February 3rd, 2014
04:16 PM ET
9 years ago

Christie's office to try to keep focus on the NYT, not him

 (CNN) - In more pushback, Gov. Chris Christie’s office on Monday will send to supporters a list of tweets and stories that highlight criticism of The New York Times' coverage of the latest development in the  George Washington Bridge scandal that is roiling his administration, according to a source in the governor's office.

(See part of the list below)

On Friday, the Times was the first to report that former Christie appointee, David Wildstein, alleged in a letter that "evidence exists" the embattled New Jersey governor knew in real time about bridge lane closures in Fort Lee that caused massive traffic gridlock, contradicting what he had previously said.

Christie has long contended that he didn't know about the incident until after it occurred.

On Friday, the Times reported initially that Wildstein "had the evidence to prove" that Christie knew about the lane closures, which e-mails released by state legislative investigators suggest were orchestrated to punish politically the Fort Lee mayor for not endorsing Christie for reelection.

The newspaper quickly revised its lead to simply reflect what the letter written by Wildstein’s attorney actually said: that “evidence exists,” not that Wildstein was in possession of it.

The letter did not disclose the evidence, nor did it challenge Christie’s previous statement that he knew nothing about any political motive behind the lane closures, which Wildstein is said to have carried out as a top official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

On Saturday, Christie's office accused the Times of "sloppy" reporting, and the detailed list of criticism his office is sending out Monday includes the Times' Public Editor column.

"This change was more than a nuance. Acknowledging that could have taken the form of a straightforward correction," Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote. "The change also could have been explained in an editor's note or could even have been acknowledged in a sentence in the body of the article."

The column also included a quote from Metro Editor Wendell Jamieson.

"The Christie administration is attacking our story to change the conversation," Jamieson said.

The reporter on the story, Kate Zernike, acknowledged the mishap Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

"Could we have made this more clearer? Yes. Did we make it more clearer? Yes," she said.


christie nyt

Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    How stupid can they be? Trying to play the victim role when there are actual people who were victimized during this bridge shutdown not only doesn't show a lack of humility, but a bravado as if the governor is untouchable. Where's Olivia Pope when you need her?

    February 3, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    What will he do when the NY Post has to finally admit there is a problem and go after him? Will he go after a Murdoch paper?

    February 3, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    You can always tell when the conservatives get backed into a corner: they try to shoot the messenger.

    With this one change, this ONE example, NYT afforded Christie more benefit of the doubt than they did to Obama with respect to the GOP/Teatrolls', led by Issa, constant accusations that there are elephants hiding in the strawberry patches and their inability to find any of them proves that they are hiding in there (and very good at it).

    February 3, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Thomas

    "The Christie administration is acting sloppy , why are they starting a food fight .


    February 3, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. rs

    Mr. Christie is about to (re-) learn a lesson made many, many years ago by one Mr. Richard Milhouse Nixon. That is: when you engage in battle against the New York Times (or the Washington Post FTM), you lose.

    February 3, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |

    How can one not focus on Christie. He's shady and fat.

    February 3, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Tom

    Has the "blame the press" tactic ever worked? I think this is another example where spending too much time in the conservative media echo chamber can lead to permanent damage to one's sensibility. I think it is very unlikely that the focus of this story is going to shift away from Christie and become a witch-hunt for allegedly biased journalists. Most public opinion polls suggest the majority of people believe Christie knew more about the "Bridgegate" operation than he has claimed. As long as that perception exists, it is going to be hard for Christie to redirect the momentum of this story.

    February 3, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Pander Bear

    So now he's trying to bully the messenger's? This guy is toast – French toast with lots of eggs and butter.

    February 3, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |