Wednesday, October 25, 2006


On Monday we received a communication addressing a situation in Matawan. The writer alleged that for the second year in a row, Courier has appeared in driveways in Matawan, shortly before Election Day and featuring articles favorable to the local Democrats. The writer went on to say that the local Democrats should report this on their ELEC reports as an in-kind contribution.
Back in January, the Monmouth County Republican Blog reported that the Flynn - DaSaro losing 13th District Legislative Campaign was given an in - kind donation of $2,100.00 from Courier. This was promptly refuted by Courier publisher and sometime - Democrat Jim Purcell; the bill was finally paid to Courier.
While we knew that Courier doesn't do in - kinds (Purcell said!), we thought this did bear some research, and so we directed the Honest Abe Research Foundation to look into this. They went through the Democrats' 2005 ELEC reports of every Bayshore town, including Matawan, and found some interesting stuff.
  • Aberdeen: On Oct. 19 and Oct 21, 2005, the local Democratic Executive Committee made two payments of $960.00 each, totaling $1,920.00, to Courier for "Distribution". This was reported by the executive committee as an expenditure made on behalf of the Aberdeen Democratic campaign; the campaign failed to report this as an in - kind from the executive committee.
  • Atlantic Highlands: Nothing spectacular. The Dems buy advertisement in Courier, that's about it.
  • Hazlet: On a 48 - hour Report dated November 3, 2005, the Hazlet Democratic campaign reported paying $1,940.00 to Courier for "Ads and Paper Delivery". While they did file the 48 - hour report, the Hazlet Dems failed to file their 20 - Day Post - Election financial report. Their 11- day Pre - Election report closes with a balance of $6,230.00 and no expenditures whatsoever reported. While we know about the $1,940.00 paid to Courier, we don't know what they spent the other $4,290.00 on, or if they raised and spent more!
  • Highlands: Only 48 - hour reports filed listing contributions to the local Democratic campaign. No expenditures listed.
  • Holmdel: No Dem advertisements in Courier. No distribution or delivery of the paper.
  • Keansburg: Non - partisan elections.
  • Keyport: No advertisements by local Democrats or distribution reported. There was a $2,500.00 contribution from some Raritan Bay Leadership Fund, a New Brunswick - based PAC (Lynch?).
  • Matawan: No record of any payments by local Democrats to Courier.
  • Middletown: Their ELEC reports show many advertising bills in Courier, and Middletown Democrat boss Joe "King" Caliendo does advertise heavily in that paper. They do not, however, make mention of paying for paper delivery.
  • Union Beach: No campaign reports found. Nothing. (Did any Democrats even run there in '05?) Sworn statement filed for Dem County Committee.

Jim Purcell is a frequent visitor to this Blog and we hope he will explain this newspaper delivery matter.


Jackie Corley said...

My experience at Courier:

1) Paper routes vary from week to week, month to month. If an issue is very Middletown-centric, there's going to be more distribution in Middletown in hopes of encouraging folks to buy subscriptions. Same if the issue is Matawan-centric, Hazlet-centric, whatever. It doesn't make a lot of sense to distribute a ton of newspapers in Matawan in a week that is Middletown-centric or vice-versa.

Last year, we had complaints specifically from Aberdeen's leaders that we weren't doing enough focus/distribution in the Matawan/Aberdeen area.

There was also an interest on the paper's part in putting more focus into Hazlet.

Hence why there has been more free distribution and coverage in those areas during the past year.

2) Some campaigns (particularly those without a lot of money) found that it was cheaper to put an ad in the paper and purchase newspapers to distribute those ads than it was to do direct mailers.


Mr. President:

The Courier does not do in-kind contributions to anyone at all. There are no free bees and there is no "we like you so much so we distribute newspapers." Nope.

The Courier distributes to communities on the lawns in some cases and in others we mail to homes. We also sell in the stores. We have free routes throughout the year.

If an advertiser or anyone at all gives us money to deliver newspapers to a town then we take that too. This usually is done to promulgate an ad so people can see it. This is open to everyone and has been.

We report on Republicans and Democrats alike. In fact, my editorial this week lauded ALL of the candidates in Union Beach and it can be construed that it even favored the Republicans. I also did a Middletown editorial about the campaign, which is nothing new. Meanwhile, I print Republican and Democrat releases allike and, in fact, Art Gallagher and Carla Cefalo are on my front page this week.

The Courier is a private enterprise that does, in fact, accept money -- Republican money, Democrat money... we like it all. We'll take any extra you have lying around.

It is hard to cover Aberdeen and Matawan Republicans, though, given the fact they do not talk to us, put out press releases or return phone calls. This makes communbicating their point hard. And that falls right into the realm of not my problem.

Jackie Corley said...

another note: other newspapers DO turn on and off free routes at various points of the year.

for example, the middletown journal only arrives at my parents' home during election season.

i've also noticed there would be particular months when The Independent would arrive at my dear ol' mom and dad's home and months during the year when it wouldn't.

free newspaper distribution routes tend to vary.

paul smith said...

good morning abe,
my only question is how come no reports for union beach?I filed all reports on time,with the county and state.we did advertise in the courier in the past

Matthew McGrath said...

I might as well chime in:

Do newspapers do this?

Yes, they do.

I received a copy of the Asbury Park Press today with a special advertising front page. "Today's Asbury Park Press is being delivered to you compliments of Valiant Home Rebuilders." I am not a subscriber, nor have I been a subscriber for some time.

The Monmouth County Post also delivers to random locations. (You said you noticed them in Neptune one week.) Of its four issues I received only one at my Middletown door step. However, our sports editor who lives in U.B. received three out of four.

Howard Stern said...

Come on Jimmy and Jackie! Robin, Gary and Fred are laughing so hard they can barely control themselves. Your explanations are truly fanasty based and should be part of a science fiction novel.

Your explanation, as well as Jackie's is so out there, that one is lead to believe that you both think people are stupid.

If delivering your weekly paper is OK during an election campaign, I would think that you and Mr. Azzolina would deliver it each week to the residents of each and every town that the Courier covers.

Let's face it, every resident would benefit if the Courier is delivered to their door each week. Remember, one can never have enough bird cage or kitty litter lining.

Some people really do work, so it's time to go back to preparing my radio show.


PS: My father Ben said to: Shut-up and sit down Jimmy.

Matthew McGrath said...

P.S. I like the Courier font....nice touch.

Honest Abe said...

paul smith addressed...
"good morning abe,
my only question is how come no reports for union beach?"

I was writing about the Democrats '05 reports, Paul. Your reports are fine.

Matthew McGrath addressed...
"P.S. I like the Courier font....nice touch."

Thanks. I thought it appropriate. In a nuanced way.

Jackie Corley said...

P.S. I like the Courier font....nice touch.

I totally missed that.

Good catch, young Jedi.

/BaySlow Journalista

cliffwood soccer dad said...

"Last year, we had complaints specifically from Aberdeen's leaders that we weren't doing enough focus/distribution in the Matawan/Aberdeen area."

Gee, Aberdeen's leaders wanted more focus in the Matawan area - could it be because they were trying to influence a neighboring town's election? I didn't know Aberdeen's elected officials (or Mark Coren) had so much "clout" at the Courier. Is that why there was never one article regarding the Aberdeen Forge printed in your paper? It is common knowledge that your reporters did attend those meetings. Strangely nothing ever made it in print.

cliffwood soccer dad said...

Aberdeen: On Oct. 19 and Oct 21, 2005, the local Democratic Executive Committee made two payments of $960.00 each, totaling $1,920.00, to Courier for "Distribution".


Oh yeah, and my all my soccer buddies in Marc Woods got the Courier that weekend. Coincidence? I don't think so. I didn't get a paper that weekend and I'm in Aberdeen. Why are Aberdeen Dems paying for distribution in Matawan right before an election for control of the council. Connect the dots guys.

Sarge said...

I've lived in Matawan for 30 years. The Courier has been delived to driveways in Matawan exactly twice: last year three days before election day with a recycled hit piece by Captain Ahab on his obsession, Rob "The Great White Whale" Clifton....and this year not only a puff piece on Cannon and Mullaney, but a slobbering article on how our Mayor is supposedly revitalizing Main St.- a couple of weeks before election day (so's as not to be so obvious, you clever fellow).

What a coincidence..the mayor has been in office for almost 11 months and just now,weeks before the election, Jimmy decides she's hot news. And in an even bigger coincidence, Cannon and Mullaney's big issue? Why, its Main St.! Gosh, can you beat that?

And amazingly, Mr. Purcell, self professed slavish devotee to the highest journalistic ethics, printed an article without mentioning that Mr. Cannon switched parties, and in an even bigger howler, lists the name of Mr. Mullaneys wife and children WITHOUT STOPPING TO MENTION THAT OH, BY THE WAY, HIS DAUGHTER IS ALREADY ON THE COUNCIL.I'd say thats fairly important information, wouldn't you Jimmy?

Also, not everyone in Matawan got the paper. People in strong D districts didnt. Apparently the only people Jimmy thinks are interested in Matawan content are people who live in Republican strongholds where Cannon and Mullaney need a lil boost.

The idea that the paper gets delivered to Matawan when there's Matawan content is a flat out, bald faced lie.

I sure hope there isnt a phone call or email trail between Bud Mullaney, Vic Scudiery and The Courier on this. Any decent lawyer could connect those dots in two seconds.

Then again, it could all just be a product of Captain Ahab's never ending quest for the Great White Whale.

Secret Squirrel said...

Looks like a nut that secret squirrel can crack. I'm gonna look into it and let you know what I come up with!!!!