Sunday, December 18, 2016

Years too late, The Record keeps up the assault on Christie

After the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane closures, Governor Christie became the butt of jokes for cartoonists across the country, including Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Tennessee.


An editorial in The Record today urges the state Senate on Monday to override a Governor Christie veto of "a bill that would ensure women receive the same pay as men for the same work."

Apparently, the veto occurred seven months ago, but this is the first time The Record has reported on an override attempt or what the editorial board is calling "legislative action on a bill of great importance to women across the state" (2O).

Can you imagine how many other issues of importance to taxpayers, low-wage workers, environmentalists and others the Woodland Park daily has consistently ignored?

Christie has vetoed more than 500 bills since he took office -- surely a record for any New Jersey governor -- but The Record's Trenton reporters long ago gave up counting them.

Focus on politics

The Record's editors and columnists rarely come to bat for those hurt by Christie's vetoes, because their work has been tightly focused on politics, not issues.

In the past week, only the GOP bully's last-minute proposed book deal; pay raises for legislative aides, judges and other state employees; and pulling public notices from newspapers have whipped them into a frenzy of coverage.

The headline over today's editorial:

"Fighting for a free press"

"Fighting for a profitable press" might be closer to the truth.

Today's editorial says that removing public notices from newspapers "would have a radical impact on our bottom line and the bottom lines of other newspapers across New Jersey.

"Some publications may fold and hundreds of Jersey-based jobs will be lost."

Sadly, Gannett Co. and the Borg family, the previous owner of The Record, have used publication of budgets and other public notices as an excuse to reduce the coverage of local news, even though the type they are printed in is so small hardly anyone reads them.

Christie coverage

For all of Christie's first term and the first half of his second term, The Record treated him uncritically, and portrayed the Republican governor as a compromiser who could reach across the aisle and make deals with Democrats who hold the majority in the state Legislature.

Of course, every veto and every unilateral action, such as killing the Hudson River rail tunnels and grabbing leftover funds to fix roads and bridges, gave a lie to that portrayal, but they were ignored.

Even after the paper broke the story of the politically motivated Bridgegate scandal, the editors kept on insisting there was no proof the governor knew about the plot.

All that came undone in September and October, when witness after witness testified in federal court Christie knew about the conspiracy as it was being executed, causing five mornings of gridlock in Fort Lee.

That unleashed many critical columns and editorials, and no love was lost when President-elect Donald J. Trump passed Christie over for an important post in his administration.

Trump coverage

During the presidential campaign, The Record and other news media reported every one of Trump's racially motivated attacks on President Obama without any reference to his accomplishments on the economy, health care, the environment and so much more.

That's because, as with Christie, the relentless focus was on partisanship, not policy; and insults and lies, not issues. 

In a column for the Daily News on Saturday, Linda Stasi wrote about the coming "neo-nasty era" of a Trump presidency:

"The Obamas represented not just the best of black people, but the BEST of all people -- white, black, brown and everything in between.

"The Obamas are a credit to the race all right -- the human race.

"Yet, President Obama, the most honest, decent President of my lifetime, who leaves with a 56% approval rating, is, if you listen to the right wing's very mainstream media, a man loathed and hated."

After reviewing the president's many accomplishments, Stasi concludes, "Maybe, just maybe, the most decent president of modern times ... is hated simply because he's black, a black President in a white country. Likely.

"Hidden racism in America is as rampant as blatant racism."

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