentlemen. The numbers they quote as being a huge representation of Croton residents’ opinions, are only “pretend” numbers. They can “pretend” the numbers reflect the masses. The public won’t be fooled and recognize that they are the opinions of about “six shadowy busybodies.” And yes, they deal in lots of gossip, rumors and innuendo as they “pretend” to be smiling and non-partisan.

The ncn blog/chatroom/forum … whatever it’s called - is a sham and a farce. It reflects badly on the newspaper and certainly provides no public service for Croton.



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