Christie’s Strategy: Exploit media’s Achille’s heel

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What’s with this obsession on Governor Christie’s sport’s preferences?

Easy: Governor Christie and his strategists understand the way the present day media works better that nearly any politician today. He understands that watching the news today means learning pretty much nothing about what is going on locally, nationally, or internationally. He understands that the stories easiest to grasp and easiest to form an opinion about are the ones that make the lede and  the ones that sell copy. He understands that the more complex, muddied up, or grey-zoned a particular story is, the quicker people tune out.

Christie has been brilliant in the last 6 years when it comes to making the news wedged between two humungous media markets with stories of little real significance to New Jersey citizens to distract us from the plentiful failings of his administration. And when something makes the news that is of real importance (say how New Jersey’s economy lags behind neighboring states embracing policies he claims will only cripple the economy; or how his mismanagement of funds has caused additional harms to our pension system he takes credit for fixingl or how time after time, he unethically uses transportation resources as political weapons to bully political enemies into bending to his will) he makes sure to go out and do something worth getting his photo on television like dance with Jimmy Fallon, hurl insults unfit for the office of Governor towards the people he represents who dare ask him any question at all, or wear bright orange sweaters to NFL playoff games out of state.

It’s a sad state of affairs that practically every news story on NJ “politics” in the last 72 hours (more like a couple weeks, if you happen to care about sports in even a casual sense) has to do with questioning something stupid or ridiculous about Chris Christie’s Cowboys’ fandom.

It’s even sadder that I have to write about how little this story matters by writing about how little it matters. Next time you wonder why the electorate continues to elect politicians that fail them and dig the state into deeper holes, remember that the NYTimes, Washington Post, Politico, WSJ, and even the bloody Daily Show are discussing Christie’s fashion and sport preferences at a time when our transportation fund is bust, our pension fund is in dire trouble, efforts to reform executive transparency has faced major obstruction, and ideas are being proposed that would make many NJ commuters daily commute into NYC (and, thus, their livelihood) much more difficult.

I was hoping for a more informed, more nuanced news media in 2015. Here’s looking to another disappointing year!

But hey, at least the Cowboys made the playoffs.

Like what I have to say? Follow me on twitter @jwitherspoonNJ.

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