Author Archive: MediaBob

NJTV Bias

Has anyone noticed that NJTV’s nightly newscast has started to assume a pro-Christie bias? On tonight’s newscast, anchor Mary Alice Williams referred to the recently submitted budget as a “behemoth.” Even more egregious, when starting a conversation with veteran State House correspondent Michael Aron about Christie’s pending announcement for a presidential run, she said, “Michael, you have good news, er – some news about the governor?” (emphasis mine).

A Christie presidential run would be good news for NJTV’s reporters and all of their state house colleagues. They would get exposure as “experts” on national television news shows. Personally, I have an issue with the practice of reporters interviewing reporters on TV, but overtly calling a Christie presidential run “good news” is over the top.

Bob Ingle’s Partisan Math

promoted by Rosi

A Rutgers-Eagleton poll out today says that only 22 percent of New Jerseyans say the word “trustworthy” describes Republican Governor Association Chair Chris Christie “very well” while about 75 percent say is is either “somewhat well” or “not at all.”

Seventy-five percent think Christie is, at best, somewhat trustworthy.

Bob Ingle, the Gannett political reporter who is considered by many the most influential in the state, describes this absolute public opinion debacle of a Republican Governor as:

Trust in Gov. Christie is on the decline in New Jersey.

Yet way back in January 2007 Ingle discussed Democratic Governor Jon Corzine’s approval rating of 51 percent this way:

[T]he public is not happy with Corzine’s failure to deliver on promises of property tax relief and a cleaner, more ethical government.

Horrible ratings for Republican Christie are a “decline” while better than 50% approval for Democrat Corzine is evidence of extreme displeasure.

Damned liberal media.

PNJ Doubles Down On Blasting Democrats

promoted by Rosi

We know we just wrote on this issue, but Politicker followed up its condemnation of Democrats for not being able to “pry” away votes by accusing Democrats of not wanting to get the votes so they could score political points.  

At issue are the Republican Assembly members who voted for a bipartisan, unanimously passed bill regarding how the state reports debt information in June, but then voted against the same bill after the Governor vetoed it. Democrats continued to support the formerly bipartisan bill, while Republicans switched sides solely to back their party leader.  

First at 3:19 pm PNJ describes this as a case of Democratic weakness:

The Assembly this afternoon could not summon the necessary votes to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of A961, as Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) prevented Democrats – some of them outraged – from peeling away an adequate number of his caucus members.

But later in a second story by the same writer at 4:32 pm the same situation is described this way:

In a calculated move desigend to make the GOP caucus look cowed by executive power, Democrats fell short of overriding Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of A961 …

PNJ Blames Democrats For Republicans Switching Votes

PolitickerNJ.com took a story of how Governor Christie’s used naked partisanship to force Assembly Republicans to switch their votes on a hugely popular bipartisan bill they had unanimously supported three months ago into a story on how Democrats are so weak they can’t even get a few Republicans to vote with them.

The headline for a story about how 23 Republicans switched their votes under pressure from the Republican Governor is: “Dems fail to pry sufficient number from abstemious GOP caucus to pass debt report bill

It’s another example of how PolitickerNJ has a bias towards the New Jersey Republican Party, not slamming Democrats overtly but spinning stories so that no matter what happens the Democrats are the bad guys, either mendacious or weak.

The bill in question, which changes the way the state reports the affordability of its debt, passed the Assembly unanimously back in June with the votes of all but three Republicans joining all the Democrats.  The three GOP were called “not voting” which means they weren’t in the room at the time of the vote.

It then passed the Senate 40-0, with everyone voting for the bill.  That means out of 120 legislators who could vote for the bill 117 voted yes.  

Then the Governor vetoed the bill, and used his hold on the Grand Old Party legislators to force 23 Republicans to vote to override a bill they supported.

Now, to most observers out there this is an issue with the GOP.  The Republican Governor vetoed an overwhelmingly popular bi-partisan bill, one that didn’t have a single “no” vote, and then 23 Republicans backed the their party instead of their constituents.

But for the “unbiased” PolitickerNJ the problem is the Democrats are too weak to break the Governor’s absolute control over GOP legislators.  When the Democrats are united it’s evidence of partisanship and self-interest, and when the GOP is united — even against their own previous votes — its evidence of Democratic weakness.

And in this article PNJ didn’t mention that the bill passed 77-0 until the 14th paragraph of the story.  

But in the first paragraph PNJ does mention that Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) led the effort to switch the GOP votes from Yea to Nay, not mentioning anywhere in the article that Bramnick had voted for the bill the first time.

And in the fourth paragraph PNJ writes “An original staunch backer of the bill, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) backed up the leader on a change of course.”  No mention that O’Scanlon was not just a backer, but was a co-Sponsor  of the bill.  Somehow the fact that a co-sponsor of the bill helped reverse course didn’t get a mention.

But the headline blames Democrats for not prying off enough votes?  It’s entirely possible that PNJ’s editors don’t know what they’re doing, and think that this is simply writing all sides.  But when there’s an obvious story and you twist it to ensure all sides are wrong you’re not reporting, but editorializing.

PolitickerNJ has No Bias At All

promoted by Rosi

Folks over at PolitickerNJ have regularly denied having a political bias, and they may not be aware of it.  However, often it is quite clear.  Here’s a wonderful example.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll asked both Democrats and Republicans what they thought of potential Democratic and Republican wannabes for Governor:  

Farming the False Equivalence

promoted by Rosi Efthim

When a news opinion columnist has nothing to say there’s always the “a pox on both their houses” column sitting in some lonely computer folder or bottom desk drawer to trot out.

This week the Star Ledger’s John Farmer must have been particularly uninspired, since he trotted out one of the finest examples of false equivalence concern trolling of 2014.  And maybe of the past five years.

The problem, he says, is that politics is just too darn negative, and everyone is happy to talk about what they’re against but not what they’re for!

It’s what they’re against, not what they favor, that identifies Democrats and Republicans these days. It’s a recipe for irrelevance in the short run, outright rejection in the longer term.

OK, so Farmer has evidence to back this up?  Here’s his example to show Republicans are negative:

NJ Biz Misleads on CBO Obamacare Report

promoted by Rosi

The conservative right and others intentionally misinterpreted the recent CBO report on Obamacare, claiming that it said the US would lose 2+ million jobs when it said no such thing.

The mendaciousness of the claim was immediately called out — including by the Wall Street Journal — because the CBO really said that American workers would now be better able to choose how many hours to work if they were able to get insurance away from employers.  

So now the coverage from the right, and the business media, is becoming more nuanced but still intentionally misleading.  Here’s NJ Biz, a state magazine focused on the business community, describing the report after naming Obamacare a “loser” of the week.

So the latest from the Congressional Budget Office is that the law will encourage low-income workers to work less – so they won’t lose their subsidies. Less work and more reliance on government is never a good thing.

Want examples? Jump page.

Really, Tom?

Tom Moran, editorial page editor for the Newark Star Ledger, endorsed Chris Christie for Governor last year.  Now, in an extremely rare move, he’s rescinding the endorsement.

But he didn’t switch over to Christie’s opponent, Barbara Buono.  Why not?

And let’s not forget his opponent, Sen. Barbara Buono. She was not up to the job of being governor – even in the view of many Democrats. She got the party’s nomination because more credible candidates, including Cory Booker, backed out in the face of Christie’s strength.

And on education, the most important issue for any governor, Buono ran well to the left of President Obama. She embraced the state’s regressive teachers’ union and its relentless efforts to protect bad teachers and stunt the growth of even the best charter schools.

She was not up to the job?  A highly successful lawyer who served 20 years in the legislature, including as ranking member of the Budget committee, Senate Majority leader and Democratic conference chair isn’t up to the job?  And as for other Democrats not running — huh?  She won the primary overwhelmingly.

As opposed to a highly successful lawyer who last held elected office 20 years previously and was voted out by his own party?  Maybe some Democrats didn’t thing Buono was up for the job — though that could have been because Christie bullied them into it — but some Republicans didn’t think Christie was up to being Morris County Freeholder!

The only example Moran gave as to why Buono was “not up to the job” was her position on education “reform.”  That just means Moran disagrees with her on one issue.

The fact is, Moran was taken in by Christie’s star power even last fall.  He was willing to criticize Christie some, but that’s because things were so obvious.

But in the article rescinding the endorsement Moran uses the words “bully,” “overrated” and “creep” to describe Christie.  Moran even said that he himself had been bullied by the Governor in an attempt to get better coverage but never used those words before now despite acknowledging they knew.

The endorsement itself was a truly sad example of journalism, but the rescinding was even more so.  

Impeach Does Not Mean Remove from Office

Important distinction, people. Pay attention. – Rosi

The reporting around David Wildstein’s attorney’s letter to the NY/NJ Port Authority alleged that Governor Chris Christie had lied about whether he knew about the George Washington Bridge closures when they were happening.   As a result of some incendiary headlines many people — including commenters on this site — have raised the specter of impeachment.  Here’s the Record’s Michael Linhorst from a report that Senator Ray Lesniak suggested the possibility of impeachment:

For a governor to be impeached, the New Jersey constitution requires the Assembly to vote for articles of impeachment, and two-thirds of the Senate to vote to convict.

I picked Linhorst’s paragraph not because he was the only writer to make this mistake — he is not — but because his error is so cleanly and well-written in suggesting impeachment equals a removal from office.  It does not.  Impeachment is the equivalent of an indictment, and then there is a full trial to determine removal from office.

Unfortunately this confusion is endemic to the chattering classes and political reporting, and these folks should know better.  They’re the ones who are supposed to be keeping the rest of us informed.