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.
NJ.com updated their headline to include the word “accused” this morning, but has not lifted a finger to verify the accusation, nor have they referenced MMM’s story that disproved the allegation that a warrant for DiSomma’s arrest is outstanding or had ever been issued. MMM has previously been cited by NJ.com and The Star Ledger on several stories. They can’t honestly claim that they don’t consider this little blog a reliable news outlet.
The Asbury Park Press doubled down on their defamation of DiSomma in a story updated this morning: (Screenshot from the app.com story)
APP reporter Larry Higgs has not responded to numerous messages via twitter, public and private, asking if he personally confirmed a warrant with the Dallas municipal court.
Such a confirmation would be impossible, because there was never a warrant.
Cory Booker was out of state exploring a his candidacy for U. S. Senate, so Governor Chris Chistie had to rely on his father, Jon Bon Jovi, Alec Baldwin, James Carville, and Kim Guadagno playing solitaire to co-star in this year’s video for the New Jersey Press Association Legislative Correspondents Dinner. The dinner took place last night in Hamilton.
This morning, The Star Ledger announced that they are laying off 34 people, including 10% of the newsroom.
In a poll published on January 8, Monmouth University’s Patrick Murray said that since 2005 newspapers as the primary source of news has decline from 48% to 27% among New Jerseyans. The shift has favored the interent where 28% now get their news, up from 6% in 2005. Television as a news source has also declined since 05, according to Murray. 48% got most of their news from TV in 05. Now 34%, still the highest percentage, are informed by television.
There is not much good news for the industry looking forward, according to Murray’s report. 45% of 18-34 year olds now look to the net as their primary news source, up from 33% in 2009.
The editorial board of the Asbury Park Press Neptune Nudniks want the State Attorney General’s office to monitor the ballot positioning draw for Monmouth County elections until such time as the legislature takes the chance out of ballot positioning.
Even though they acknowledge that there is no way to prove their allegations, the Nudniks are basically accusing Monmouth and Essex County Clerks, and the Monmouth GOP and Essex Democrats by inference, of fraud because the results of ballot positioning draws have defied statistical probability by huge margins over the past few decades.
Ballot drawings should be watched. But the Attorney General or Jimmy Carter don’t have to do the watching. The APP should send a reporter and write about the process.
One reason this matters, the Nudniks and the “experts” they refer to say is because voters who are uninformed about candidates will vote for candiates in the first ballot position. It seems to me that “voters” who are uninformed about the candidates stay home. They APP could impact this problem by doing a better job covering candidates and campaigns.
Gannett, publisher of The Asbury Park Press and 79 other community newspapers throughout the country, announced today that they will emulate The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal by charging their readers to access their websites, according to multiple news outlets, not includingThe Asbury Park Press.
Readers will be able to read between five and fifteen articles each month before being charged, according to Forbeswho covered the investors conference where Gannett announced the news.
The company also announced that they will shed $1.3 billion in cash, distributing it to shareholders through dividends and a $300 million stock buy back.
All the New Jersey media is abuzz over the leaked audio and transcript of a talk that Governor Chris Christie delivered to a secret meeting of GOP mega-donors organized by the Koch brothers in Colorado on June 26. The meeting was so secret that Christie did not disclose to the press, as is customary, that he was leaving the state and transferring power to the Lt. Governor.
What has everyone in a tizzy is a story that Christie told the group about how he saved Sheila Oliver’s speakership during the landmark pension and benefit bill negotiations:
And Thursday night it came time for the Assembly. And they started to caucus at 11:00 in the morning. They were supposed to start voting at 1:00. It got to be 5:30 and they were still in the caucus room. And the reports I was getting out of there were not positive about what was going on to my friend the Speaker. She was takin’ a beating at the hands of her own party. At 5:30 she called me and she said to me, “Governor, I don’t know how this is going to play out, but I’m going to, I want to post the bill but I think when I go on the floor, my own party’s going to take a run at me to remove me as Speaker. So I can’t post the bill.” She said, “I think the only way I survive is if the 33 Republicans in the chamber will agree to vote for me for Speaker. Can you work it out?” [scattered laughter] So I said, “Give me five minutes.” [laughter]
So I went down to the Republican Assembly caucus room. I stood at the front of the room and I said, “Ladies and gentleman, it’s a historic day today. You’re going to get an opportunity to cast two historic votes.” [laughter] “The first one, of course, is about pension and benefit reform and I know that everybody in this room supports it. The second one is a little more unusual.” [laughter] I said, “Probably for the only time in my governorship I’m going to actually ask you to vote for a Democrat. I said Sheila Oliver is under siege. And she wants to do the right thing. And we cannot be slaves to party or partisanship. She is right on this issue and she is with us on this issue. So if they take a run at her on the floor, I need all of you to vote for her for Speaker.” I had these men and women look back at me like, “What?” [scattered laughter] And I said to ’em, “We were sent here to lead. Not to preen and posture, posture and pose. To lead. A public office to lead. We need to do this. So raise your hands. Are you with me or aren’t you?” All 33 of them raised their hands and said they were with me.
And so I went back to my office, I got on the phone and I called the Speaker, and I said, “You just got 33 new votes.” And she said, “Well, you just got yourself a bill.” And she went on the floor, she led the debate, another two and a half hours of debate. They never took a run at her. It was the Minority Leader who suddenly went over to the Majority Leader of the Assembly, it was the guy who was gonna take a run at her, and said, “By the way, we’ve got her back, so don’t try it.” [very scattered chuckles] They didn’t. They opened up the board, they cast the votes, by then 46 to 32, with 33 Republicans and 13 Democrats, we passed health and pension reform that will save the taxpayers of New Jersey over the next 30 years at least 132 billion dollars. [audience: “wows”, whistles, applause]
When I get back to New Jersey tomorrow morning, we will sign the bill on Tuesday and make it law and it will become effective July 1st. And that’s what we were sent to do to govern.
At a press conference in Atlantic City today, Christie confirmed he delivered the speech and he issued a correction. He said there were 32 in Assembly members in the Republican caucus room, not 33 as he said in Colorado. The Star Ledger quotes Christie today saying he was “proud” that he helped protect Oliver’s speakership. He said that the story shows that “Republicans put policy over politics,” according to the Ledger.
“The assertions that Gov. Christie has made, they are outright lies. Outright lies. I am beginning to wonder if Gov. Christie is mentally deranged,” Oliver said. “At no time did I ever, ever pick up the telephone, call Gov. Christie and ask him to quote ‘save my leadership.’ ” The governor was engaged in a chest-thumping vaudeville entertainment session in front of the Republican donors, she said. “I don’t expect to call him at all,” she said. “I think it’s disgraceful.”
Now the Democratic leaders of both houses of the New Jersey legislature have called Christie a liar. In January Senate President Stephen Sweeney refuted Christie’s claim that he was in direct contact with Sweeney during the December blizzard while Sweeney was Acting Governor.
Sweeney famously called Christie a “rotten prick” in July after Christie used the line item veto to balance the budget. Today Oliver called Christie “mentally deranged.” Christie calls these people his friends.
Multiple people who were in the Republican caucus room spoke to MMM on the condition of anonymity. They confirmed Christie’s version of the story, sort of. Let’s just say that while 32 hands went up, not all of them had five fingers raised.
The caucus knew that Oliver was under siege. They expected Majority Leader Joe Cryan to try to replace her in order to prevent the pension and benefits reform bill from being posted.
No one could confirm Christie’s account of Minority Leader Alex DeCroce going over to Cryan and telling him, “By the way, we’ve got her back, so don’t try it.” If it happened, it may have been a bluff.
Several of the more conservative members of the caucus were very concerned about casting a vote for Oliver as speaker. “Such a vote will follow me for the rest of my career, if I have a career,” one Assembly member said, according to a source who was in the room.
“There are two factions if the Republican caucus,” said the source, “those who are concerned about primary challenges from Tea Partiers and those from the more moderate districts who are concerned about winning the general election. The conservatives were worried about having to vote for Oliver.”
There is some truth to Oliver’s carefully worded response to the leaked tapes. Christie’s speech was entertainment. As Assemlbyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) told the Ledger, this was “a red meat speech.”
As those who have followed Christie on the stump know, the Governor is a great story teller, in the tradition of great Irish story tellers.
Great stories and tales get better every time they are told by a master. While the underlying truth remains, the details get embellished and the story gets “better.” It makes a point better, is more moving or entertaining. Anyone who has attended three or more of Christie’s town hall meetings knows Christie is a great story teller.
News12 is doing an outstanding job covering the hurricane for New Jersey. The major network affiliates in New York and presumably Philadelphia are doing the what they usually do….cover New Jersey as an after thought to their home cities.
News12 is only available to cable subscribers. FIOs and satellite TV users are without comprehensive New Jersey news, which in the case of a hurricane or other disaster can be life threatening.
NJTV, the successor to NJN, is broadcasting an episode of Sid The Science Kid.
Hopefully NJN veteran Michael Aron, who has recently taken over the news operation of NJTV, will have the resources to build a bureau that provides New Jersey the news coverage it needs or will develop cooperative agreements with other outlets so that all New Jersey residents can get the news they need when they need it.
The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University released a poll this morning indicating that most New Jersey voters do not think President Obama deserves a second term.
The data Eagleton relied on in the press release is 10 days to 2 weeks old. The polling was conducted between August 9 and August 15.
The poll is meaningless now. Of course Obama’s numbers were low August 9-15. S&P had just downgraded our debt on August 5 and the stock market was in a free fall.
I’d much rather know how New Jersey voters feel about the President now, after the “Death Star” bus tour, the Martha’s Vineyard vacation, Joe Biden’s remarks about China’s population control policies and the demise of the Gaddafi regime in Libya.
The age of the poll will not stop the NJ mainstream media from reporting it as “news.”