NJTV’s takeover of NJN always seemed fishy. Turns out, that foul stench has real consequences, especially in times of crisis.
As we take measure of Hurricane Irene, the most expensive natural disaster in New Jersey’s history, it has never been clearer just how colossal a failed broadcasting experiment the NJN/NJTV takeover has been.
If you tuned into NJTV (the state’s only public TV station) on Saturday evening for news of Irene’s pending wrath, you encountered a rerun about memory loss.
As the storm made landfall on Cape May? The Lawrence Welk Show.
Finally, while Hoboken was being deluged, NJTV was serving up Masterpiece Theater. (You get the picture….)
Simply put, NJN would have treated Hurricane Irene like the crisis it’s been. And covered it accordingly.
Not so NJTV. A shell of its former self on substance, NJTV has become a veritable cult of personality in service to Steve Adubato Jr, the station’s shameless self-promoter-in-chief. Apparently being the scion of the state’s most venerable political sugar daddy has its privileges. It’s just a pity that the stations sucks so badly as a result.
But this isn’t simply a critique of NJTV whose universally-panned lineup speaks for itself.
Nor is it about NJ Governor Chris Christie who hatched the demise of NJN to begin with. (The GOP has never been shy about their desire to destroy Public Broadcasting. It’s part of their philosophical raison d’etre.)
Can’t blame the Teh Blogs, BlueJersey was sounding alarm bells early and loudly.
This falls squarely on the four Democrats who allowed this takeover to happen.
I’m looking at you Senators Nia Gill, Teresa Ruiz, Sandra Cunningham and Brian Stack. (Hey, when a measure falls one vote short, any of them four of them could have made the difference.)
Senator Cunningham defended her vote at the time:
“I think it’s fine going to (NJTV.) I felt it was the best thing for my district. (The measure to stop the takeover) was going down, and I wasn’t getting phone calls from people saying it’s important to keep it alive.”
And then, in the same breath, contradicts herself: “It’s important for us to have New Jersey news.”
As for Senator Gill — one of the brightest lights on the Progressive candelabra — her vote is especially rotten, now more than ever. One resident of BlueJerseyNation suggested Gill’s primary motive to kill public TV possibly boiled down to greed and that her vote was “to keep her Essex County legal fees flowing.”
As luck and geography would have it, Essex County (especially Newark) is where Pop’s Adubato’s gravitational pull is strongest.
An “Honorable Mention” in this whole nasty affair has to go to Senate President Steven Sweeney. As the leader of the Senate it’s his job to deliver enough votes from his own caucus to defeat Governor Christie’s anti-progressive agenda. To fall one vote short on something (on anything) is uncool and unacceptable. And despite the fact Sweeney himself voted to keep NJN, the station’s ultimate demise happened on Sweeney’s watch.
The Other Two
I’ll leave it to BlueJersey readers to speculate why Senators Stack and Ruiz voted to kill public TV in New Jersey. It’s an open thread folks so if you feel like being lurid about it, go right ahead.