Pundit reaction is worse: On the one hand, the Christie report turned out to be a bit of an oversold dud.
On Wednesday night, Governor Christie was asked how the report could be any good, since several important figures had refused to be interviewed.
In reply, Christie said this:
CHRISTIE (3/26/14): You don’t just come to conclusions from interviews. There’s lots and lots of documents that involve all those people which have been part of the public record and will be becoming a part of the public record going forward. And you can discern a lot from that.Christie’s first point was certainly right. We don’t get all our facts from interviews. One example:
Some of those, at least three of them, have asserted their constitutional right not to speak. If they continue to do that, no one will ever speak to them.
RADIO HOST: So there may be questions surrounding this which you concede, that we may simply never know the answers to.
CHRISTIE: Right, but I don’t think the important questions. I think all the important questions will be answered.
No one has interviewed Bridget Kelly at all. But every pundit has declared that Kelly ordered the closings.
That judgment has been based on an email. No one has felt the need to wait for her interview.
How about Christie’s second point: “I think all the important questions will be answered?”
In retrospect, maybe Christie didn’t mean that every question would be answered in this report. If he meant his report would answer all questions, his report is an oversold dud.
Plainly, the report doesn’t answer all questions. On the other hand, the report is straightforward about the fact that it can’t explain the motivation for the lane closings. And in some ways, the report is better than the punditry it has inspired.
We’re still reading the report, but it seems to include some new information about the Fort Lee matter. On the other hand, a lot of pundit reaction has been just very bad.
At the TPM Editor’s Blog, the snarky premise driving this post is extremely dumb. That said, many pundits have run with the faux conundrum driving that silly post.
Other pundits continue to wonder: How you can produce a report if you don’t interview the principals? Work like that is sad. But that’s the general state of play in this heavily tribalized era.
In our next post, we’ll look at Kate Zernike’s critique of the Christie report. But cable last night was an ongoing tribute to our low-IQ, partisan age.
On CNN, the tulip craze continued apace. Not since The Summer of Condit (2001) have so many pundits been so daft in such a synchronized way for such an extended time.
On MSNBC, poor Ari Melber was caught in the backwash of Chris Hayes’ ridiculous segment from Wednesday night. (Melber guest-hosted for Hayes.)
At Salon and at TPM, we liberals have been encouraged to view that segment in the Preferred Tribal Manner. We had a different reaction to the segment, a point we expect to explain in the coming days.
Has “cable news” ever been this dumb so completely across the board? Truly, cable pundits have come close to achieving a fully pre-rational state.
On the web, things are little better. Most disturbingly, liberals are being urged to swallow The Dumb everywhere we turn.
You can’t run a modern nation this way. On cable, the various groupings of corporate hires look like they’re planning to try.