Maddow goes to bat for local journalists and why we need them, citing Chris Christie reporting in Bridgegate
Excellent preach tonight by Rachel Maddow on her show about why America needs — and should support — local journalists. Her peg was how the Bergen Record and New York Metro staff of the Wall Street Journal tied NJ Gov. Chris Christie — now Donald Trump’s transition director — to the Bridgegate scandal. Two of his aides were convicted in court today for the scandal. My transcription of Maddow’s full segment is below (video not yet available online to share).
“Keep in mind, at the trial, both the defense and the prosecution said that Gov. Christie knew about the lane closure scheme while it was happening. In September 2013. He knew about it before the media started to pick it up. First, in a traffic column by the Bergen Record. And then the Wall Street Journal, which was the first newspaper to link that mysterious day’s long traffic jam to a political scheme that was aimed at winning political endorsements for Chris Christie. Here’s the thing, though. Here’s the amazing kicker in the story in terms of our democracy. As the Bridgegate scandal, that those papers broke . . . first went to trial, the Bergen Record, the first paper to report anything about it, they were told by their corporate owner that their newsroom was getting gutted — cut nearly in half — as Bridgegate went to trial.
“This week, as the Bridgegate case went to the jury, the Wall Street Journal announced that it’s gutting the Greater New York section of the paper — the section of the journal that broke the political side of Bridgegate. The two papers that broke this story open both got gutted while it was in the courts. Chris Christie is still the head of the Trump Transition Team, at least for now.
“Tonight, Christie called off his appearances in New Hampshire this weekend. But four of Chris Christie’s aides are federal convicts now.
Chris Christie’s career is likely toast because of this — and all of that happened because of smart , dogged, local beat reporters — not pundits like me, not cable news people — local beat reporters working for newspapers. Following leads, digging up dirt, cultivating sources. Not giving up. Not taking no for an answer. Not believing Chris Christie when he said ‘No, I never heard about it.’ And in all of this, at the end, it turns out the endangered special here is the local beat reporters. Without whom we would never would have known that this abuse of power happened. Subscribe to your local paper. Pay to join the website of your local paper. Seriously. Your country needs you.”