In the first two days of the story after the emails on the manufactured traffic jams came to light, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 88 minutes of breathless coverage to the story. To put their transparently partisan aggression into perspective, that's 88 minutes in two days compared to two minutes of coverage in the last six months of the IRS-tea-party-targeting scandal.
In less than a week, there was 44 times as much coverage of the bridge than of the IRS in six months. Had Christie absolutely zero national potential or ambitions, the traffic jams would have remained a local story. But he's a presidential hopeful who would challenge the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton -- and so, it was time to take him down.
The national Democrats are grateful. Hand in glove with the negative media coverage, Democratic National Committee communications director Mo Elleithee sent out a fundraising email: "Before the next campaign starts, we need to make sure that Americans across the country know the real Chris Christie, and that Democrats have the resources to keep him out of national office. Chip in $10 to make sure we can stop Chris Christie."
What's not in any doubt is that the publicity and fundraising aims of the White House and the DNC line up remarkably well with the "news agenda" of our national TV networks and newspapers.
Even conservative pundits have insisted that when Chrstie maintained during his endless press conference that this was planned, he had better be telling the truth or his career is finished.
At the risk of sounding casual about the truth, it could be argued that lying your face off to the press and the American people has never impeded the careers of Bill or Hillary Clinton, and it certainly didn't keep Obama from being elected or re-elected.
Our "objective" journalists would be worthy of respect if they observed a single standard on truth-telling and political scandal coverage. But once again, with "Bridgegate," we are reminded this is a pipe dream.
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