The Chris Christie Media Frenzy!

Chris Christie Bridge

Dear Commons Community,

The media frenzy of the week was the coverage of Chris Christie and what has evolved into “bridgegate”.  The New Yorker’s upcoming edition will have the above cover and has set up a website that recaps its coverage of the Christie story. Even a right-wing publication such as the New York Post published damning articles on the events that led to the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge. The Daily News recapped the story in its editorial yesterday:

“The plotting behind the George Washington Bridge lane closures was elaborate and the attempted cover-up was the iron-fisted work of top Port Authority aides to New Jersey Gov. Christie, who’s now revealed as fool, knave or both.

More than 900 pages of internal memos, reports and communications released by a state Assembly committee prove beyond doubt that the governor’s now-fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly and Christie PA hatchetman David Wildstein put the scheme in motion in August, several weeks before the lane closures took place.

It defies belief that Kelly was alone in the machinations in Christie’s inner circle. Meanwhile, as he ordered GWB managers to say nothing to police and fire officials — or to PA Executive Director Pat Foye — Wildstein concocted documents to suggest it was all part of a legitimate traffic study.

Then, when the closures backed up traffic for hours and threw Fort Lee into chaos, impeding emergency vehicles, Wildstein spurned pleas for help. His “study” concluded that if you close toll booths, vehicular lines get longer. Duh.

When Foye discovered what was going on, based on a press inquiry, he ordered a stop to the madness with a memo that went to Christie’s top guys, Wildstein, deputy executive director Bill Baroni and Chairman David Samson.

Then came the cover-up and Samson’s complete abdication of responsibility.

The PA’s highly paid press staff was ordered to refuse to answer all media questions. They maintained omerta until Foye’s memo leaked to The Wall Street Journal. At that point, Wildstein immediately notified Christie’s top press staffer that the cover-up was unraveling. That puts the knowledge right in Christie’s inner circle.

Even then, Baroni held to the “study” fable in an unsworn appearance before the Jersey legislature. And Christie on Thursday continued to give it credence, saying:

“There still may have been a traffic study that now has political overtones to it as well . . . We’re going to find out, but I don’t know, because Sen. Baroni presented all types of information that day to the legislature — statistics and maps and otherwise — that seemed evidence of a traffic study, so why would I believe that anybody would not be telling the truth about that?”

Why? The most likely answer: Christie was hoping for plausible deniability. That’s why the question still remains: What did the governor know and when did he know it?”

All of this is sad. While not a Christie supporter, I thought he represented a reasonable Republican who was able to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats for the good of his state.  I also thought he would have made a formidable candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 as opposed to some of the Tea Partiers who are waiting in the wings.