There have now been three investigations clearing Gov. Chris Christie of direct involvement in “Bridgegate.” This latest was conducted by Democrats in New Jersey. The Christie administration’s own investigation and the U.S. attorney’s investigation came to similar conclusions.
But as I’ve said. The media loves swirling allegations against Republicans. Not so much swirling exonerations. Guy Benson examines the press reaction in New Jersey:
They looked at mountains of evidence and found nothing — zip, nada, nothing — that contradicted what Christie has said all along. The Bergen Record story on the findings, evidently written by distraught reporters, stretches hard to cast the big take-away as a potential negative for Christie because it “puts a spotlight” on the scandal. Even exonerations are plugged into the “dark cloud” spin machine. Sure, yet another report has backed Christie up, but the fact that we’re even talking about this very serious scandal is bad news for him, or something. Sure.
Meanwhile, the NYT is just makin’ it up, also from Guy: “UPDATE – The New York Times‘ headline on this report is almost virtuosic in its bias: ‘Report Cites Gaps Between Records and Christie’s Comments on Bridge Lane Closings.’ Perfect.”
Noah did a great job of recapping the truly ludicrously intense coverage of this story over the past year. My personal favorite metric is Christie answered more than 100 questions in the first press conference about this scandal, so interested were they and so keen was he on taking all comers.
Over on MSNBC, which covered the improper closure of these two lanes to the point of crafting hot, primetime fan fiction, the mood is somber or in denial. On “Morning Joe,” the crowd that crowed over the allegations for months on end was dragged into discussing the exoneration by Joe Scarborough, who lightly but obviously ribs his employers and coworkers for their politically convenient obsession. Mika Brzezinski offers a frozen smile followed by eye-rolling and tops if off with a declaration that Scarborough is “too in the weeds.” This from the network that was literally looking to the margins in the diary of a New Jersey mayor for corroboration of their version of the story.
Brzezinski also demands that Scarborough “let it play out.” Scarborough exclaims incredulously that it has already played out. That’s what this story means, which in this segment, didn’t even warrant a chyron. Lots of Christie chyrons at MSNBC, but no spares lying around that deal with exoneration, I guess. At what number of investigations would Brzezinski accept an issue as settled for a Republican governor?
In other MSNBC segments, anchors declared there remain unanswered questions. We should probably just let it play out. Everyone who has a point of view has probably been guilty of getting a little more worked up than the evidence allowed about a political adversary’s scandal. But the sustained, national attention, particularly MSNBC’s laser focus, on what for a any left-leaning governor would never have been a nationwide scandal, was so intense Bill Maher told them to knock if off.
This got some coverage though, so all’s probably cool.
Meanwhile in New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared cleaning up Albany would be his top priority, started a commission to do the cleaning, interfered when they got too interested in him and his friends, shut them down as part of a deal with the legislature, which also wasn’t keen on the commission, and then raised a ton of money without their bothersome meddling to run for reelection. The lede on this New York Times story is about a Republican state senator the commission was investigating, natch.
We can all do plenty of disagreeing about Christie’s ’16 potential, but this kind of treatment is coming for every single Republican contender and they better be ready.