Poor New York Times. It sunk untold resources into an authentic scoop about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a bridge, yet the only major TV channel to pay attention was MSNBC. And MSNBC will recirculate anything negative about Chris Christie.
That’s all according to a study by Media Matters for America on TV reaction to the Times’s June 23 story titled “2nd Bridge Inquiry Said to Be Linked to Christie.” The piece examines how the Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission are checking into possible securities violations committed in funding repairs to the Pulaski Skyway, which links Jersey City and Newark. The Christie administration in 2010 and 2011 pressed the Port Authority to fund the repairs, even though the Port Authority protested that the Skyway was outside its funding purview.
Bond financing, jurisdictional issues, infrastructure — all that helps explain this:
Cable news programming yielded this breakdown:
No surprises in that data set. MSNBC, after all, has provided extensive coverage of all things related to Christie and Jersey infrastructure ever since the George Washington Bridge scandal exploded in January.
Some of that MSNBC coverage, however, wasn’t terribly complimentary of the New York Times scoop. On his June 24 program, “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough ripped the story and its placement on page A1: “This is garbage,” he said, adding that it’s a “joke of a story to put on the front page.”
Later that day, MSNBC host Chris Hayes appeared to disagree about the Times’s placement decisions. He devoted an earnest segment to the Pulaski story, complete with input from Matt Flegenheimer, one of the New York Times reporters who did the story. Hayes told Flegenheimer, “Great piece.”
Nothing like a little intra-network diversity of opinion.