The image above infuriates MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. It depicts the news judgment of the New York Times that the story of a second bridge inquiry regarding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — an A1 story — outweighs the contours of the IRS targeting scandal — an A19 story.
Though the Internet each day obviates newspapers’ front pages as the arbiter of what’s important, Scarborough jumped on the judgment of the Times. He was livid:
This really is s scam. This is why conservatives don’t trust national newspapers. It’s why they don’t trust broadcast news. There’s a double standard and you can see it on every broadcast newscast, you can see it on the front page of every major newspaper. This is a scam. … This is why we [conservatives] don’t trust national news outlets because they are so biased and slanted. It’s not the news that they run, even though this is a joke of a story to put on the front page here. It’s the stories they don’t run. It’s the omissions, the acts of omissions when Democrats are in power.
“Joke” is one way to refer to the New York Times’s A1 story on Christie’s problems. “Scoop” works too. The story is the work of three reporters — Matt Flegenheimer, William K. Rashbaum and Kate Zernike — and packs the revelations of a genuine investigative effort. The Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission, notes the story, are looking into “possible securities law violations stemming from a $1.8 billion road repair agreement in 2011” relating to the Pulaski Skyway connecting Newark and Jersey City.
More from the story: “The inquiries into securities law violations focus on a period of 2010 and 2011 when Gov. Chris Christie’s administration pressed the Port Authority to pay for extensive repairs to the Skyway and related road projects, diverting money that was to be used on a new Hudson River rail tunnel that Mr. Christie canceled in October 2010.”
To abridge the factors at play here: The New York Times has an original, investigative scoop about an inquiry against a sitting New Jersey governor with presidential potential. What page other than A1 does that formula yield?
Indeed, the New York Times A19 story on the IRS scandal — an FAQ on the missing e-mails of former IRS official Lois Lerner — was a bit underwhelming. It delivered an explainer on IRS data storage procedures as well as the political back-and-forth between Republicans and the White House over unresolved questions in the IRS story.
Scarborough argued that when Republicans are in power and do something bad, “we get those answers. You know why we get those answers? Because the New York Times goes after it every day, USA Today goes after it every day, The Washington Post goes after it every day, the Boston Globe, NBC News goes after it every day, CBS News goes after it every day.”
Now they’re all essentially covering for the White House: “CBS, ABC, NBC, The Washington Post, the New York Times, you can put them all out there. They are all complicit in this non-story. It is an embarrassment,” Scarborough thundered.
The frenzy of media criticism didn’t carry over to another segment of today’s “Morning Joe,” one in which co-host Mika Brzezinski recapped her appearance yesterday as a moderator for the “White House Summit on Working Families,” part of an initiative by President Obama to “position himself as a champion of working families,” in the words of the New York Times. “It was lovely,” said Brzezinski this morning. “It was a great conference,” said Scarborough.
So the next time Scarborough gets the itch to slam the media for assisting the Obama White House, perhaps he should look inward.