The Amazing, Shrinking Main Street WIRE

Main Street WIRE Shrinks With Changes

Peter McCarthy
Ignored If It Doesn't Get Jammed In Your Mailbox Unrequested
Ignored If It Doesn't Get Jammed In Your Mailbox Unrequested
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"Interesting" though it was to see the Incredible, Shrinking Main Street WIRE adopt the second of our three suggestions for improving its chances for survival, the third and most important - that is, creating better, less biased content is a no go so far.

We didn't expect the WIRE to acknowledge our contribution, and they didn't. Nor, sadly, did we expect them to disown their intimate ties to racists, but there were other surprises.

Mostly, they involve shrinking.

Early this week, the WIRE finally came up with a 21st Century webpage. Our idea, thank you.

You may remember the WIRE's first lame effort to compete amounted to stealing our web traffic. That stupid effort continues with an arrangement set up, according to public records, by Dick Lutz and Briana Warsing that tries to redirect traffic looking for us to the Lonely Planet's Lower East Side article.

Their latest foray is a decided improvement. They stole the idea but nothing worse.

Shrinking

The next Main Street WIRE will be stuffed in your mailbox, whether you ask for it or not, just like junk mail on Saturday, the 26th, and we'll soon see if the changes are carried over. But according to the web version...

  • Dana Agmon is gone as Publisher and Warsing adds that title, making her Editor/Publisher.
  • Kelly Turner surrenders the title of Production Editor, but keeps Managing Editor.
  • All the previously listed Reporters have been disappeared too, which makes sense because none of them were actually contributing anything.
  • Gone too is any reference to Dick Lutz, who always got a nod for his contributions in making the newspaper legitimate and professional, but no more.
  • More surprising for some is Jack Resnick's dropping the Founding Publisher title and taking on the more appropriate: Owner.
And in case you didn't notice, the WIRE is no longer a Rivercross based publication. They're listed as 40 River Road in Manhattan Park where they follow us once more.

Editorial Biases Carried Over

Although the humorless Main Street WIRE boasts that it's "Roosevelt Island's Independent Community Newspaper," you can't be blamed for blinking twice at "Independent."

WIRE content has long been controlled by the Maple Tree Group. Before Dick Lutz retired, every top position at the paper was held by an MTG member, and the content, far from independent, showed it.

Recently, without anything resembling full disclosure, WIRE Editor Warsing provided cover for Mandana Beckman and her rat colony at PS/IS 217, the school her children attend. Managing Editor Kelly Turner is a PTA officer. You won't find either fact in the WIRE, where the term "full disclosure" seems to be regarded as quaint and optional.

A more glaring example of bias is with WIRE backing of the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association, allowing Circulation Manager and Maple Tree Group Member Sherie Helstien to present a fictionalized version of why RISA got kicked out the Senior Center before felony charges against their Program Manager Rema Townsend became public.

But they even topped that, giving Townsend, who confessed to stealing from Senior Center funds - including those of a RIOC Public Purpose Grant - nearly a full page to vent about her innocence and point fingers at all those incompetents around her who were really at fault. The DA didn't buy it, but the WIRE did.

While RISA morphed their campaign to win funds from RIOC into repeated attacks on the Carter Burden Network, the organization called in to save the Senior Center they nearly destroyed, the WIRE played right along.

In its last issue in July, the newspaper allowed a Letter to the Editor from RISA's Lorraine Altman to defame CBN Director Lisa Fernandez with a trumped up charge about a pool table that was replaced with a comfortable seating area.

In her letter, Altman tosses insinuations about the involvement of others who she charges with, Oh my God! sitting at a RIOC Board Meeting with Fernandez.

Her insinuations closely mirror a snarky article in the WIRE by now departed Dana Agmon that, before Townsend's guilty plea became widely known, tried to whitewash RISA's thefts of money intended for seniors.

No problem there for the WIRE. No surprises either.

Conclusion

RISA Secretary Sherie Helstien has already been overheard promising to respond "in the next WIRE" to news published over the summer that blew the cover off her group's image building, which tells you all you probably need to know about who controls the newspaper's content.

We'll all see how that plays out soon, and we are also closely watching to see which advertisers are still willing to invest in the WIRE in spite of its documented ties to racism and age and gender bias. 

Trump has a core group of about 35% who will support him, no matter what he does. Maybe the WIRE does too.

Don't expect any editorial changes to alter well established biases at the WIRE.

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