>It seems that the tarnish is finally starting to show on Chris Christie’s armour. As the national news media is swooning over Christie and very often refuse to fact check much of which he says, others are beginning to wake up and look at the facts as they are. Often times the facts tell a far different story than the one being told by Christie and his cronies.
This third editorial written by the Star-Ledger’s Kevin Manahan, talks about this very subject and alls out 60 Minutes, Face The Nation, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and others for asking softball questions without tough follow-up question of the Governor and falling for his tough guy, honest answer, Youtube persona. Which many New Jerseyians know is an act that is wearing thin based on polling numbers that have him less popular at home than he is away from it:
As the segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” opens, co-host Joe Scarborough applauds his in-studio guest, Gov. Chris Christie, while stumbling over the words of a song playing in the background — “My Hero” by Foo Fighters:
There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero …
A day after introducing his $29.4 billion budget, Christie is performing on the Cheerios circuit, and it’s clear from the start this is going to be another 10-minute neck rub for the Republican superstar who, Scarborough believes, is carrying the weight of national reform on his broad (but reportedly slimming), blue-suited shoulders.
For more than a year, most of the national media have tripped over themselves to tell the governor how great he is, or have allowed him to tell the nation himself. It’s fitting that radio and TV host Glenn Beck lovingly calls Christie “the conservative porn star,” because dozens of media outlets — magazines (national and niche), newspapers (New Jersey and beyond), radio (AM and FM), TV (network and cable) — want to climb into bed with Christie and kiss him all over.
In addition, interviewers often don’t have a good grip on what’s happening in New Jersey, outside of what they see in YouTube clips posted by the Christie P.R. machine. Many simply don’t do their homework (“What’s the tool kit?” Scarborough once asked a Star-Ledger reporter). They rarely have a challenging follow-up question and they leave fact-checking to someone else (one inflated Christie’s approval rating to 70 percent). Their shallow questions are tailor-made for Christie riffs on what a great job he’s doing.
You’d expect the batted eyelashes and cuddling from conservative personalities like Neil Cavuto (Christie’s Mendham neighbor) or Imus or Rush Limbaugh, and from conservative talking head Ann Coulter, who refuses to take Christie’s presidential “no” for an answer. But even the usually even-handed “60 Minutes” let Christie go unchallenged in an interview about state finances, and some faithful readers (and online commenters) believe the New York Times — staunch defender of liberalism — has inched perilously close to the Christie hero-worship line, too.
A headline on a Washington Post blog asked, “What is it about Chris Christie?”
The blog lauded Christie for making “even the toughest position sound like nothing more than common sense” — even though the toughest” positions enumerated were typical Republican stances.
Why do the media love him? Because Christie is a novelty — engaging and entertaining — a plain-tawkin’ slugger at a time when the Republican bench is weak. He is seen as Everyman: a guy who has a problem with his weight and his “L’s,” but he is also a savvy politician who, while protecting the tax returns of the rich, can make some middle-class taxpayers believe he is fighting for them.
A large part of Christie’s allure to the media is that he might be president or vice president someday soon.
Why does Christie love them? Well, because he has carefully chosen the interviewers — part of a media strategy to build a national profile. And they don’t ask tough questions.
“Christie understands that he can get a bounce in New Jersey from a gushing national media,” Rutgers political science professor Ross Baker says. “Voters figure if they’re making a fuss about him, he must be all right.”
Is it working? Yes, outside New Jersey, anyway. Recent polls show the governor is more popular outside the Garden State than in it.
And, of course, here, within the borders, the questions tend to be more challenging.
Before this February morning is done, Ann Curry of “Today” will schmooze over Christie’s weight loss: “You look good,” she says, and she spends more time (five questions and comments) prying into the number of pounds he has lost than finding out about the state’s proposed budget or how Christie feels about the union-busting attempt by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker….
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