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March 3, 2013

Chenango TV report misses key attribution

By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star

---- — My late father’s birthday came and went the other day, which got me to thinking about how much I see the world through his eyes, and not because I attempt to do so.

It just rubs off on you.

He was a working-class guy who earned a living by driving a tow truck in a tunnel snaking under Boston Harbor. He had a healthy appetite for local news, read three newspapers a day and often dozed off while an all-news radio station played at a deafening volume. He was quite analytic about how news was presented and often skeptical of how people portrayed themselves when they served up words for public consumption. He was never bashful about sharing his opinion when he read or saw something he considered malarkey.

I was reminded of this again early Friday morning as I watched a local cable news report on a sad saga I have been covering — the suspicious death of New Berlin mother Jennifer Ramsaran.

The newscaster, sitting in an Albany studio, said Jennifer Ramsaran disappeared after she left her home to go Christmas shopping at a Syracuse mall. That was it. There was no attribution. Whether this is true or not, I do not know. What is true is that this is the scenario provided to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office by her husband, Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran, whom I have interviewed several times.

Attribution on this piece of information is crucial. One of the questions for detectives is whether they believe that the 36-year-old woman, while her three young children were in school, would have planned her day to spend three hours of driving alone (the approximate time it would take to make the round trip to Syracuse from New Berlin ) to shop.

At the risk of sounding like my Old Man, the viewers, or readers, ought to be told how the police got that information.

***

The fierce backlash by gun owners against the new firearms law pushed through by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January is expected to spill into the Otsego County courthouse in Cooperstown on Wednesday morning, when the Board of Representatives takes up a proposal to support repeal of the statute, known as the New York SAFE Act.

As demonstrated by the impassioned rally held in Albany on Thursday, an event that was thoroughly covered by my colleague, Richard Whitby, in this newspaper Friday, this is not only an emotion-packed issue but one that also carries significant political ramifications.

If Republicans stay unified, it would appear that a resolution calling for repeal — one that has been teed up by Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts — would likely be approved by the board, because the GOP members hold the most weighted votes.

Rep. Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, noting that he is opposed to the SAFE Act, said he thinks a better strategy would be to call for the legislation to be amended, because there is widespread support for certain elements of the multifaceted legislation. Murphy noted the governor has already signaled that he is open to amendments.

The Democrat, who is the vice chairman of the county board, said Cuomo would have better served to have first assembled a blue ribbon panel of public safety experts to develop recommendations before rushing his legislation through the state Legislature.

Cuomo said this week that one amendment he wants to approve would allow fake assault weapons to be carried in New York when they are used in the production of movies.

“Should you be able to use these types of guns in movies?” Cuomo said in Albany. “The answer is yes.”

Powers, who participated in the gun rights rally in Albany, said that statement by Cuomo shows the governor just doesn’t get it.

“That’s such a farce, because violent films are half the reason why some of these massacres go on,” Powers said. “He’s willing to excuse that, and then he wants to come out here and take your 10-round clips away from you.”

JOE MAHONEY is a staff writer for The Daily Star. Contact him at jmahoney@thedailystar.com.