How Can We Pander To You? | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

How Can We Pander To You?

The front-page of the Sun-Sentinel is dominated by a story about Passover. Lois K. Solomon's report begins:

The smell of hot matzo ball soup, roast chicken, gefilte fish and freshly grated horseradish. Aunts, uncles and cousins gathered around the family table. Distinctive Hebrew songs. Cup after cup of sweet Manischewitz wine. Hours of reading and chanting and thinking: "When can we eat already?"

There are many Jewish holidays that evoke memories, but perhaps none more than Passover, which begins at sundown for Jews, including the more than 500,000 in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

That's fine and dandy, nothing wrong with marking the holiday in the daily newspaper. But putting that story above the fold on the front page is ridiculous. The Sentinel apparently thinks it's going to sell more newspapers by inducing sleep among its readers. Hell, Ambien sells pretty well, doesn't it? But here's the kicker: The same story dominated

the Lifestyles front of the very same newspaper. Well, practically the same story. Headlined "Savored Seders," John Tanasychuk's article begins:

Of all the Jewish holidays, Passover seems to create the most vivid memories.

That's what we discovered when we asked readers to share their remembrances of the holiday, from Passover preparations to sitting still as children for the Seder.

That's what we get now -- sheer, unadulterated pandering from the local paper. (There's more too -- this is the second story about Jewish Gator fans conflicted between their religion and the big game tonight). Yes, the Sentinel, which has largely abandoned real journalism in favor of "community news" and the insipid Help Team, is left to spew on and on about Passover. Look I know it's an exciting, breathtaking holiday and all -- two words: gefilte fish -- but of all the things that are happening in this world, this is all our tired, professionally bankrupt hometown newspaper can come up with?

No, there's more. When they don't pander, they scare. The other big story on today's front page is a Help Team special from Nancy McVicar about kidney failure rates "soaring" among South Florida's children. What does soaring mean? Well, there's 24 new cases each year in Florida, or eight new cases per million kids.

Again, I'm not saying McVicar's story shouldn't be in the newspaper -- it's solid. But to lead the front page with it is just stupid. It probably belongs on the Lifestyle front or perhaps less valuable real estate on the front page. But that's the problem. The front is so full of bells and whistles there's only room for three stories now, making the paper about as vibrant news-wise as a one of those Forum rags they publish all the place.

But hey, what am I complaining for? It's a holiday. Happy Passover.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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