Article

CRASH AND BURN AT ‘THE BORING BROADSHEET’ NEEDN’T BE THAT WAY

BY DN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY JULY 30, 2018) — And as the glorious summer takes the clubhouse turn, THE PLANET has to laugh at the “story” in The Boring Broadsheet polling readers about the Berkshire Mall. While it ignores significant news and presents such nonsensical fluff, The BB actually presents a between-the-lines story about its failure as the lone daily to uphold the safeguard of freedom that make even a nominally democratic society possible. We speak of the crusading drive a newspaper must have to cover — and DISCOVER — the news, both what’s obvious and on the surface and, more importantly, what’s hidden.

Fact is, however, that The BB will not “go there.” Like many newspapers, it finds itself wheezing on a death bed provided by the internet. The Old Professor has asked students for several years how many of the read a physical newspaper. The results shouldn’t shock you. Virtually NO student under the age of 40 reads a daily. Most don’t bother with what we recognize as hard news, and those that do get it from home pages and social media. THE PLANET shall leave that discussion for another day, the germane point being how the local daily has failed to deliver what publisher Fred Rutberg promised — a newspaper as vital to citizens as the power that heats, cools, lights, and propels their homes, offices, and vehicles.

The BB muzzles young reporters, who dare not cover their beats aggressively, else how is it that THE PLANET gets wind of the dirt and grime without a practical effort? Answer: Sources. One covers city hall, political, business, public safety, and the other beats by cultivating sources in the know. They call it a “beat” because that’s what reporters are supposed to do: “beat” the trails digging up stories. The tales are there. One just has to know how to find them and, once in hand, develop and get them into print. That can only be done with an editorial management that encourages rather than punishes enterprise. Why do you think so many talented reporters have left … or been asked to leave. Jack Dew, Conor Berry, Andy Amelnyx, and many others who found stories only to see them spiked by the desk.

Kevin Moran, that decent but helpless (hapless?) journalist taking the silver to be executive yes man, needs to stand up to Fearless Leader and demand control of the newsroom. Job One: Form a three-person investigative team and turn them loose. That’s where the reclamation of his professional soul can be found. The only way a paper can do its job is when there’s a wall separating Rug Row upstairs from the ink-stained wretches in the newsroom. Without that wall, the publisher, driven by shrinking ad dollars, rides herd over “the gate.”

The gatekeeping function of a news operation is what, and who, decides what stories to let in or keep out. When the publisher controls the gate, you can be sure of a timid, boring, irrelevant newspaper that prefers puff and PR over the persistence of integral reporting.

As an  attorney and judge, Rutberg did well by himself. We congratulate him on that. He was shrewd enough of a businessman to put together syndicate to buy for a paltry million a once-elite local daily. The “fire sale” price returned the paper to local ownership. That, too, was a good thing after the disaster of Dean Singleton and his rapacious Media News Group. After a promising start, in which the new owners said the right thing, they failed to carry it through.

We imagine the financial pressures of running  physical newspaper did most of the talking, and the most unfortunate victim of the negotiation was the editorial independence of the newsroom, which leaves us with The BB in its present state.

Citizens of Berkshire County and Pittsfield particularly have seen how local politicians, officials, and Big Shots have acted in the wake. It’s human nature to expect corruption when you mix power, greed, access to money, and little accountability. The daily newspaper has been and still could be the greatest protection of citizens, but it has to be run with courage. Oddly enough, the type of editorial boldness that The BB ownership so greatly fears is the one development that could put it on a circulation skyrocket — and as circulation goes, so do ad dollars.

The paper could say goodbye to circulation inflation, a deceptive practice where a paper counts the number of papers printed, as the number of copies being sold. No more dumping bundles in backlots and Dumpsters. No more counting freebies as paid circulation. No more software to generate website hits that didn’t really happen. …

THE PLANET knows how to bring that paper back to life and relevance. If Rutberg wants a free consultation, all he has to do is dial “V” for “Valenti.”

—————————————————————————-

“Everything right in America … if you can fight in America” — From the play and movie West Side Story.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

72 Responses to “CRASH AND BURN AT ‘THE BORING BROADSHEET’ NEEDN’T BE THAT WAY”

  1. Wonkru
    July 29, 2018 at 6:13 pm #

    Well, what exactly was the profit margin last year?

  2. Fugimoto Hockalugi
    July 29, 2018 at 6:39 pm #

    Perhaps the Planet will entertain the thought of a coffee with set em free Freddie. Comrade Rutberg holds them regularly.

    • danvalenti
      July 30, 2018 at 10:08 am #

      Would glad to have coffee with Fred. He knows how to get in touch with me.

  3. Lenny
    July 29, 2018 at 7:01 pm #

    Newspapers are obsolete. The BB is dying a slow & painful death. Cancelled my subscription a while ago – it’s nothing more than a liberal propaganda rag.

  4. Jonathan Melle
    July 29, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

    Here are some topics the Eagle could cover:
    * Pittsfield’s economic inequality! Pittsfield and the Berkshires are one of the most economically unequal community/region in the state and nation because there are no living wage jobs for the average worker. Pittsfield has neighborhoods (West-side and Morning-side) with acute poverty that has even attracted the attention of the Federal Reserve in Boston. At one point in time, teen pregnancies and welfare caseloads in Pittsfield doubled the statewide average.
    * Pittsfield’s loss of population! Thousands of people have had to move away from Pittsfield/Berkshires due to job loss.
    * Pittsfield’s one political party domination of government. If you are not a Good Old Boy “Democrat” political hack, you have no real voice in Pittsfield politics. Moreover, a majority of residents do not bother to vote in “elections”. If you speak out about Pittsfield’s issues/problems, you lose your job and get blacklisted from employment. If you really speak out, you are targeted by vicious rumors.
    * Pittsfield’s PCBs! The Consent Decree capped most of the industrial chemicals in Pittsfield. The problem is that caps are finite and become ineffective as time passes by. That means local residents, such as Hill 78 abutting Allendale Elementary School will spread PCBs in a matter of time.
    * Pittsfield’s unsustainable public finances! Pittsfield politics raises local taxes by 5% per year for decades, it has hundreds of millions of dollars in debts, and it has major projects such as the new Taconic High School and Waste-water treatment plant.

  5. dusty
    July 30, 2018 at 12:36 am #

    I read second hand copies saved by a relative. Sometimes they are 10 days old when I get them. While there are some interesting bits here and there I do not feel like it is a must have news source.

    While years ago I was a customer I did drop the old version when I realized they were a tool of local government and had many a slanted story. I felt that they were only too happy to dupe their own customers if that is what city hall asked them to do. Many of their unsigned editorials seemed to be written by city hall.

    My opinion is that the reinvented version under new ownership is much better than the wasted effort old Eagle. However, I do not feel the new version is going to dig very deep into local scandals if they involve the politically sensitive elite. They seem to still be a tool of the machine while trying hard not to be obvious about it.

  6. Pat
    July 30, 2018 at 4:55 am #

    The Berkshire Eagle is one of the most if not the most politically biased newspapers in the country. The Berkshire Eagle is just as bad as the biased liberal media reporting that we see on MSNBC, CNN, and the major networks and obviously wants to model itself after them. If Rachel Maddow is crying for the impeachment of President Trump then the next day we will read the same thoughts in the Berkshire Eagle editorial section.

    It’s not just biased local news, but also biased political news that favors progressives across the country that is constantly promoted by the Berkshire Eagle.

  7. Pat
    July 30, 2018 at 5:26 am #

    Then the Berkshire Eagle cancelled its message board. Further proof that they have no interest in other ideas.

    • NIB
      July 30, 2018 at 5:57 am #

      A liberal rag shutting off conversation and opposing views. Somehow that’s not surprising.

      • Downtown Dweller
        July 30, 2018 at 8:48 am #

        It was my understanding that the comment section of the paper was shut down because it was becoming more and more like Topix. Really a shame because *eons* ago, you could actually share ideas on Topix.

        • Pat
          July 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm #

          This site manages to maintain civility most of the time. The Berkshire Eagle could have maintained civility on their board with the proper management of it, but it was a convenient excuse for them to shut down free speech by saying it was becoming like Topix.

  8. The school committee
    July 30, 2018 at 6:12 am #

    The shooting on Cromwell is ongoing,they have not done a story on PCBs and Allendale air monitoring,Moon Caccamo, Kroll ,Rivers,White need to update parents on how air quality is measured.Taconic is behind schedule and McCandless and Behnke say it’s ahead of schedule…..Taylor still can’t believe Curtis,McCandless, and Behnke can live on the money we pay them….the new custodial director is making 100k with healthcare and Crosby school coordinator needs to work summers 8am till 4pm per contract

    • danvalenti
      July 30, 2018 at 10:07 am #

      THE BB has ignored or started-and-dropped a ton of stories: Murder of the 11-yr-old girl by her father, who then killed himself (or did he?), the $10 grand stolen at PHS followed by the sudden resignation of the principal (and others), a shooting on Wellington off Lincoln Street (where the boots still hang warning snitchers) … and on and on it goes. There’s no excuse. Yes, newspapers are dying, but if you ARE going to be in that business, do it with professionalism and balls. The two are not incompatible.

      • Spider
        July 30, 2018 at 10:23 am #

        Dan – so glad you mentioned these stories. These are the very ones that I think of so often.

        There was no reason why the death of the 11 yr.old and her father was never solved. And if it was, why hide the info from the public.

        I understand from very good sources within the school sys. that the school admin. and the police know the whole story.

        Talk about cover ups. And there are more.

        • Spider
          July 30, 2018 at 10:26 am #

          Addition: (School adm. and police know the story about “the missing money from PHS”.

      • Dilly Dally
        July 31, 2018 at 3:23 pm #

        They did cover the marriage.

  9. Still wondering
    July 30, 2018 at 6:25 am #

    I drove thru the Pit yesterday on my way to a Berkshire hilltown pond. Glad I moved away and I ain’t coming back.

  10. Wilson
    July 30, 2018 at 6:56 am #

    Hard to believe that anyone not on the government payroll would subscribe, the editorial page supports every tax increase.

  11. GMHeller
    July 30, 2018 at 10:05 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You claim “He (Rutberg) was shrewd enough of a businessman to put together syndicate to buy for a paltry million a once-elite local daily.”

    Yours is the first I’ve heard re the actual price paid by Rutberg & Co. (Rutberg, Robert G. Wilmers, Hans Morris and Judith Lipsey) for New England Newspapers, Inc., parent of The Berkshire Eagle. NENI’s other assets in that sale included The Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal.
    What is your source for this blockbuster piece of financial information because it’s been my understanding that Rutberg refuses to release the terms of the NENI transaction?

    • U
      July 30, 2018 at 10:25 am #

      Planet doesn’t reveal his sources. It could have been a 400 pound man laying in his bedroom.

      • GMHeller
        July 31, 2018 at 8:46 am #

        U,
        Name of The Planet’s actual source is not necessary, but so we can know that this is not just guesswork, what is necessary is some form of assurance that this information came from a knowledgeable source either inside The Eagle, inside NENI, or within Rutberg’s syndicate.
        It would also be of interest to know whether Rutberg & Co. are on the hook for NENI’s pension obligations.

      • danvalenti
        July 31, 2018 at 8:44 pm #

        We don’t reveal or identify sources when they speak on condition of anonymity. Getting someone in an official position (and often unofficial) to speak on the record is nigh impossible in Pittsfield because of the fear factor. Retribution is real, unfortunately. Fortunately, though, this does not stop THE PLANET.

  12. Mr. Fritz
    July 30, 2018 at 10:21 am #

    Too much collusion between the BB and the corner office. The BB no longer prints the police logs – wonder why?! What every paper needs are investigative journalists of the caliber & bravery of Ronan Farrow. The guy is a bloodhound – Mia must be very proud. Would love to see Ronan turned loose in Pittsfield!

    • Doomiedoger
      July 30, 2018 at 12:58 pm #

      Police logs are no longer printed because there is no crime in Pittsfield. Pittsfield is a wonderous artsy little corner of the world where happiness was invented and still lingers on even today. Lots of jobs creating unicorns and rainbows and Santa has been known to come more than once a year.

      And because there is no crime it is a haven for tourism and people from all over come to feel safe and warm and share smiles back and forth. The mayor refers to her town as The Emerald City and Oz has been know to grant wishes to those asking for TIFS.

  13. Wondrous
    July 30, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    Barry (colonel Sanders) is most likely giving the mayor advice, and her underlings on boards or on the administration team are …Incompetent.. Look at her roster? there

  14. Cosbies
    July 30, 2018 at 1:11 pm #

    Yes, just got back from Delaware and am awaiting new (important) news, from the G – Man.

  15. Wondrous
    July 30, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    Dear President Trump: Most of America doesn’t want your stinking Wall. Give it up!

    • Bill DeWahl
      July 30, 2018 at 2:10 pm #

      Most of America? You speak only for moon bats and snowflakes.

    • Pat
      July 30, 2018 at 2:52 pm #

      America needs a wall just like we need our ICE agents. That part of the world has become a very dangerous place and we need protection from it. 132 politicians have been murdered since campaigning began in Mexico.

      https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/27/americas/mexico-political-deaths-election-season-trnd/index.html

      • Shakes shakes
        July 30, 2018 at 3:24 pm #

        The vast majority of murders, 30,000 a year and climbing, have zero to do with illegals, and more to do with the conservative dogs of war and poverty unleashed on the country.

    • SisterGoldenHair
      July 30, 2018 at 7:58 pm #

      Dear Wondrous,

      Any American with half a brain wants a wall in those parts. Any American with a hole brain wants two walls and if you cross the first one and you get caught you are immediately removed -no judge, no jury, no non-sense. The second one is electrified so you can’t get over it alive.

  16. Shelly Liver
    July 30, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

    Cohen is not a liar. why would he lie?knowing that he could be under oath down the road. I believe everything he has said and do not believe the (Dons) or Rudy Retread.

    • Pat
      July 30, 2018 at 2:26 pm #

      Liberals were calling Cohen an unethical idiot not that long ago, but now that they think they can twist information from Cohen to get President Trump, Cohen has suddenly turned into an honest and respectable citizen.

      • dusty
        July 30, 2018 at 3:08 pm #

        Juliani, Trumps devoted lawyer, was also calling Cohen a very honest and ethical guy until he turned on Trump. Everybody is Trumps friend until they tell the truth and then they become slime. There is no room for integrity in Trumps world. Studies show that lemmings cannot tell the difference between pathological lying and reality even when it slams them in the noggin.

        • Pat
          July 31, 2018 at 4:08 am #

          That explains why progressives act like such lemmings. Progressives also have issues with logic as well. The far left is on a fishing expedition to find anything on President Trump. It started with the witch hunt with Russian collusion, but that was a dead end so now we have landed here with Cohen tapes. I will never vote Democrat again after the behavior I have witnessed since President Trump was elected by the people of this country. I will not vote Democrat again until the extremists no longer rule this political party.

          • NIB
            July 31, 2018 at 12:16 pm #

            Well put, Pat. Your posts are always well written and thought out. I used to vote mostly democrat until the party started changing under Obama and has morphed into something I find appalling.

  17. Amanduh Brane
    July 30, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

    The Eagle still has all the fluff that’s fit to print.

  18. The school committee
    July 30, 2018 at 3:52 pm #

    Pat Cohen is a player ,a Trump insider ,hes a bad man and he has alot of information on a guy he loves.He would take a bullet for the guy and Trump is turning on him.Anything could happen from here.He may stop fixing Trumps problems

  19. The school committee
    July 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

    The berkshire eagle has improved 10 fold,they are still whitewashing school spending,Allendale school poison,and problems in our police department

  20. mi
    July 30, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    Cumberland Farms on first street has been a real nightmare for police. Day after day.

  21. Rasputin
    July 30, 2018 at 6:09 pm #

    Even though I dead. I tell Trump what to do. American moon bats are correct.

  22. Ghost Rider
    July 30, 2018 at 6:24 pm #

    2 of the biggest lies in Pittsfield that everone should know:
    Hello, this is ________from the Berkshire Eagle. Off the record, what do you know about________________?
    or
    Hello, I’m____________from the Pittsfield Police, Office of the Sheriiff, DA’s office, Mass State Police, and we need your help and your anonymity is guaranteed!
    Guaranteed extreme fudge pack to follow!!!

  23. Cosbies
    July 30, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

    I will never forget Gaetani putting Rutberg on the carpet at Otto’s last fall. Gaetani asked Rutberg why it was that there is no Eagle Reporting at CCMettings? Rutberg tried to put Gaetani down, but the G Man demolished him.

    Warren Dews, an Eagle lackey got in Gaetani’s face. Gaetani told him that he would count to three and if Dews didn’t move he was going to mop the floor with him. Dews, quickly retreated, Gaetani, before he left called Dews and Rutberg Gobsigs.

    You’ve got to love Gaetani, the man is not afraid of anybody. Least of all these two. just spoke to Gaetani, and he wants nobody to forget what Rivers did.

  24. The school committee
    July 31, 2018 at 5:42 am #

    How will Behnke maintain a 125 million dollar high tech building with a custodial staff of 7 people.The old Taconic building had 13 when it opened in 1970.She gave herself a 25k raise and her gofur custodial director a 15 k raise but wont add 6 people to keep it at a very high level of clean.Private business takes care of their investments,Maybe Behnke will run the school into the ground in 5 years.The eagle should take picture then go back in 5 and you will see a rundown building….this is her responsibility

    • 12 Gauge
      July 31, 2018 at 8:03 am #

      The Pittsfield school department is run by kleptocratic democrats just like most school systems.

  25. Shakey Wakey
    July 31, 2018 at 5:45 am #

    Gaetani only fears the truth. Or maybe he is allergic to it.

    • Gobsig
      July 31, 2018 at 7:41 am #

      You have GAS – Gaetani Anxiety Syndrom.

  26. h
    July 31, 2018 at 6:08 am #

    Give example?

    • Shakes Wakes
      July 31, 2018 at 6:56 am #

      That the suspension of the WOTUS rule in January has anything to do with the NPDES permit Pittsfield refused to file or dispute correctly.

  27. mi
    July 31, 2018 at 6:11 am #

    Trump’s needs to get rid of Guiliani, he’s lost his mind.

  28. The school committee
    July 31, 2018 at 6:54 am #

    Two guys from New York who think they are young studs,both in their 70s walking around with the blinkers on.Pat please say Socialist like you don’t participate in social programs.

  29. The school committee
    July 31, 2018 at 7:01 am #

    The police only pull over cars on Williams .UPS,Dump trucks from gravel companies,Trucks with mowers and trailers,motorcycles may all go 65mph until the big accident happens.Lets put a light at Egremont and a 4 way stop sign at East New Lenox

    • 12 Gauge
      July 31, 2018 at 7:59 am #

      Good idea. You can see the nitwits speeding and yaking on their cell phones.

  30. The school committee
    July 31, 2018 at 7:06 am #

    The Eagle Sports section is great for local as it was non existent. GET Howard Herman the Williams college or guy to cover what interest people and you’ll have something.Nobody cares about the Williams athletic program.Umass football is not athletically interesting.

  31. Sojourner Truth
    July 31, 2018 at 7:12 am #

    Perchance the Eagle will go the same route( or simply go out of business)as the downtown candle bowling lanes. Evicted by an out of town carcinogen after 104 years of business.
    Anyone remember the lanes above the Highland ?

  32. AlaskanBushClowns
    July 31, 2018 at 7:28 am #

    Does the old women’s club still have lanes?

    • acheshirecat
      August 1, 2018 at 5:08 am #

      I did some work in that building just before elder services moved out and yes the lanes were still there. The space was being used as storage. There were no pin setters just chairs and the alley.

  33. h
    July 31, 2018 at 10:34 am #

    Kim Jong would like to thank the Prez, now he’s making bigger and better, great deal.

    • dusty
      July 31, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

      Exactly. And Russia and China are helping them make fools of Trump. Putin is treating Trump like his little marionette making him dance and sing and do incredibly stupid things. Trump thinks he is one of the cool kids but the people at the Kremlin are in hysterics.

      • 12 Gauge
        July 31, 2018 at 5:17 pm #

        This PMSNBC daily delusion was brought to you by dusty. Let’s hope they find a cure for Trump Derangement Syndrome.

        • Mr. Fritz
          July 31, 2018 at 5:58 pm #

          Dusty’s case is terminal.

  34. Cosbies
    July 31, 2018 at 3:33 pm #

    Gaetani plans to show every high school student in the city how the sand float technology works at the city’s two drinking water plants. He plans tours this fall when schools come back, in session.

    The sand floats are world famous and Gaetani has given presentations all over the world to scientists and engineers.

    When does a student get the opportunity to meed the inventor, designer and builder of the plants, right here, in their own city.

    Gaetani being a life long educator having taught biology, Che,is try and physics at the high school level and was a graduate level adjunct professor of enviorment mechanical, and chemical engineering at the Lenox Institute for research. He is a City Treasure.

    Gaetani is a diehard fan of the taxpayer and he he decides to run for Mayor, he would be a shoe-in, in any city that wasn’t gob-sig controlled.

    Never the less, if he runs, no one could match wits with him. All of us on this thread should take comfort that he will always look out for us at all times. Get the doors open mayor, the most important man in the City is coming.

    Dan,as I promised you three years ago, you will be the first guest in the plant, get ready.

    • SHH
      July 31, 2018 at 7:04 pm #

      Gaetani will not be allowed anywhere close to the plants.

      • Mr. Fritz
        August 1, 2018 at 4:48 am #

        Or the schools.

    • danvalenti
      July 31, 2018 at 8:41 pm #

      Very good.

  35. Dick Flimsy
    July 31, 2018 at 5:20 pm #

    !/4 of the voting population of Pittsfield voted for Donald Trump. Fred Nutberg and his Berkshire Eagle shit on these voters each and every day.

    • Nomad
      July 31, 2018 at 5:44 pm #

      The political cartoon on the opinion page in Saturday’s July 21st paper, depicted Trump voters as a bunch of hillbillies and retards.

      • Mr. Fritz
        July 31, 2018 at 5:57 pm #

        And this is why I don’t subscribe to the B.B.!

  36. The school committee
    July 31, 2018 at 5:41 pm #

    Russia is meddling with the vote again,Trump has ZERO interest in this espionage. If this elitist Billionaire st add nd by doing nothing to stop Russia will Trump voters still have blind love for the Elitist

    • Voytek Gobsigski
      July 31, 2018 at 5:58 pm #

      very fake statement

  37. H
    July 31, 2018 at 6:24 pm #

    Eagle doesn’t give fake news they just don’t give any news.

  38. Ron Kitterman
    July 31, 2018 at 8:14 pm #

    I’m of the theory that ideas expand to fulfill their own logic. It’s going to be interesting where the media of the future is headed on multiple levels.