Back in February, shortly after Chris Christie announced his candidacy for Governor, he held a press conference where he said the following:
“This race is about me…it’s about the record I’ve had for seven years as the U.S. Attorney. And so, I am willing to run on my record if the Governor is willing to run on his.”
Despite some of the best investigative reporting on Christie’s tenure as US Attorney by our own huntsu, there was very little interest by the NJ media in following her lead when it came time to finding out exactly what “Christie’s record” was. He wanted to run on a reputation that he built and carefully crafted as US Attorney – one of “ethics, responsibility, blah blah blah” – all things that we have found over the past few months apply to everyone but him.
And even as things came out about Christie, whether it was about his discussions with Karl Rove while still US Attorney, his abuse of power in shouting down officers when it came to traffic violations, the attempted bribery of Assemblyman Merkt during the primary, the no-bid contracts and his brother’s non-indictment for securities fraud, his getting on and off the list of US Attorneys to be fired, his very “timely” subpoenas of Menendez, his warrantless monitoring program, his relationship with Michele Brown and conflicts of interest – the list goes on and on – much of the real solid in depth reporting was done by folks like Marcy Wheeler, TalkingPointsMemo, the ACLU and of course, us here at Blue Jersey.
Sure, the Star Ledger and other media reported what was already out there – whether it came from the AP wire or the Corzine campaign – but more attention was paid to the “Christie said this and Corzine said that” or side issues when it came to Christie’s abuse of power.
It has become well known that Christie’s office stonewalled and was sued when it came to FOIA requests on the warrantless monitoring program, and stonewalled on a number of other requests as well. And back in late July, 2009, the Corzine campaign made a request (see here for the requests: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4) under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) for all FOIA requests made of Chris Christie’s office during his tenure as US Attorney (from January 2002 through July 2009). FOIA requests are very simple – usually a one or 2 page letter tops, and while there were 40 pages of FOIA requests released (some were partially withheld), only one was from the Star-Ledger, was actually made after the date of the Corzine request, and related to Michele Brown’s salary and promotions (see the request here). What is more incredible is that this request was made AFTER news broke of the loan from Chris Christie, and wasn’t even made by the political reporters.
Now, it was hardly a secret that Christie’s tenure was controversial – I noted a number of things above. And through all of this time, NJ’s largest paper had absolutely no interest in looking into any of this. Not during his time as US Attorney, despite all of the questions that were there for anyone to see. Not during his run in the primary. And not at all in the general election, with the ridiculous exception noted above.
If the Star-Ledger ended up endorsing Christie over Daggett, you’d really think they were in the bag for him. Now, it just makes you wonder why they weren’t interested in breaking some very powerful stories – even more so when the entire news industry is in trouble.