Another intrepid journalist

This story, from the Times Herald-Record, is virtually a case study in either a) the journalist as incompetent (not that I want to single out this reporter in the midst of an epidemic) or, worse, b) the journalist acting in the capacity of public relations shill (not that I want to single out this reporter in the midst of that epidemic, either).

First the background and then the money quote.

There’s this fine old Catskills resort called The Pines. It’s closed down. It’s boarded up. The owner of the property since 1998 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002. The place is now being trashed, by vandalism, by arson. You get the picture.

Now, listen to this:

The 96-acre hotel parcel is fenced, but the chain-link isn’t keeping anyone out. The gates are wide open.

“We’ve tried everything,” said Steve Proyect, a local consultant for The Fallsburg Estates LLC and its subsidiaries before the Planning Board. “I have personally put chains around the front gates, leading toward the golf course on, I can count five occasions.”

The developers have padlocked and boarded over the buildings’ doors. They’ve had people watch the property. Nothing works.

They’ve “had people watch the property. Nothing works.”

Goodness. They’ve even “had people watch the property.”

What could that possibly mean? “Had people watch the property,” at least in my vocabulary, doesn’t mean, “we hired a private security firm to protect the place.”

And if they didn’t hire a private security firm to protect the place, why is this Times Herald-Record reporter writing that “nothing works?” How about “there’s been no serious effort made to secure the property and make sure that it isn’t vandalized.”

If you read the entire story it sounds like the local government is on the same page with the property owner in this little game, and the reporter is right there with them.

A number of things come to mind when I read stuff like this, things I try to restrain myself from writing.

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