I seethed as I watched coverage by a couple of the Sunday political talk shows of the Chris Christie bridge scandal (Meet the Press and This Week, to be specific). But that's nothing new. The incompetence on these shows is not news, just as a lot of their content is not news. What is so infuriating are the omissions, the lack of obvious follow-up questions, the predictable guests with predictable commentary and predictable biases and even predictable lies.
I jotted down a few examples of what passed for scrutiny of the week's events. Since I was listening and not watching, I can't cite the source of every quote, but these are verbatim responses. Here's an answer to a general "What's next for Christie?" theme that got under my skin:
"Every politician does it."
See, apparently other politicians are phony, corrupt sleazebags, especially New Jersey politicians, so hey, bada bing, bada bang! No big whoop. What's the problem? Next.
At one time or another, every child responds to an angry authority figure with, "Well, he/she did it, too!" How mature. How effective. That's always gone such a long way in punishment avoidance, hasn't it? Not guilty by reason of conformity. It goes without saying that this excuse was not challenged by the host.
Another memorable Everything Will Be Okay Moment included the worrisome "Voters have short memories, this will all blow over, Christie will come out stronger" conclusion. I switched channels.
Author and columnist Bob Ingle covered Christie's ass this way:
"He may have needed time to read everything, digest everything..."
Yes indeed, he may have... in order to come up with a way to cover his own ass.
Watching the performances (literally) on the Sunday Defending Chris Christie shows made my stomach turn, although to be fair, there was some (not much) objective analysis, too. But, come on, if we were to substitute President Obama's name for Chris Christie's, the right wing noise machine would be screaming bloody murder and relentlessly calling for his impeachment. Oh wait, they did.
There was a revival of the endless loop of insanely redundant and completely debunked right wing talking points from Reince Priebus and others. Short version: Christie should skate because, IRS! Benghazi!!! OBAMACARE!!!! (Paddy posted this video: Rudy "9/11" Giuliani: Christie Unaware of Traffic Scheme Just Like Obama 'Missed' Benghazi)
None were called out. In fact, they were accepted without comment from the hosts, which left the impression of tacit affirmation or, at minimum, some degree of credibility.
So many answers went unchallenged, so many questions went unasked. One obvious one was, was Governor "Heartbroken" really out of the loop (implausible), or did he simply manage to cover his tracks? He said he'd never seen the emails. That may be true, but that doesn't mean he wasn't told about or was unaware of their content... beforehand. Just because he managed to keep his name out of them, why would one conclude that he wasn't complicit?
A flashback from our friends at Blue Jersey gives us an eye-opening compilation of Chris Christie's greatest "what else he's done" hits from his pre-governor days. Despite that list and his subsequent behavior, this thug was elected to a second term in office.
And here's a brand spankin' new wrinkle that's chock full o' questions, brought to us by MSNBC's Steve Kornacki. The possible role of a huge development project, 16 acres that have been "salivated over" for years and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich's "defining mission as mayor, his legacy":
"Something we've learned about through some research and some reporting the last few days and what we've discovered in turn raises a host of questions.
"...So here is what we found. this is an e-mail sent by the mayor of Fort Lee to Christie's point man at the Port Authority, Bill Barone, after the fourth straight morning of the lane closures in full effect. And in that e-mail he pleads for the lanes to be reopened and he includes this, quote, "Query: What do I do when our billion dollar redevelopment is put online at the end of next year?"...
"The value of the property is directly related to how easy it is to get to the bridge.
"A threat to permanently close, reduce those lanes would have been a threat to unravel what Sokolich envisioned as the crown jewel of his tenure as mayor."