During the 2012 presidential campaign, somehow each and every Republican presidential contender had a sink thrown at him (or her) via what reporters call “investigative journalism.” Every time a Republican rose in the polls, the media tried to knock him or her down, like a game of Whack-a-Mole.
The very last man standing was Mitt Romney, who didn’t receive the official “Gotcha!” from The Washington Post until May, with a 5,000-word opus on “Teenage Haircutgate.” That’s why it’s so strange that the national media would decide so early it was time for journalistic carpet bombing of the Great Squishy Northeastern Hope of 2016, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
It was just weeks ago that NBC’s Matt Lauer was swooning over Christie and lining him up to denounce House Republicans as cruel and miserly on superstorm Sandy subsidies. After he won, CBS reporter/former Biden aide Chip Reid was announcing that Christie “wanted a big reelection victory, in part, to show that Republicans who favor consensus over ideological purity can win – even in blue states like New Jersey.” CBS claimed wins by Christie in New Jersey and liberal Terry McAuliffe in Virginia showed America was engaged in a “move to the middle.”
Christie can forget all that hugging and mugging with Obama in 2012, as if that was going to inoculate him forever. Democrats have been harping for weeks – especially on their propaganda channel MSNBC – that a “Bridgegate” scandal was going to be Christie’s undoing.
On January 8, the scandal exploded. The Bergen Record revealed Christie’s deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly declaring in an e-mail in September “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” The Democratic mayor of Fort Lee wouldn’t endorse Christie for re-election, so Christie aides decided to punish the public on the George Washington Bridge that goes from Fort Lee into New York City.
There goes the image of Christie “favoring consensus.”
The same national press that conducted a blackout of the trial of Philadelphia murderer Kermit Gosnell as lawyers exposed his horrific late-term abortion mill – that was dismissed as a “local story” – decided a few autumn days of traffic jams in Bergen County to be the hottest outrage for everyone from Jacksonville to Boise. In fact, their burst of reporting indicated they believed this was the most important story in the world – by far.
In the first two days of the story after the e-mails on the
manufactured traffic jams came to light, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 88
minutes of breathless coverage to the story. To put their transparently
partisan aggression into perspective, that’s 88 minutes in two days
compared to two minutes of coverage in the last six months of the IRS-Tea-Party-targeting scandal.
In less than a week, there was 44 times as much coverage of The Bridge than to the IRS in six months. Had Christie absolutely zero national potential or ambitions, the traffic jams would have remained a local story. But he’s a presidential hopeful who would challenge the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton – and so, it was time to take him down.