Yesterday, West New York, New Jersey Mayor Felix Roque and his son were arrested and charged with "gaining unauthorized access to computers, conspiracy and causing damage to protected computers" -- offenses which carry potential sentences of over 10 years.
At NJ.com, home of the Star-Ledger (print circulation now less than 200,000), one finds that the there is an even greater example of hackery than that involving political hacks allegedly perpetrating computer hacks. That would be hackery of the journalistic persuasion. In his coverage of the Roques' arrests, the Star-Ledger's Ted Sherman waited 19 paragraphs to directly tag Roque as a Democrat. Meanwhile, Sherman noted the mayor's support of Republican Governor Chris Christie -- twice (Paragraphs 5 and 20) -- and his short-lived endorsement of Joseph Kyrillos, the Republican challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. As will be seen, Sherman's shameful show of bias caps several months of disgraceful NJ.com coverage of Roque. First, excerpts from Sherman's coverage of the arrests, completely with shaky grammar (bolds are mine):
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West New York mayor arrested by FBI on hacking charges
West New York Mayor Felix Roque was arrested this morning by the FBI on charges of illegally hacking into a website associated with a recall movement, while attempting to tap into e-mails to find who might be plotting against him.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed the arrest and said Roque’s son, Joseph, was also taken into custody.
According to a criminal complaint filed under seal and released following the arrests, the two men are charged with an electronic dirty tricks campaign in an effort to disrupt and kill the recall movement, whose organizers included West New York and Hudson County employees.
Details in the complaint show the two men were playing hardball, in a place where politics is always a life and death struggle against competing Democratic factions.
Roque, who is a strong supporter of Republican Gov. Chris Christie and repeatedly suggested that he had powerful friends, but never mentioned the governor’s name.
... Roque, an Army reservist and doctor, is a Democrat who led a recall petition against former Mayor Sal Vega, then beat him in the city’s nonpartisan election on May 10.
But his support for Christie has angered many in his urban Hudson County community, leading to the efforts to toss him as well.
Roque earlier this year endorsed Republican Joseph Kyrillos against incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (N-N.J.) in February, only to awkwardly take it back a month later after facing pressure from his own party.
(Not that there's any conceivable defense for what Roque did if he's guilty of the alleged crimes, but is expressing support for Christie the only reason Roque is or was facing a recall?)
As the story about Roque's rogue behavior developed, NJ.com's allergy to Democratic Party ID's was obvious:
The Star-Ledger's print circulation is down over 50% from six years ago (March 31, 2006 circulation was 398,000), a decline which is far greater than that seen on average in the rest of the country. With the hackery just seen here, it's not difficult to understand why -- and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if NJ.com is also underperforming.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.