Gloating Networks Hype Chris Christie’s Inauguration 'Crisis': Not Exactly ‘His 'Glory Days'

All three networks on Tuesday morning continued to pile on Chris Christie, offering gloating coverage about how his “glory days” have gone terribly wrong.  After recounting everything that has gone awry for the Republican, Good Morning America's Jim Avila imagined, “You can almost see at the inauguration today, Governor Christie raising his right hand and shaking his head at the same time. “ [See video below.] Co-host Robin Roberts added, “It’s not what they thought today was going to be.”

After reiterating that  the new year is “not at all going to plan” for Christie, Avila continued, “Instead, [the governor has been] forced to play scandal whack-a-mole, with new poll numbers falling.” CBS This Morning offered a network graphic that trumpeted, “Christie Crisis.” Journalist Elaine Quijano featured  Alex Burns from the liberal Politico to lecture that in order to run for President, Christie needed to “run up the legislative score board in New Jersey. I think we can safely say that all those plans are on hold.”  

On NBC’s Today, Kelly O’Donnell seemed to offer a sense of finality and failure for Christie’s second tem, which began on Tuesday. She assessed, “This is supposed to be a good news day for Christ Christie… Despite multiple investigations, today is still billed as a celebration for Christie and his supporters.”

O’Donnell added, “But two weeks of scandal over bridge traffic, Sandy relief and the culture of the Christie administration has taken a toll.”

All three networks repeatedly played clips of Hoboken Democratic mayor Dawn Zimmer, the latest accuser of Christie. They did not include skepticism about why Zimmer waited until now to step forward, why she previously tweeted her support for Christie or why she endorsed the Republican later in 2013.

A Media Research Center study found that in the first 48 hours of BridgeGate, the networks devoted 88 minutes to the scandal, compared to a minuscule two minutes for the last six months of Barack Obama’s IRS controversy.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has compared the governor to Richard Nixon and his Watergate scandal every day since the story first broke. 

A transcript of the January 21 GMA segment is below:


ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Today's inauguration overshadowed by the latest allegations. His administration denying charges they threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief to a badly flooded city unless its mayor backed one of the governor's pet projects. ABC's Jim Avila is here, has the latest on all that. Good morning, Jim.

JIM AVILA: Good morning, Robin. The “sorrys”  of Fort Lee have changed for “no ways” from Hoboken. The governor's office now fighting new charges when they hoped to be looking ahead. Inauguration day, a celebration, an honor for Chris Christie and his running mate Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. Instead, another scandal. New Jersey's second highest government official denies she tried to bully the small town mayor of Hoboken by tying Sandy relief money to a building project the governor liked.

LT. GOV KIM GUADAGNO (R-NJ): I deny any suggestion made by Mayor Zimmer that there was ever any condition placed on the release of Sandy funds by me.

AVILA: A denial Hoboken’s mayor says she expected. Overnight, sticking by her story and willing to take a lie detector test to prove it.

DAWN ZIMMER: She said this to me. You know, and I stand by my word.

AVILA: This is not at all according to plan for the governor's brain trust. January was designed to be a month-long Christie fest, the state of the state, today’s inaugural, hosting the Super Bowl.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: The Super Bowl is in New Jersey.

PROF. BRIGID HARRISON: I think Chris Christie really expected these to be his glory days.

AVILA:  Instead, forced to play scandal whack-a-mole, with new poll numbers falling. His unfavorable doubling and a majority saying they just don't believe he was blindsided by scandal leaving the governor to make the understatement of the week in an interview with Yahoo! News:  “I will learn things from this and when asked because of this uncharacteristically rough patch if he was a better candidate, Christie said “I'm readier, if they a word.” Now, Governor Christie's has not personally responded to the Hoboken mayor, but his office has been very aggressive in its denials. You can almost see at the inauguration today, Governor Christie raising his right hand and shaking his head at the same time.

ROBERTS: It’s not quite what they thought today was going to be.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But he’s going to get back on message today. In the meantime, I saw over the weekend, Jim, as well, he's actually told all these funders, “don't come to me for another year about the presidential race. I got to pay attention to New Jersey.”
AVILA: Yes. He knows he has work to do.

— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.