Fox News has largely moved on from the developing scandals engulfing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, even as new allegations emerge from a New Jersey mayor that the governor withheld Hurricane Sandy relief aid for political reasons. Christie's name came up only three times on Fox's January 18 programming, even as MSNBC and CNN devoted significant coverage to the new revelations.
New Allegations Emerge In Christie Scandal
MSNBC: "Christie Camp Held Sandy Relief Money Hostage, Mayor Alleges." MSNBC's Steve Kornacki reported on the morning of January 18 that according to a New Jersey mayor, two senior members of Christie's administration threatened to hold Hurricane Sandy relief money hostage until the mayor approved a redevelopment plan favored by the governor. The new allegations came in the wake of the Christie administration's bridge scandal, in which high-ranking Christie aides were revealed to have apparently caused a massive traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge as political retribution. From MSNBC:
Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie's administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with msnbc.
The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn't approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken -- 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.
In an exclusive interview, Zimmer broke her silence and named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie's community affairs commissioner, as the two officials who delivered messages on behalf of a governor she had long supported.
"The bottom line is, it's not fair for the governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the City of Hoboken because he wants me to give back to one private developer," she said Saturday on UP w/ Steve Kornacki. "... I know it's very complicated for the public to really understand all of this, but I have a legal obligation to follow the law, to bring balanced development to Hoboken."
Constable and Christie -- through spokespersons -- deny Zimmer's claims. [MSNBC.com, 1/18/14]
Fox Buries New Christie Revelations, Focuses On Benghazi
The Day The Story Broke, Fox Mentioned Christie Three Times, New Allegations Only Once. Fox News mentioned Christie only three times on Saturday, January 18, and only one of those references, during a brief news segment, mentioned the allegations from the mayor of Hoboken. The second mention was Sen. Angus King's (I-ME) statement that if Hillary Clinton was responsible for Benghazi, Christie is responsible for the bridge scandal, while the third was during a segment about Christie campaigning in Florida for Gov. Rick Scott that did not mention the scandals. By contrast, Fox mentioned "Benghazi" 20 times during the same time period.
CNN Mentioned Christie At Least 38 Times; MSNBC At Least 44 Times. A TVEyes search for Christie found 38 unique results on CNN for Saturday, January 18, including discussions of the new allegations and the bridge scandal, and 44 results for MSNBC. MSNBC also aired an interview with the mayor of Hoboken to discuss the new allegations.
The Next Day, Fox News Sunday Ignored Christie Scandal. The January 19 edition of Fox Broadcasting's Fox News Sunday, which aired the day after the new revelations broke, did not mention the Christie scandal at all. The same day, Fox News' media criticism show, #MediaBuzz, devoted a segment to questioning whether the scandal is getting too much coverage in national media. [Fox News, #MediaBuzz, 1/19/14]
Fox Has Attempted To Diminish And Dismiss Christie Scandal
Fox Previously Buried The Christie Bridge Scandal With Less Than 15 Minutes Of Coverage. A Media Matters analysis of cable news coverage from January 8, the day the bridge scandal broke, found that Fox News did not mention the story for more than six hours after it broke, eventually devoting less than 15 minutes to the developing story that day. In contrast, both CNN and MSNBC gave the story more than two hours of coverage. [Media Matters, 1/8/14; 1/9/14]
Fox's Scant Coverage Of The Christie Bridge Scandal Attempted To Deflect To Benghazi, IRS. Fox's scant coverage of the Christie scandal has largely attempted to deflect from the governor, with segments on the scandal instead attacking President Obama or Hillary Clinton. On Fox & Friends January 10, every single segment which purported to discuss Christie used the story to bring up the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi. Fox hosts and commentators also attempted to compare Christie's bridge scandal to the IRS scandal, in which bureaucrats largely based in Cincinnati allegedly devoted inappropriate scrutiny to conservative groups. Neither comparison has any relevance to the Christie story. [Media Matters, 1/10/14; 1/10/14]
Media Matters searched mentions of "Christie" on TVEyes for Saturday, January 18. We only included mentions from the original airing of a show, and removed mentions that were not about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.