Fund contrasts media outlets’ approach to ‘Bridgegate’ and the IRS scandal

John Fund documents for National Review Online readers a curious contrast in media coverage of recent scandals involving New Jersey’s governor and the IRS.

Yes, liberal bias does play a role in explaining why — as reports — the major networks have had 44 times more coverage of Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal than they have had on anything related to the IRS political-targeting scandal that began last May.

Jonathan Alter, speaking on MSNBC, has dismissed the comparison by saying that “there are not ongoing revelations [in the IRS story]. If there were ongoing revelations in the IRS matter, that would still be a story.” He made his claim only four days after news broke that the Justice Department had chosen a significant Obama donor to head its investigation of the IRS, creating the obvious perception of a conflict of interest.

But it’s also true that a large part of the difference in coverage is owing simply to the laziness of journalists, for whom anything connected to a future presidential election trumps delving deeply into more complicated topics.

… None of this is to excuse the callous and cruel behavior of Christie aides, or — if he is found to have been deceptive in proclaiming his non-involvement — that of Governor Christie himself. But it should make us question the intensity and zeal with which the scandal is being pursued. Michael Murphy, the former top prosecutor in New Jersey’s Morris County and a former Democratic candidate for governor, told me the atmosphere in Trenton now is “a feeding frenzy,” with many reporters convinced that “this is their Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein moment.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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