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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, October 28

If Mom says she loves you, check it out.

I'm getting sick of this whole blog business. The trouble is that blogs can give any Tom, Dick, or Harry a platform by which to voice their views, and to state "facts," without any real accountability. This blog, and other like it -- those published by established news outlets -- strive to do better, and we at least have face and names attached to what we write, but the comments posted here can still present problems.

I would like to caution readers, however, that the majority of blogs, as well as comments posted under stories, should not be viewed as reliable sources of information. Please don't base your Election Day decision based on anything that you read on an unaffiliated blog. Get your information from the newspapers, or more reliable sources of information.

Take for instance the newest addition to the cesspool of blogs purporting to cover Saratoga Springs, Saratoga In Decline. This blog, contributed to penned by self-described "economic refugee" John Tighe (possibly along with as-yet unidentified accomplices), appears to be little more than a semi-literate repository for anti-Ron Kim, anti-Skip Scirocco propaganda.

It's fine to not like Ron Kim, and I have certainly criticized him from time to time. It's not fine to promote half-truths or outright lies, as fact. Take, for instance, an entry posted yesterday, which states unequivocally that NXIUM, and/or Executive Success Programs has purchased the Adelphi Hotel. This isn't true.

Here's what is true: The Adelphi is for sale. An individual associated with ESP was seen coming out of the building. Therefore, the blogger makes the assumption that the hotel has been sold, and that we're all going to be turned into zombies. This is so far out of left field that I can't even begin to understand how any person thinking in the best interests of their city would purport it as fact, without presenting some kind of presentation of facts.

Here are some other fallacies that are currently making the rounds of the blogosphere:
1) If elected Mayor, Ron Kim would appoint Valerie Keehn as his deputy. Not true. Keehn and Kim have both said that the former mayor has no interest in being deputy mayor.
2) Skip Scirocco is an anti-Semite. Again, not true. There were some Jewish stereotypes posted on the Saratogian's website, under the guise as a missive to DPW candidate Ed Miller. First of all, the comments were more cartoonish than offensive. Yes, Miller is from Brooklyn, and has the accent to prove it. Yes he once sold Kosher hot dogs. What about that is antisemitic? Second of all, even if the comment was intended to be antisemitic, there is no evidence that it was posted by Scirocco. Let me tell you, I don't know how many of the city races are going to go down, but I am very confident (sorry Eddie) that Skip Scirocco is going to win a second term. He knows it too, and therefore, there is little reason for him to resort to such base tactics.

That's my cautionary statement for the night. If you read something on the Internet that strikes you as possibly true, or that you have a question about, please feel free to send me an email (abernstein@saratogian.com), or post as a comment here, and I will do my best to present you with the truth.

I'll probably get flamed for this, but I was moved to write this post when a good friend of mine, who I consider very well informed, asked me earlier today if Keehn was still going to be Kim's deputy. Since it's been widely reported that Keehn was never considered for that post, I was made to realize just how much mis-information is apparently out there. And that, is something that deeply concerns me.

39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thigestein,
Im sorry for making stuff up andrew, you're 100% right.

October 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I'm taking you up on your offer. I got a "Vote for Kim" mailing that stated that we could have used the bonded funds for the Rec Center for a Public Saftey Building. I'm sure this is true (anything is "true" with the right amount of money and influence), but what was the real cost of this option?

We could just swap out the project for no cost? How quickly did we have to spend the money, and could we just stick it in the "savings account" and wait to see how it made sense to spend it?

How much was already spent at that point that would have been lost (as the same flyer points out that switching locations wasted money on site planning twice).

The flyer was prety well done, although it was (a) negative campaining and (b) on an issue that looks back and not forward.

It also tries to claim that Kim would be better at getting the union contracts done, but the current ones are (IMO) not affordable, and he was part of negotiating that.

Are Kims claims to have saved the city tens fo thousands of dollars true by cutting starting salaries? How many FF did that affect, and how was the pay of that same person affected 5 or ten years down the road? If you pay them $10,000 less now per year, but make it up to them later... well i'm sure you have heard of robbing peter to pay paul.

Also, on another topic, if you underfund a line item (such as health care) in a budget, is it not understood in government like it is in business that you are expected to make that up elsewhere? The total number of dollars you get is the one number you have to hit. How you shift things around internally to meet your goals is called management.

I guess i am naive to the ways of city budgeting. I would assume you decide how much money you have, and then how you spend it. not how much you want, and then where to get it. I understand that the mandated and contractual items come first, but if that leaves you with nothing to plant flowers, pick up grass clipping, or man a 2nd fire station, then so be it.

You and i could never get away with the way the city has behaved fiscally, but i guess they learned from the federal govt. Very little "revenue" for the city is actually revenue. It is mostly taxes. The only way to save, is to not spend.

October 29, 2009 at 10:09 AM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon: 10:09 a.m.: Thanks for your questions, I'm compiling a response and will post it as soon as it is complete.

October 29, 2009 at 10:19 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Andrew are you the one who asked Michelle Riggi about the sale of the beautiful house on
Greenfield Avenue and if she had any thing to do with it and she said NO. Why do you think the Adephi is any different. Property owners will do what ever it takes to get a sale.You were fooled once hope you don’t get fooled again.

October 29, 2009 at 10:50 AM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon 10:50: Yes, that did happen. I wouldn't say that I was fooled, though. Instead, we asked the questions, and reported the answers. Despite what the rumor mill was saying, the fact was that Michelle Riggi denied making the purchase. That came back around on her, when it came out that her husband was attached to the LLC that bought the building.

In this case, I'm not saying that it's impossible that the Adelphi has been acquired by NXIUM, I'm just saying that there is not yet any documentation or other evidence to prove it, and that I object to the presentation of fact that omits any evidence.

October 29, 2009 at 10:56 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am struck by your apparent indifference to a commissioner who blatantly lied about providing free and very expensive services to two homeowners in this city while expressing outrage at the suggestion of anti-semitism in blogs about Miller.

The Gazette has run two thoughtful stories that actually involved more than interviewing Scirocco (which is all you did). The Saratogian appears to be giving Scircoc a free ride. No wonder Scirocco will probably win.

If it had been a black person being attacked and they referred to watermellon what standard would you have used?

October 29, 2009 at 11:48 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that what they teach in journalism school these days? You ask a question they go yes or no and then you have a story. Have you ever heard of investigative reporting?

October 29, 2009 at 11:50 AM 
Blogger Ben Arnold said...

Is someone tarnishing my good name?

October 29, 2009 at 12:49 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Andrew, what an interesting set of priorities you've revealed. You seem to be more upset about a rumor about Val Keehn being Kim's deputy than the clearly offensive remarks posted about Eddy Miller. Those remarks, if you recall, were more than just "Eddy's from Brooklyn and sells Kosher hot dogs". If a posting had appeared in phoney black dialect making stereotyped references about African-Americans, would that posting move ahead of the Kim-Keehn thing on your list of what to get upset about?

And by the way, in your mission to "present the truth" what about telling the public the truth about Skippy's special water hook ups?

It would also seem to be inappropriate and unprofessinal for a reporter who is supposed to at least appear to be neutral to call a race in an election before the voters weigh in. But that maybe explains what you get upset about and why we don't learn any truths from you about what's going on in DPW.

October 29, 2009 at 2:39 PM 
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Andrew,

I wholeheartedly disagree with your assessment of blogs. They are an invaluable community resource that can be used and misused. To say they are without "real accountability" or "should not be viewed as reliable sources of information" or that people should rely solely on information gleaned from newspapers is very short-sighted.

I find it hard to believe that there is anyone who reads a blog or a newspaper thinking that it's the chapter and verse account of how things are on the street. In contrast, I believe most cognizant people --the real thinkers among us --take blogs and newspapers with a grain of sale. They digest this information with their own experience and then make educated decisions. As I said elsewhere, those who take everything they read on the Internet wholesale and without thought are the people who should and will be eliminated from out collective gene pool via Darwinism.

Regarding your good friend. I would advise him or her to attend a council meeting, go to the candidate forums and talk to the candidates themselves. This is the one time of year they'll always return a phone call or e-mail from a concerned voter. Some say they don't have time for this kind of thing. I respond, who doesn't have time for democracy?

October 29, 2009 at 2:41 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

now you're going to bang on andrew. Why haven't any of these posters asked these question's of thige? Oh, it's because you're thiges abettors, scrambling to save face. go get a life.

October 29, 2009 at 3:28 PM 
Blogger Ben lives on said...

I noticed you have paid banners on your blog.How much do you make on that?

October 29, 2009 at 5:08 PM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon 11:48 a.m.: I am not indifference to the apparent discrepancies between what Commissioner Scirocco told the Gazette, and then what he told the council (and me). However, it is not a question that we can take lightly. I can assure you that I have been spending a lot of time researching that story, and will have a report in the coming days.

I assure you also that I would object to slurs targeted at a black person, just as I would object to slurs targeting a Jewsish person -- what I said is that I didn't see a slur in the captioned comment.

Anon 2:39 p.m.: Since you clearly have no idea how a reporter works, here is how my reporting on the Riggi's purchase of the Greenfield Ave. property went:

We received a tip that crews were conducting abatement at the home. When I called the list-known owner, James Taylor, he declined to identify the purchaser. I contact neighbors, who said they believed the Riggis had bought the house. In the news business, this is what we call rumor.

To determine if the rumors were true, I called Michelle Riggi. She said "it's not us."

By that point, it was press deadline, so I reported everything I knew, taking care to point out that the property abuts that of the Riggi's: http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2009/05/07/news/doc4a031bbe24b92815206868.txt

Since you are a master of investigative journalism, what, exactly, would you have done differently?

I continued to follow the story, until a public notice of the creation of an LLC popped up. At that point, the "investigation" was able to resume, and, in fact, the Riggi's were exposed as having lied to me.

So, again, what would you have done differently. I'll tell you, as an anonymous blogger, you would have printed the rumor as fact. I can't (and wouldn't) do that. So there you go.

As to Tighe, I have no idea how much money The Saratogian makes off of the banner ads on this life, but I can assure you that none of it flows to my pockets. Thanks for the laugh, though!

October 29, 2009 at 8:17 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can assure you that I have been spending a lot of time researching that story, and will have a report in the coming days."


And when might that be, the day after the election?

October 29, 2009 at 8:56 PM 
Anonymous Kid Tatter said...

Andrew,

You are absolutely right, about Tighe. He is the blogger Ben Lives On! He made the same exact statement at the council meeting as he did on the blog. He is not smart enough to do it all himself so I would guess it would be Phil Diamond helping him out. They are both cut from the same cloth. Their bully tactics among city residents are legendary. Let thrive on picking on the weak. They have both been linked to the wretched McTygues.

October 29, 2009 at 9:16 PM 
Anonymous Cliff A. said...

Is that John Tighe? Why is he even talking? He has absolutely no credibility whatsoever. He spends his time lurking in the weeds to come up with dirt on people. He mostly makes up his stories such as Nxium cults and public safety deficiencies. He is truly demented and cannot be trusted.

October 29, 2009 at 9:30 PM 
Anonymous The Fool on The Hill said...

Andy,

You are right. It is Tighe doing the blog over there. What's even more pathetic is he is the only one commenting on the blog. Every comment that is pro Kim or any other dem candidates is squashed by him.

October 29, 2009 at 9:45 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

the best part is thige was seen filming the video posted on his abhorrent web site. now he wants everyone to think it's not him on there. you can't write this stuff. we know it's you. stop pretending, also you are one bitter and hateful person as is proven by the outrageous claims you make.

October 29, 2009 at 10:41 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

yeah horatio, i would say in this case andrew is right, you're rumor mill has been proven wrong on more than one occasion and thige is definitely misusing and abusing. defending this clown only diminishes your work. which at times is good. especially the carhardt article, they are a horrible fashion statement.

October 29, 2009 at 10:45 PM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon 8:56: The report was written for Friday's Saratogian, but it was pulled and held when law enforcement identified the remains found off of Fox Hill Road. Look for my report on the water line over the weekend.

October 29, 2009 at 11:09 PM 
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

demroc,

Despite your assumption, I'm not defending anyone in particular. And everyone makes mistakes at times...In my case, it's not often, but I've always had a policy of changing incorrect statements as soon as they're brought to my attention. You should know that by now. Papers also make mistakes. That's why they have correction boxes. I'm saying to discount the entire blogosphere as a 'rumor mill' or simple partisan tripe barfed onto the Internet is shortchanging the sites that do bring viable opinions and information.

My point is that people should be involved in their democracy, and if they're not, or relying solely on either the newspaper or blogs or both to preach their opinion, they're really shortchanging themselves.

Read. Attend a meeting or two. Hell, watch them online. Listen and digest. That's what participants in a participatory democracy do. Unfortunately from Andrew's missive, I'm getting the impression that either he thinks and/or has proof that people simply aren't doing this. There are always rumors. I don't blame him for being pissed. I guess I'd be pissed too if someone called for my head...oh wait...they already do...well...you get my point.

October 30, 2009 at 12:19 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Bernstein, for stating what I once thought was obvious, but am finding is not. As Horatio Alger currently does, I once found it hard to believe that anyone who reads a blog thinks that it's the chapter and verse account of how things are on the street. That was until I was subjected to listening to members of the public try to pass off certain blogs and commentary as fact during the public comment at the last City Council meeting. The majority is nothing more than anonymous cyber bullying at its finest.

I can't wait til November 4th and we can get back to the business of running a city as opposed to running for reelection from those 3 big leather chairs...

October 30, 2009 at 6:02 AM 
Anonymous The New Mayor said...

Andrew,

Nice job! Your blog is starting to take off. Finally a blog that is not so one sided like i-Saratoga and that poor excuse that Tighe is doing. Tighe is a disgrace and it is a blessing that he moved out of town. Saratoga Springs is better because of it. He has spread nothing but lies and filth since he has been here. All I have to say to him when he whines about not being able to live here is GOOD RIDDANCES!

October 30, 2009 at 7:29 AM 
Blogger demroc said...

momma said check it out.....
yeah, he's not very good a printing opposing opinions.

October 30, 2009 at 7:54 AM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon 2:39: I forgot to say in my comment last night, that my "calling" of the DPW race is based on my knowledge of some polling that has been conducted, as well as the sense I get from being in touch with the electorate.

While my reporting strives to consider both sides of every story, if eight of every 10 people I talk so say they're going to support Commissioner Scirocco, what conclusion as am I supposed to draw? I'm not showing bias, I'm just calling the facts as I see them.

October 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8 out of 10 people you talk to--now that's a scientific poll. As to the other polling you refer to--who did it? who was polled? how was the question phrased? All these things can influence the replies a pollster gets. So what facts are you referring to? It is not a fact who will win until someone wins. Why call a race at all prematurely??

October 30, 2009 at 1:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew-don't you know that the major networks have stopped reporting the results of their exit polls before the polls close lest they have undo influence on a race. As a reporter you are supposed to avoid even the apearance of bias. You've called your ability to be objective into serious question. One can only imagine what your water story is going to look like.....

October 30, 2009 at 2:27 PM 
Anonymous Chase Utley said...

Let's hope after Scirroco crushes this Miller clown it may be the last of these McTyglits as we know them. All their eggs will be squashed except for Franck who is smart enough to get away from McTyge and company. He knows if people like Phil Diamond and John Tighe are involved that it can't be good for him. For him to survive he will cut ties.

October 30, 2009 at 4:07 PM 
Anonymous The original saratoga hot dog said...

I would suggest everyone boycott Tighe's blog. Then he will be left with only cit council meetings to complain. The guy is a loser that is nothing more than a festering boil on the back side of McTygue. And he should be treated as such.

October 30, 2009 at 4:48 PM 
Anonymous It's Dr. Venkman! said...

That blog is a total bust. It's almost sad that he is padding his posts by posting himself under assumed named. Tell me. Is that the same as talking to yourself? Is Tighe a schizophenic? He always seemed nuts! FOUR WINDS IS WAITING!

October 30, 2009 at 5:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Andrew-I just talked to Eddy Miller and told him about your so-called opinion polls. He's out at Regatta View right now going door to door. Where's Skippy? Sitting in his new sound proof office? Eddy says he hasn't heard any bells yet and he's got 4 more rounds left in him.

October 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

i think people sometimes have a problem with bringing what they think should be and what is reality. we all want to think that people don't believe all the things on here, we all want to think that everyone does their home work and will never fall for some of the things that seem obvious. But ultimately, the reality is that they don't, that some people do mistake this as information, and some even promote it as such. agphoto had a great comment on this very topic. Think of them as margarita's and take then with many grains of salt.

October 30, 2009 at 7:43 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Original hot dog:

You say you "would suggest" boycotting Tighe's blog. What are you waiting for? What would it take to get you to actually suggest it instead of just saying you "would suggest" it?

Seems like you're waiting for something to happen first. Do you want someone to give you permission?

Are you afraid that if everyone boycotts Tighe's blog there would be one less outlet for people like Kyle York and John Kaufman, who are always wrong but can't resist the impulse to be wrong on the internet? Or that if we don't read Tighe's blog we'll never get to see all the ways the English language can be misspelled and misused? Or that we'll miss out on witnessing the spectacle of a truly psychotic mind crumbling right before our eyes?

Don't worry about it. Go ahead and suggest a boycott. You'll feel better and so will everybody else. Except Mr. Tighe, of course.

October 31, 2009 at 8:58 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anom, as far as reagatta view is concerned the polls are in....they are choosing someone they can trust
and that somone isnt Ed (Mctygue) Miller,

October 31, 2009 at 10:57 AM 
Anonymous Kid Tatter said...

Tighe was spotted downtown in a clown suit promoting his new blog. Along side him was none other than Phil Diamond,Cliff Ammon,Petey McT and Karen Klotz. Talk about your eggs in one basket! Too bad Boyd and the other McTygue brothers weren't there. That would have represented Miller's entire committee.

October 31, 2009 at 12:00 PM 
Anonymous agphoto said...

Andrew,

"The trouble is that blogs can give any Tom, Dick, or Harry a platform by which to voice their views, and to state "facts," without any real accountability."

This is true - but only one part of the equation. The Saratogian must take partial responsibility for the degenration of discourse when it comes to comments on their stories.

The fact that they have let stuff be posted up unfiltered in the past, letting comments like "i hope she dies" about an unfortunate bartender who crashed while allegedly driving drunk just encourages this sort of gutless thing.

It appears you have comment moderation on this blog; why can't the paper do the same on the internet? they wouldn't publish the above example, nor the comments about Mr. Miller in print, why is there an exception online? It's disgraceful stuff no matter where it appears. And they are enabling; it's hard to criticize the blogs when they are not keeping their own front porch swept

I salute you for trying to do what is often a thankless job with unrealistic deadlines. It's obvious that your management can't (or won't) properly resource your end of the news effort.

But i have to say that my read on the public works race differs from yours. I actually see the potential for a very close race, perhaps an upset. We'll see.

November 2, 2009 at 5:43 PM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

"agphoto," Personally, my two least favorite features of this newspaper are the "Sound offs" and the story comments.

I feel the same way about most of those comments (and most of the people who leave them) as I do about irresponsible blogs like Tighe's.

It is, I think not the paper's fault that the comments on the stories are trash -- other papers often have insightful, interesting discussions in their reader comments. I therefore have to point to a readership that is more interesting in bashing each other and hurling insults than in having a meaningful discussion.

Sometimes, you do see discussion on issues, but I wish it were more prevalent than it is. I do also know that reader comments are wildly popular, and therefor unlikely to go away.

I do moderate comments on this blog, which means that I read ever comment before it appears in public, and then reject comments that I do not feel are appropriate, or are objectionable. This is my blog, so I am able to set my own policies. I can't speak to the way comments on the web are moderated, as that policy is not up to me.

I recommend that you direct concerns in regards to reader comments to Stephen Shoemaker, Web Editor, ssshoemaker@saratogian.com.

In regards to the Public Works race, I guess we'll see after tomorrow! It wouldn't be the first time I'm wrong, and best of luck to all candidates.

November 2, 2009 at 6:10 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

well, there is the agphoto comment i referenced in my oct 30th post. I agree with everything he said with the exception of ed miller. He has tied himself at the hip to tighe and doesn't seem to mind tighe's scortched earth policy here on the blogs. The first bunch of posts on literacyindecline, were all to his benefit, and i don't buy the fact that he didn't know what was going on. So personally I don't feel sorry for someone who would use it to their advantage and then turn around and wants to seek comfort from it .

November 2, 2009 at 10:08 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

and the above reason is why i like posting here. you seem to keep the discussions civil and from going haywire. Also kudos for not taking crap from tighe.

November 3, 2009 at 3:30 PM 

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