Saturday, December 14, 2013

How Chris Christie Spins The Media

(Reading time:  60 seconds)

NJ Governor Chris Christie was in trouble this week.  Legislators in New Jersey were grilling him about his involvement with an appointee’s decision to shut access lanes to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, allegedly as political retribution against that city’s mayor, leading to a massive traffic jam.

The Governor’s testimony went well, with Christie begging ignorance of his long-time friend and top aide Bill Baroni’s decision. ( Baroni has since resigned even as Christie said he was planning to replace him.)

Then came the press conference.  

As New Jersey Public Radio’s Matt Katz tells it, the Q&A went on for over an hour!  Katz told sister station WNYC that he alone was able to ask four questions and the press conference only ended because reporters ran out of questions.

Katz says that Christie has done this before when in a crisis… after taking a state helicopter to his son’s baseball game, after unannounced lap-band surgery.  But the strategy is intriguing:  appear so open, so willing to answer questions and with nothing to hide that nobody can accuse him of being unresponsive.

And Katz says the media in attendance were so overwhelmed with sound-bites that each could write three or four different leads.  There was no “killer cut”.  Everybody came away with a different angle.

Bottom Line:  Rather than run from the press, Christie put it in a bear hug. 


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