Friday, July 3, 2015

Mainstream Media Fail To Question Christie's "Truth-Teller" Persona, Missing Glaring Distortions

NBC's Matt Lauer Fails To Challenge Christie's Vow To Inspire The Country "By Telling The Truth." On the July 1 edition of NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer failed to challenge Christie after he said he would inspire the country "by telling the truth." The aired portion of their interview concluded with the following exchange:

LAUER: What could you do to inspire this country? A country that seems desperate for inspiration? 

CHRISTIE: First off by telling them the truth. I think they think all too often politicians just tell them the version of the truth they think will sell that day. I have never been accused of that. So, I'm gonna tell the truth as I see it. [NBC, Today7/1/15]

Time: Christie's Campaign Launch Audience "Receptive To His Pitch At Compromise And Truth-Telling." In a June 30 article, Time wrote that Christie's audience at his campaign launch speech was "receptive to his pitch at compromise and truth-telling," and prominently featured his self-promotion as a straight talker:

"I'm not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and figures out what you want to hear," Christie said, acknowledging he wasn't running to be "prom king" or even popular. "I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. And that's what America needs right now." [Time6/30/15]

CNN: Christie Has Cultivated An Image As A "Straight Talker," Saying, "' We Must Tell Each Other The Truth About Problems We Have.'" In a June 30 profile of Christie's campaign announcement, CNN highlighted Christie's "straight talker" public persona, noting that his campaign slogan is "Tell It Like It Is":

"I get accused a lot of times of being too blunt or too direct and saying what's on my mind just a little bit too loudly," Christie said in a video released over the weekend as part of his campaign, which uses the motto "Tell It Like It Is."

[...]

In New Jersey, where his approval ratings have suffered in recent months, Christie has crafted an image as an aggressive straight talker. His upfront -- even brash -- style of dealing with those who question him in public has earned the governor both praise and criticism, but could rub voters the wrong way outside New Jersey. [CNN, 6/30/15]

NY Times: Christie "Embracing His Role As A Political Truth-Teller." In a May 22 article profiling Jeb Bush and Christie's efforts to court southern voters, The New York Times said that Christie was "embracing his role as a political truth-teller":

Mr. Christie, embracing his role as a political truth-teller, said Republicans could not take back the White House by nominating "the most charming nominee" and outlined three speeches he had given recently about entitlement spending, the tax code and national security.

Seeking to distinguish himself from the others, Mr. Christie also recalled his role as United States attorney in New Jersey after the Sept. 11th attacks, taking an implied-but-unmistakable shot at Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is leading the effort to block a Senate extension of the Patriot Act.

Mr. Christie said critics of the intelligence-gathering law had "no experience dealing with what I dealt with." [The New York Times5/22/15]

Fortune's Easton: Christie's Proposal To Cut Social Security "Plays Into The Narrative That He's Authentic And Brave And Tells It Like It Is." On the April 16 edition of Fox News' Happening NowFortune columnist and Fox contributor Nina Easton said that Christie's proposal to cut social security benefits "plays into the narrative that he's authentic and brave and tells it like it is." [Fox News, Happening Now4/16/15]

But Christie's Past Statements Are Littered With Falsehoods And Misrepresentations

Christie Lied About Court Ruling On His Pension Reform Plan. On the June 14 edition of ABC News' This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Christie bragged that, "We just won a major court decision supporting the pension reforms that we put into place in 2011." According to the NJ.com, those reforms were found unconstitutional. [ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos6/14/15; NJ.com, 6/9/15]  

NY Times: Christie Vowed To Keep Public Employees' Pensions "Sacred," Before Cutting Them. According to a New York Times op-ed, Christie "vowed that he would hold public employees' pensions 'sacred,' and then made cutting those pensions a centerpiece of his new administration." [The New York Times7/1/15]

Christie Falsely Told A Crowd Of Anti-Gun Control Voters That He Had Nothing To Do With New Jersey's Gun Control Measures. In a June 27 op-ed, the New Jersey Star Ledger's Tom Moran pointed out that Christie lied about his own gun control measures in an effort to woo southern anti-gun control voters:

In June in South Carolina, Christie danced for the gun rights crowd by saying this:

"I know there's a lot of perception about my view on gun rights because I'm from New Jersey and because the laws are the way they are. But these laws were being made long before I was governor and no new ones have been made since I've been governor."

Again, not close. Christie signed one law increasing penalties for unlawful possession of guns, another to ban those on the terrorism watch list from buying guns, and a third that required the state to cooperate with the federal criminal background check system. [NJ.com, 6/27/15]

Christie Misrepresented Ongoing Bridgegate Investigation. In May, Christie told Fox News' Megyn Kelly that there would be no further charges brought in the investigation of the Bridgegate scandal, saying, "The U.S. Attorney said in his press conference a few weeks ago there will be no further charges in the bridge matter. He said it affirmatively three or four times." However, according to NJ.com, U.S. attorney Paul Fishman implied that the investigation will continue: 

Note how carefully he parsed his words, saying he would not file more charges "based on the evidence that is currently available to us." He's working to make more evidence available by squeezing [former Port Authority official Bill] Baroni and [former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget] Kelly. Game on.

[...]

But this isn't over, not by a long shot.

Fishman was asked about that, too, at his press conference. Here's what he said: "It's like the end of Downton Abbey. You've got to wait for a whole nother season." [Fox News, The Kelly File5/18/15; NJ.com, 5/1/15]


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