New York Times Fires Back At ‘Morning Joe’ Over Christie Scandal Coverage

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The New York Times on Tuesday defended its recent coverage of the George Washington Bridge scandal amid steady criticism from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) most vocal allies in the media.

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski said Tuesday that the newspaper overreached in its report last week on allegations that Christie contemporaneously knew of lane closures on the bridge. It was the second day in a row that the program heavily scrutinized last Friday’s report from Times reporter Kate Zernike.

“The New York Times on Friday and all of the headlines on Saturday and Sunday — ‘He Knew.’ He knew what? I don’t get what — and The New York Times had to, like, re-do their story,” Brzezinski said, referring to updates applied to Zernike’s report.

Brzezinski said later in the broadcast that the Times was “accusing [Christie] of lying.” At one point, New York magazine writer John Heilemann pushed back, pointing out that the Times “did not say he was guilty of anything.”

“Uh, inferred (sic) it and then it just became this huge kind of domino effect,” Brzezinski said to Heilemann.

In response to Brzezinski’s criticism, a spokesperson for the Times defended Zernike’s report and the newspaper’s coverage of the bridge scandal.

“Our coverage has consistently explained the facts in this unfolding story in an objective manner,” the spokesperson told TPM in an email. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply not true.”

As a guest on Monday’s edition of “Morning Joe,” an unabashedly pro-Christie program, Zernike faced a skeptical line of questions.

Host Joe Scarborough repeatedly insisted that Christie has said all along that he knew of the lane closures while they were going on when, in fact, the New Jersey governor has previously said the opposite.

But a Times spokesperson told TPM on Monday that Zernike believes Scarborough was “genuinely trying to understand what Christie has said.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK