Earlier today, I remarked to a very smart woman that NJTV was actually going to cover the governor's speech today - live, instead of cartoons. Of course they are, she replied drolly, it's Christie.
Cover they did, live but without commentary. No intro or post-game commentary from Michael Aron or any of the other journalists in their stable. No savvy speculation on what Christie might say or context for today's special session. Just a rrrrrip from prancing field mice to the big man striding into the chamber. And a rrrrrip back to cartoons in the middle of Assembly Democrats discussing afterwards. There were some technical glitches - the feed bounced back and forth a few times from the Governor, to cartoons, to Christie, to cartoons. That's forgivable. Funny, even.
NJTV is one year old. The handover that read like a gold-wrapped gift to the Adubato family is gelled. NJTV can no longer claim baby steps. Said Asm Patrick Diegnan, in a piece in Sunday's Ledger: "It's a wake, not an anniversary. Effectively, NJTV is dead. Nobody watches it." Ouch.
We all have a stake in good coverage, in good journalism, and in the transparency that a network broadcasting deliberations, hearings, and speeches of electeds works toward. And in the accountability that can come with transparency. NJTV is better than its awful first months. But it's still inadequate. And there's not enough good journalism going on.
Take, for example, this coverage posted at their site of today's speech. We don't post articles in their entirety - you can read it here - but this is how it starts. I ask you - - does it sound like public TV analysis? Or Christie front office PR?
Christie Strikes Conciliatory Tone, Speaks of Bipartisanship in Pitch for Tax Cut
To a special joint session of the Senate and Assembly, Gov. Chris Christie used a gentler tone than the one he has used at town hall meetings to describe the Democratic-controlled legislature. He made an appeal to both chambers of the legislature to adopt his tax cut plan, arguing that giving New Jerseyans tax relief today would create jobs tomorrow.
For almost two thirds of the speech, the governor detailed and spoke glowingly of bipartisan accomplishments of the past two years. "We've done something pretty unprecedented, not just for New Jersey, but for our country," said Christie.
Despite fierce disagreements, he touted the way both sides have compromised to get things done, which he says makes New Jersey a model for bipartisan leadership. "Washington, D.C. has been paralyzed because people talk at one another and not to one another. No one stops for a second to think about how what they fail to do today will lead to failure for our citizens tomorrow. Instead, it's a constant fight to see who wins the next 24-hour news cycle."