Two possible presidential candidates. Although there's no evidence of it on the record, some have accused the first of closing bridge-access lanes for political purposes. The other failed to respond to pleas for help, four Americans died in Benghazi, and her response was a petulant "what difference does it make?"
So where do those two candidates stand as we look to 2016? In the case of Chris Christie, his candidacy is "over" and he "doesn't belong in the conversation." Hillary Clinton? Her biggest problem is fighting an air of "inevitability." Such was the collective wisdom of today's Morning Joe panel. But to what degree have the fates and status of the two candidates been shaped by the MSM? Where would Hillary be, for example, if she were a former Republican Secretary of State with the Benghazi catastrophe on her record? View the video after the jump.
Could the GW bridge scandal be causing internal friction at MSNBC? On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough upbraided Chuck Todd for "wild speculation" in the matter.
Scarborough's slap at Todd came in response to the NBC political director's suggestion that, based on a photo showing Christie and Wildstein together at a September 11 event--it was "very likely" that Wildstein--in an effort to curry favor with Chris Christie--had told the governor what he had done with the lane closures. View the video after the jump.
New York magazine interviewed Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels about his show and political humor. Michaels seemed to suggest that Republicans can take a joke, and Democrats can't. Or perhaps Republicans are used to being mocked by Manhattan liberals, and Democrats expect to be pampered.
The magazine’s Lane Brown asked: "Are there any basic rules for what works and what doesn’t politically?"
Supposed new revelations have emerged in the “Bridgegate” scandal by former New Jersey Port Authority official David Wildstein claim that Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures earlier than the governor claimed. Despite Wildstein’s failure to provide any evidence for his claims, ABC’s Good Morning America pounced and played up the Christie “bully” angle once again.
Appearing on GMA on February 2, co-host Dan Harris introduced the show by claiming that Governor Christie had launched “a very personal attack at a time when he should be celebrating the first ever Super Bowl in his state.” [See video after jump.]
Longtime readers here may recall that yours truly and others have written about liberties New York Times reporter Kate Zernike has taken with the truth, especially in her reporting on the Tea Party movement. Her penchant for inventing baseless stories about alleged racism in the movement once caused the late Andrew Breitbart to label her "a despicable human being."
Breitbart might well have the same reaction to the hours-later revision made at Zernike's Times story Friday about Chris Christie. Several alert bloggers and tweeters noted that her story about Christie's knowledge of shut lanes on the George Washington Bridge conveniently went from solid to speculative without any indication that any changes had been made.
The Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Friday jumped on the latest development in the traffic scandal surrounding Chris Christie. NBC and CBS both led with the accusation from the former Christie appointee, who claims that the New Jersey governor knew more about the lane closures than he previously asserted. CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "Chris Christie just got thrown under the bus in that traffic jam scandal that has jeopardized his presidential ambitions."
Brian Williams hyped the "explosive new allegations," and that "this scandal has again engulfed Chris Christie – embarrassingly on the eve of the Super Bowl, the first ever held in New Jersey." On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer played up the "bombshell of a new accusation," and correspondent Jim Avila spotlighted that New Jersey's "largest newspaper has published this: 'Christie is now damaged goods. If... [the] disclosures are as powerful as he claims, the Governor must go.'" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Philip Rucker and Scott Clement sure are "Ready for Hillary." The Washington Post scribes dutifully pounded out a January 30 front-pager that furthers the Hillary-is-inevitable meme discernible throughout the liberal media. "Clinton holds big Democratic lead" thunders the print headline, with a subhead noting she enjoys "strong support in all demographics" while the "GOP field shows no clear front-runner."
Nowhere in their 25-paragraph story was the term "Benghazi" used -- indeed, it was also not referenced in the Post/ABC poll, while Bridgegate was -- although clearly it is the former secretary of state's blackest mark on her record. By contrast, potential GOP opponent Chris Christie was depicted as critically if not mortally wounded by the bridge-lane-closure scandal, while opponents to his right were dismissed as unlikely to beat Hillary (emphasis mine):
Although to date there has been no evidence directly tying him to either matter, Chris Christie has been accused of playing politics with the GW bridge closure and the granting of hurricane-relief funds to Hoboken. So naturally it's fair game to analogize Christie to the head of cinema's most infamous, murderous crime syndicate.
Fair game, if you're MSNBC that is. Today's Morning Joe segment on Christie treated viewers to a 'Govfather' logo, based on the famous puppet-master logo from "The Godfather." View the video and images of the original and MSNBC logos after the jump.
Fortunately for Mr. Obama, the president enjoys a liberal news media intent on shielding the president -- and with him his congressional Democratic allies -- as best they can. On Thursday evening, none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even bothered to briefly mention the Moody's downgrade. Likewise none of the Big Three morning news programs thought it worthy of even a brief mention in a news-desk roundup. The New York Times -- motto: All the news that's fit to print -- also ignored the story in its Friday print edition.
For the second straight evening, NBC stuck with Chris Christie's "Bridge-gate" on Thursday as CBS and NBC haven't mentioned the story since Tuesday. And NBC's Nightly News tacked on a story about a dilapidated Trenton high school and connected its disrepair to Governor Christie.
"For his part, Governor Christie tonight is responding to an issue that's been festering for years, right there in the shadow of New Jersey's state house," anchor Brian Williams noted of the school. Nowhere did NBC even wonder about the negligence of the city's Democratic Mayor Tony Mack, who currently is on trial for federal charges of corruption.
On Tuesday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas noted a new Quinnipiac survey finding that only 35 percent of Americans believe that New Jersey governor Chris Christie would make a good president -- down from 49 percent in November -- and that Christie trails Hillary Clinton by eight points in a hypothetical presidential contest (he led her by one point in November and December Quinnipiac polls).
Moulitsas concluded from these numbers that "people care about" Bridgegate but not about the "fake" Benghazi scandal. He called the fourteen-point drop in Christie's would-make-a-good-POTUS rating "pretty much an epic collapse" and asserted that Bridgegate "is nowhere near its conclusion."
"Without the scandal-engulfed New Jersey governor, Republicans don’t have a candidate who could even come close to the votes needed to win the presidency in 2016," promises the subheader to the left-wing journalist's story. Tomasky made no effort to rise above his naked partisanship nor the smug self-satisfaction of his prognostication of certain electoral doom for the GOP two years from now (emphasis mine):
Chris Matthews really doesn’t listen when he speaks. On every program since Chris Christie’s bridge scandal broke on January 8, the MSNBC anchor has smeared the Republican governor as just like Richard Nixon in Watergate. Matthews has done this for nine straight shows, including the January 20 edition.
However, on the same program, with no sense of self awareness, a thought occurred to the anchor. He announced that if “it is discovered that Governor Christie did not encourage political revenge, did not signal that this is the way he wanted political business conducted, then he will be exonerated before the eyes of the country. The facts will decide it. And that`s the way it should be.” [See video below.]
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared near the top of “The Kelly File” on Fox News Channel Monday night to discuss the liberal media’s sudden ardor for Dawn Zimmer, the Democratic mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, who claimed Gov. Christie was handing out federal superstorm-Sandy subsidies in a corrupt and politicized way. Kelly noted she would not answer questions from Fox News.
Kelly pointed out the MRC “has been doing the TV analysis,” and the picture is not pretty: 30 minutes of Big 3 network coverage over the weekend. The discussion began this way (video, transcript below):
All three networks on Tuesday morning continued to pile on Chris Christie, offering gloating coverage about how his “glory days” have gone terribly wrong. After recounting everything that has gone awry for the Republican, Good Morning America's Jim Avila imagined, “You can almost see at the inauguration today, Governor Christie raising his right hand and shaking his head at the same time. “ [See video below.] Co-host Robin Roberts added, “It’s not what they thought today was going to be.”
After reiterating that the new year is “not at all going to plan” for Christie, Avila continued, “Instead, [the governor has been] forced to play scandal whack-a-mole, with new poll numbers falling.” CBS This Morning offered a network graphic that trumpeted, “Christie Crisis.” Journalist Elaine Quijano featured Alex Burns from the liberal Politico to lecture that in order to run for President, Christie needed to “run up the legislative score board in New Jersey. I think we can safely say that all those plans are on hold.”
NBC has latched onto the Chris Christie bridge scandal like a leech, so it was no surprise to see a report on the controversy within the first ten minutes of Saturday’s Today show. What was surprising, and dismaying, was that NBC followed up its report with reaction from Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It would be hard to find a less impartial analyst on this matter than the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Reporter Kelly O’Donnell first mentioned DWS’s name at the tail end of her piece, announcing, “The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, she represents Florida in Congress, she'll be doing some of her own public events to try to counter Christie's message.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In an online piece teased on the Time.com landing page as "Christie Dodged 'Bully' Bullet," Time’s Mark Halperin hyped his “EXCLUSIVE: Christie Rival Called Him ‘Bully’ In Unaired Ad.”
At issue in the January 20 piece is how State Sen. Barbara Buono produced an unaired anti-Christie ad in which the Democratic nominee for governor asserted that, “she clearly saw the very traits in Christie that have laid him low now.” The Time contributor and frequent MSNBC guest claimed in his piece that, "At the top of Buono’s list was the notion that Christie is a “bully” who lacks the temperament to be an effective leader."
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough acknowledged how eager his colleagues at the left-wing network were to take down Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "I mean, listen, you can attack the network if you want to, there are a lot of people that go after him gleefully, that's not shocking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough was responding to criticism from Christie's administration over MSNBC hyping claims from Democratic Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that the Governor withheld Sandy relief funds for political reasons. Co-host Savannah Guthrie cited a Christie spokesperson "pushing back not just on the facts of the story, but on the network that broke the story....'MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him.'"
Where is Willie Geist when we need him? Thomas Roberts—who has replaced Brian Schachtman as Way Too Early host—is seemingly also taking over much of Geist's turf as Morning Joe sidekick.
And whereas Geist was, at least in the MSNBC context, a voice of affable equanimity, Roberts is an unabashed liberal advocate. Witness today's Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski questioned the character of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.Joe and Mika wondered how, after assertedly writing in her personal diary that Chris Christie's corrupt nature "literally brings tears to my eyes," Zimmer could then take to Twitter to paradoxically proclaim that she was "very glad" that Christie was governor and that he has "done a great job for NJ & Hoboken." Rising to the defense of the Dem mayor, Roberts accused Joe and Mika of "eviscerating" Zimmer, whom Roberts described as a "whistle-blower." View the video after the jump.
Here’s something you don’t see every day: Bill Maher poking fun at Barack Obama.
On his first Real Time show of the year, the HBO host said of the scandal currently embattling Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.), “They basically turned the bridge into the ObamaCare website” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For seven straight days, Chris Matthews and his Hardball guests have hyperbolically compared Chris Christie's bridge scandal in New Jersey to the constitutional crisis that ended Richard Nixon's presidency. On every single program since January 8, Matthews and guests have linked last fall's traffic jam to Watergate. On Thursday, GOP strategist John Feehery reminded, "They're completely different...There were high crimes and misdemeanor with President Nixon." The MSNBC journalist responded, "Wait, a break-in was worse than this?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On January 8, the day the scandal erupted, Matthews immediately jumped to the comparison, muttering, "Nixonian. It's so Nixonian." On January 9, while talking about Christie's innocence or guilt, the host connected, "...When people say they feel sorry for the Watergate people....Their lives were ruined. I always say I got a worse one for you -- they got away with it."
TIME Magazine managing editor Nancy Gibbs is a well-established fan of Hillary Clinton, and on Thursday she brought her cheerleading act to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. Gibbs was there to discuss this week’s cover of TIME, which asks, “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?”
Mitchell asked Gibbs how long Hillary can postpone making a decision about whether to run for president in 2016. Gibbs responded, “I think she can postpone it almost longer than anyone we have seen. It allows her to not have to answer every controversy that comes up, the latest obviously being the Benghazi report today.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
NBC continued hitting the Christie scandal on Thursday evening while the CBS and ABC evening news casts have not reported it since Tuesday.
The NBC Nightly News has already given the story a good chunk more coverage than the other network evening news shows, and while it devoted a short segment to the bridge scandal it didn't even have time to report the Senate passing a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that would avert a government shutdown – something both CBS and ABC reported on Thursday night.
NBC was the only network to cover the Christie bridge scandal on Wednesday evening, as CBS and ABC did not deem it newsworthy. In fact, the NBC Nightly News gave far more coverage to the Republican scandal than did the CBS Evening News or the ABC World News.
The Nightly News has devoted almost 27 minutes of coverage to the story in eight days, in nine full segments as NewsBusters' Kyle Drennen reported earlier today. Ironically, the show's former anchor Tom Brokaw remarked on Thursday that Americans are ready for the media to "move on" from the story.
Chris Matthews, always eager for hyperbolic predictions of Republican doom, on Wednesday insisted that Chris Christie's bridge scandal in New Jersey is pretty much like Richard Nixon's Watergate. Comparing a severe traffic jam to a scandal that paralyzed the United States government and brought down a President, Matthews suggested, "Well, this is not yet a Watergate, but the more we learn about Chris Christie, the more he does look like Richard Nixon." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
To make the comparison simple, Matthews played a clip of the New Jersey Republican claiming he wasn't "a bully" and then showed a clip of Nixon famously defending, "I am not a crook." Matthews offered, "Not a crook, not a bully." The host allowed that there is "no direct evidence that ties Christie directly," but added that "the entire scandal has an eerily familiar ring, doesn't it?" The graphic for the story wondered, "Tricky Christie?"
I agree with MSNBC. I find it hard to believe that Gov. Chris Christie knew nothing about his staff's plotting a massive traffic jam on the ramp to the George Washington Bridge for political retribution.
On the other hand, I also find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know his own IRS was auditing his political enemies. And I find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know you wouldn't be able to keep your doctor under Obamacare. But most of all, I find it hard to believe that MSNBC host Al Sharpton didn't know Tawana Brawley was lying when she claimed to have been gang-raped by rogue cops on the Wappingers Falls, N.Y., police force.
Spinning liberal-friendly stories as the end of the world is a popular thing at ABC. Good Morning America's Jim Avila on Wednesday hyped the scandal involving Chris Christie as "traffic armageddon," a hyperbolic term the network loves. On Saturday, Avila mentioned the "four-day traffic armageddon." [See video of both below. MP3 audio here.]
As the sequester set in on April 22, 2013, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos freaked out: "Breaking this morning: Airport armageddon. Almost seven thousand flights could be delayed." On March 1, 2013, a GMA graphic warned of "budget armageddon." On April 23 reporter Matt Gutman predicted an "airline apocalypse."
Comedian Bill Maher compared Bridget Kelly, the former Christie aide connected to "Bridge-gate," to the Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI on Tuesday's Hardball.
Both persons carried out the shady business ordered by a higher authority, Maher explained: "Remember when Benedict was the 'god's rottweiler' or the 'pope's rottweiler' they called him before he got the pope job? Well, she [Kelly] is blob's rottweiler, okay? She knows to do this without actually having to be told." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Appearing on Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, NBC special correspondent Tom Brokaw warned his media colleagues about their excessive coverage of the Chris Christie bridge controversy: "I do think, across the country, however, when they're looking at long-term unemployment, and they're looking at the uncertainty of the ObamaCare, they're saying, 'You've got to move on, guys.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw continued: "You can only close those lanes for so long if you're in the national media. I do wonder if this had happened in Nevada, whether it would have gotten much attention."
Chris Christie watchers know that the Governor of New Jersey is a HUGE Bruce Springsteen fan.
It therefore makes one wonder how the embattled governor felt about his hero doing a version of the legendary “Born to Run” with NBC’s Jimmy Fallon Tuesday evening wherein the couple lampooned the current Bridgegate scandal with one verse accusing him of "killing the working man” (video follows with transcript and commentary):