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.