This morning (March 2nd 2016) people in the shore area in the central part of New Jersey woke up to an editorial in the Asbury Park Press, the only daily newspaper that serves two large counties, viciously attacking Governor Christie and demanding his resignation.
“Wow” the people of Monmouth and Ocean counties must have thought. “This editorial staff must have really put a great deal of independent thought into this, to be this hard on the Governor,” they must have thought.
This morning people down in the Southern part of the state woke up to their daily paper, the Courier-Post, also having run an editorial viciously attacking Governor Christie and demanding his resignation. In fact, it is word for word the same editorial.
Neither paper mentions the same editorial is being run elsewhere in the state. They both look like the work of the editorial staff of their local daily paper.
This morning the people up in the Northern part of the state woke up to their daily paper, the Daily Record, having run an editorial viciously attacking Governor Christie and demanding his resignation. On further review, it is exactly the same editorial, word for word, that was run in the other two papers.
This north Jersey paper also did not mention that the editorial was run in the other two papers, so to the readers it too looked like the work of the local editorial staff.
This scenario didn’t just play out 3 times today in New Jersey. This happened in 6 daily papers in New Jersey – all running the same editorial – and each one misleading the reader into thinking it was the opinion of the local editorial staff.
Oh by the way, there is something else the 6 newspapers have in common – each one is owned by media powerhouse Gannett.
Gannett owns USA today, so of course there is a headline in that paper today that reads: “Six New Jersey Newspapers Call on Governor Christie to Resign.”
Shouldn’t it have read, “OUR Six Newspapers?” Or shouldn’t it have read, “WE GANNETT, ASK GOVERNOR CHRISTIE TO RESIGN?”
Oh sure, Gannett says in the body of their story they own the papers, but the headline itself is now news. As of tonight, a Google search on “Six New Jersey Papers Call On Christie to Resign” returns 424,000 results. EVERYBODY I can find has a headline that says 6 NJ newspapers ask the governor to resign, and NOBODY I can find has a head line that says Gannett wants him to resign.
The story is a fabrication – 6 New Jersey papers haven’t asked Governor Christie to resign. Only one did – Gannett’s USA Today. The other 6 papers are from the same pants, just a different pocket.
What would make a news service so angry that they would orchestrate this faux news?
Two days ago the Governor held a press conference nominating a Judge to the Supreme Court (aside: Democrat Senate President Steve Sweeney immediately issued a statement saying they won’t vote on a nominee until the Governor leaves office. Sound familiar?). At that press conference, Christie refused to answer reporters questions on topics not related to the nomination.
The 4th Estate was apoplectic that Christie dared not respond to reporters.
So let’s piece together the timeline:
Monday: Christie wouldn’t answer reporters question:
Wednesday: Gannett fabricates a story making it look like 6 independent editorial boards all decided to ask for Christie’s resignation, when they actually didn’t decide that.
Also on Wednesday: USA Today reports it, and now it’s national news.
This was nothing more than media revenge. It’s unethical. Unfortunately, it’s probably not rare.
By analogy, if a police officer has a car accident, he can’t be the investigating officer in his own crash. The officer would have a conflict due to his incentive to slant or create facts in his own favor.
That’s what happened here: The fourth estate crashed into Christie, and they printed details of fabricated outrage of 6 editorial boards for revenge.
Gannett owns the majority of daily papers in New Jersey, so they get to decide what is or isn’t news.
Good grief. Lord save the Garden State.
Tommy De Seno is an attorney, a journalist and a contributor to the website Ricochet.com