Sokolich (pretty much) changes his story!


How journalists deal with such matters: Mayor Sokolich has pretty much changed his story again.

The mayor’s latest story may be perfectly accurate. But in what follows, we’ll look at the way journalists react to such matters.

In what way has Sokolich changed his story? Back in January, Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee, made a point of telling Wolf Blitzer that he had never been asked to endorse Governor Christie—or at least, it seemed that was what the mayor said.

“I’ve said it many times,” the mayor said to Blitzer:
BLITZER (1/8/14): So take us into this feud that was going. Did they really expect you, a Democrat, to endorse the Republican candidate's re-election, Chris Christie?

SOKOLICH: I guess. You know, I've said this many times. I don't recall a specific request to endorse. But, you know, the events that led up to all of this, I guess you can interpret to be somehow attracting me to endorse. I didn't want to endorse for several reasons, not the least of, which is I’m a Democrat. I was supportive of Ms. Buono. I wasn't prepared to do that.
He made it sound like you’d have to stretch to interpret preceding events as “somehow” attracting him to endorse. One night later, citing that statement, Rachel Maddow developed a whole new theory about the possibly motivation for the lane closings.

On January 13, the story seemed to change. On that day, the New York Times ran a 2800-word, front-page overview of the Fort Lee matter.

Right at the start of N.R. Kleinfield’s report, Sokolich seemed to be telling a different story:
KLEINFIELD (1/13/14): One day last spring...a member of Gov. Chris Christie's re-election campaign staff came calling to see if Mr. Sokolich, a Democrat, would endorse the governor, a Republican. There was scant doubt that Mr. Christie would win. But his ambition was to win big...

Mr. Sokolich, however, was noncommittal. ''I said, 'Yes, I'll consider it, because I'll consider anything,' '' he recalled.

He chewed it over with local council members and two objections arose: It would be rude to State Senator Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, and they were miffed at Mr. Christie for his decision to spend millions of dollars to hold a special election to fill New Jersey's vacant United States Senate seat three weeks before Election Day.

And so the mayor let the request go. ''I never called and said no, I never called and said yes,'' said Mr. Sokolich, who would not name the official who had reached out to him. ''I think they interpreted my response to that conversation to be a no.''
As we noted at the time, that sounded like a different story than the one Sokolich had told Blitzer just five days before.

This past weekend, the story seemed to change again. In the Bergen County Record, Mike Kelly reported a two-hour interview with the mayor.

Unless Kelly was misrepresenting his story, Sokolich now seemed to say that he had been asked to endorse Christie “on at least three occasions:”
KELLY (2/8/14): Sokolich said efforts to gain his endorsement began nearly two years ago...

He said Matt Mowers, a political operative for the Christie campaign—who had previously worked in the governor’s intergovernmental affairs office, which was the chief liaison to towns—would meet with him and tell him about other Democrats who endorsed Christie. On at least three occasions, Sokolich said that Mowers brought up the subject of Sokolich’s possible endorsement.

“He would say, ‘What are your thoughts?’ ” Sokolich said of Mowers. “He would say, ‘What do you think?’ Or he would say, “Is this something you would consider?’ ”
According to Kelly, Sokolich added the following: “Some people might interpret that as a direct request. I don’t. I always viewed it as a gradual courting. I always viewed it as a way to ask so that there was always plausible deniability.”

Please. In the real world, all people would interpret that as a request for an endorsement. After a separate interview with the mayor, David Voreacos of Bloomberg News quoted him saying this:
VOREACOS (2/7/14): “I was never asked directly to endorse” Christie, Sokolich said. “It was always conversations, like ‘Hey, this mayor endorsed Governor Christie, and this mayor jumped over and endorsed Governor Christie, this county executive who’s a Democrat endorsed Governor Christie.”

“That would ultimately lead to a conversation like, ‘Is that something, you, mayor, would consider?’ or ‘What’s on your mind? Is that something you might want to do?,’” he said. “I never viewed it as a direct request. I always viewed it as an attempt to maintain plausible deniability in case I said no. I never specifically said no, because, you know, I didn’t want to disappoint the guy that was asking the question.”
Earth to mayor: When Mowers said, “Is that something you might want to do?” that was very much like a direct request.

Unless we want to play verbal games, Sokolich seems to have changed his story since he made that apparent denial to Blitzer—a denial which seemed so strong that it inspired Maddow to act.

You can torture the mayor’s statements to say that he hasn’t changed his story. But by the normal rules of the game, torture is what it would take.

Please note: This doesn’t mean that Sokolich’s current story is false. It may be that Mowers did bring up the subject of Sokolich’s possible endorsement on at least three occasions, asking if that was something he might want to do.

The current account may well be perfectly accurate. For today, we want you to notice something about the way the contemporary “press corps” reacts when the basic thrust of a story changes or seems to change.

Below, you see two basic principles of modern scandal journalism:

First rule: If the anointed “good guy” in some scandal seems to pretty much change his story, the press corps will struggle not to notice that fact.

Second rule: The rules are completely different for one of the press corps’ targeted pols. In that case, journalists will break their backs to report that the target has changed his tale.

In the past week, we’ve seen both principles enacted as journalists report, or pretend to report, the Fort Lee matter.

Last week, Rachel Maddow was torturing facts and language to insist that Christie, the targeted pol in the case, had “completely changed his story” about one part of this piece—that something he said last Monday night “directly contradicted” things he had said in the past.

That was a monumental stretch, a point we’ll return to in the next day or two. Meanwhile, consider the way Sokolich has been treated as his own story seems to evolve.

On September 13, Kleinfield led his front-page report in the Times with a passage in which the mayor seemed to change his story for the first time. But Kleinfield took no note of this apparent change, and neither did anyone else.

Kleinfield didn’t mention what Sokolich had said to Blitzer the previous week. He didn’t seem to have asked Sokolich about that previous statement.

Last Saturday, Kelly of the Bergen Record reported yet another account of this matter. He now quoted Sokolich saying that he had been asked about endorsing Christie “on at least three occasions.”

Kelly reported that the Christie administration had accused Sokolich of changing his story. But he didn’t report what Sokolich originally said to Blitzer, and he didn’t ask Sokolich to explain the ways his story had seemed to evolve.

Beyond that, we note the reaction of Steve Kornacki on last Friday night’s Maddow Show. To her credit, Maddow noted the apparent drift in the mayor’s story as the Bergen Record and Bloomberg reports appeared on-line.

Note what Kornacki said:
MADDOW (2/7/14): The other thing that broke tonight, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich says he once met with Governor Christie for dinner. He also says he was courted for his endorsement of the governor’s re-election more significantly than he has said before. What do you make of these tonight?

KORNACKI: So yes, I’m seeing a lot of headlines that are portraying this as, like, you know, “Sokolich is changing his story,” or “Sokolich is now saying this was about endorsement,” as if this mystery as has been solved by what Mark Sokolich says and this is going to be. I don’t see it.

I look closely at this interview and I think the mystery lives on past this interview, because what you have here is Mark Sokolich has said before. He’s talked about Matt Mowers, who’s one of the campaign aides to Chris Christie, back in the spring, saying, “Hey, there are Democratic mayors endorsing Governor Christie. Is it something you might be interested in doing?”

He’s talked in the past how he strung them along, didn’t say no, didn’t say yes, told them how hard it would be. He’s talked in the past about the friendly gestures that Bill Baroni made for him, you know, for Fort Lee, providing certain things for Fort Lee. He talked to me before about David Wildstein meeting him at Ground Zero when he brought family members and saying, “I’m here to treat you very well.”

What he would always say was, you know, “I’m the kind of guy who, you know, as all these things were happening, I wasn’t necessarily putting them together. Now in hindsight when I put them all together, I can see they may have been trying to cultivate me. They may have been inspecting an endorsement. I may not have been reading it, you know, the same way.”

But what doesn’t add up, you ask him about this, he still says he doesn’t have an explanation for this, that memo. "Time for some traffic in Fort Lee" goes out in August. You’re looking for a triggering event.

What was going on in August? Did Matt Mowers ask you a bunch of times? Mayor Sokolich, did Matt Mowers ask you in that span about the endorsement? He says, no, months before that. Can you think of anything in August that might have triggered that e-mail? He can’t think of anything that went out that might have triggered that.
Kornacki is certainly right on one point. These new interviews don’t prove that the lane closings were caused by Sokolich’s failure to endorse.

That said, Kornacki also was working quite hard to say that Sokolich hasn’t changed his story. This courteous treatment is routinely extended to the good guys, or to the accusers, in a scandal event.

Has Mayor Sokolich changed his story? We’d say he pretty much has.

That doesn’t mean that his story is false. His recent statements may well be perfectly accurate. Indeed, we’re not asking you to judge Sokolich or Christie today. We’re asking you to understand the way the “press corps” works when scandal culture grips the soul.

Here's how the “press corps” functions:

They’ll bust their keisters to insist that the “good guy” or the accuser hasn’t changed his story. Meanwhile, they’ll con you fifty ways to Christmas to insist that the target pol has.

This is the way the “press corps” works. This has been their approach to scandal reporting going back decades now.


  1. Bob Sommerby sucks, therefore the mayor didn't change his story. There. I summarized what the trolls in the comments section will say.

    1. Some of the trolls know how to spell Somerby. Others don't so they just call him Bob, bogger, or TDH.

  2. "They’ll bust their keisters to insist that the “good guy” or the accuser hasn’t changed his story. Meanwhile, they’ll con you fifty ways to Christmas to insist that the target pol has."

    The press doesn't really work like that. How absurd!

  3. Replies
    1. He is a ferret for the truth, that Bob.

  4. See, the trolls have succeeded in their tyranny. They have stifled the true readers who want to voice thoughtful opinions.

  5. "They’ll bust their keisters to insist that the “good guy” or the accuser hasn’t changed his story. Meanwhile, they’ll con you fifty ways to Christmas to insist that the target pol has."

    Yes. After a week of explaining that Christie's tales of what he knew and when he stopped knowing it were merely "adding details," we now get this.

    The real journalistic crime here is if reporters spend more than the 30 seconds Maddow and Kornacki spent on what Sokolich says.

    Far more interesting in what Kornacki said, which Bob dutifully quoted but didn't highlight, is what is the triggering event? What caused Bridget Kelly to send that e-mail to Wildstein on that particular date? What happened?

    It is obvious that Sokolich has no idea.

    1. If you hypothesize the need for a preliminary traffic study to answer the question "What happens if you shut down some of the Ft Lee lanes?" then the email makes sense. If you hypothesize a development in Ft Lee that would affect and be affected by that traffic, then the interest in that question makes some sense too. If you hypothesize that Wildstein didn't know anything about how to conduct such a study and couldn't interest the real engineers in conducting such a study (perhaps because they were on the New York side?) then the stupidity of the study also makes some sense. Are these kinds of speculations out of bounds but others permitted?

    2. Right. Bridget Kelly really, really meant to say: "Time for a prelimiary traffic study to answer the questuion 'What happens if you shut down some of the Ft. Lee lanes?'"

      It isn't hypothesis to say that the order came from Trenton, and Wildstein followed it. So we can hypothesize all we want about stupid Wildstein and his crazy idea to shut down lanes, but the order still came from Trenton.

    3. Speaking of keister-busting, let's reverse Bob's line and see if it applies to any blogger we know:

      "He’ll bust his keister to insist that the target pol hasn’t changed his story. Meanwhile, he’ll con you fifty ways to Christmas to insist that the "good guy" or accuser has."

    4. "If you hypothesize the need for a preliminary traffic study to answer the question "What happens if you shut down some of the Ft Lee lanes?" then the email makes sense."

      In what way does that make sense? What connection would Bridget Anne Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, have to a traffic study? Is she an engineer? Does she work for the Port Authority? Did Wildstein work for her?

    5. I do have this nagging suspicion that both Kelly and Wildstein knew what would happen -- that shutting down those lanes would cause traffic problems in Fort Lee.

      If only we had some smoking gun evidence, like an e-mail between them or something like that, to prove it.

    6. Wildstein and Baroni are political appointees and so is Bridget Kelly. They wanted a study done so they could answer some questions about a development they wanted to support (or not). The Port Authority didn't show any interest in doing it. What happens then?

      Why does this have to be a revenge action? There are other political explanations for what they did. I am not arguing they didn't do it. I am saying that the motive is unclear.

    7. "If you hypothesize the need for a preliminary traffic study to answer the question "What happens if you shut down some of the Ft Lee lanes?" then the email makes sense."

      There is no such thing as a hypothesis that would require shutting down two of the three lanes, with the result that people with electronic toll-paying devices would be at the mercy of those who paid cash. There really is no such thing as a hypothesis that would require shutting down two of three lanes (instaed of one) for an entrance configuration that had lasted for a quarter of a century. There is, further, no such thing as a hypothesis that would involve shutting down even one lane without first having data in hand on how fast the traffic cleared from the various toll entrances. Only if there were an obvious imbalance for a long period would tinkering with anything in real time make sense.

      Enough with the "maybe there really was a study" bullshit. There were no "hypotheses" and there was no study.

    8. There must be some explanation because all this happened. You clearly prefer your hypothesis about what happened, but until we know more it is still a hypothesis. Since you prefer to believe there was no study, you have the burden of explaining all of the study-like behaviors that did occur. Simply saying there was no study doesn't accomplish that.

    9. Gee, can't understand how all this could have happened!

      Good lord, do you have two functioning brain cells? Are they communicating with each other?

    10. Non-responsive answer. We still don't know why this happened. You prefer to believe your own theory. That doesn't make it true.

    11. Fella, don't presume that the rest of the world is as dense as you are. YOU are too stupid to see that it wasn't a traffic study. We of the functioning brains have conclusive evidence that it wasn't.

      This "all the evidence" bullshit is the lamest game imaginable. "All the evidence" isn't in about evolution, either. Shoud we still believe the world was created exactly as it is, in six days, some 6,000 years ago?

    12. For all practical purposes, the evidence is in for evolution, which, after all, is a question of science. Bridgegate is about the actions of political bureaucrats. And they aren't parallel, except in the minds of people who don't understand science or people who cling to their favorite political narratives of good and evil.

      Wildstein gathered enough data to claim that the New York bound traffic jam on the GWB was 45 minutes shorter at the expense of Fort Lee commuters. Is that claim true? Who knows? As everyone on earth believes, whatever he was doing wasn't a real traffic study on which anyone could rely for conclusions. Why did he do it, apparently in concert with Bridge T. Kelly? Who knows? Perhaps it was to demonstrate that spending money increasing throughput over the GWB wasn't necessary because all that required was shutting down a couple local-access lanes. Perhaps it really was just to make life miserable in Fort Lee. "I feel badly about the kids." W texted ungrammatically to Bridge T. "They are the children of Buono voters." she replies.

      But that makes no sense, even if you think punishing children is a good way to get back at their parents. Christie carried Fort Lee by ten points. Nothing about this makes any sense. Perhaps Christie said at a staff meeting, "I gotta take a leak," and his staffers heard "I gotta get back at Fort Lee."

      Ruse? Cover story? Hoax? To retaliate? To warn off investors? I'm ready to believe the worst about the whole crew, but I'd like an explanation that makes sense before I do. Do you believe in the stupidity theory of the world of the conspiracy theory?

      I believe in a conspiracy of the stupid.

  6. To me, the biggest change in Sokolich's account is that he is now interpreting a series of favors provided by the Port Authority as an attempt to buy his endorsement. He now talks about these as "gifts." That casts a very different light on his good treatment by Wildstein and Baroni. The fact of whether his endorsement was solicited or not is minor next to the way in which he has recast a series of smaller events, reinterpreted his relationship with the Port Authority. He says he didn't notice that before, but if someone is trying to solicit an endorsement and the person they are pressuring doesn't notice (takes for granted) the so-called inducements, that sounds like pretty ineffective politicking. So his new story doesn't make much sense. Do we trust Sokolich when he says there was no precipitating event, since he doesn't seem to pay much attention to what is happening to him? How does someone get elected mayor without a basic ability to understand the meaning of political events?

    So, if we assume Sokolich has changed his story, the obvious question is why? Is the attack on Christie losing steam, not working? Is he being asked by Democrats to tighten the screws on Christie? What is in it for Sokolich to change his story this way? Who benefits?

    1. "To me..." And to Bob. You read well.

    2. Except I said this yesterday when Bob had not yet posted anything.

    3. And Bob's take was so hard to predict.

  7. Bridget Kelly: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

    David Wildstein: "Got it."


    David Wildstein: "The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson is helping us retaliate."

    Bridget Kelly: "What?"

    David Wildstein: "Yes unreal. Fixed now."


    Bob, I don't care of Sokolich suddenly remembers that Christie invited him over to the mansion for a Fourth of July picnic.

    Still doesn't change a thing about the e-mails above.

    1. Step 1 -- assume there was a real traffic study. Step 2 -- reread the emails in that context and see if they could have a different meaning than the one you are attributing to them. Step 3 -- wait for more information to emerge about what they did mean.

    2. Of course to do that you have to erase from your memory the middle e-mail in which the school children stuck in the traffic generated by the study we "assume" are "children of Buono voters."

    3. As well as to Etch-a-Sketch the testimonies of Durando, Fulton and Foye about the steps necessary to do a "real traffic study" especially one involving lane closures.

    4. Anonymous @ 11:14

      You overlook Somerby's detailed description of how the testimony of Durando and Fulton was carefully manipuated by Democrat inquisitors on the committee, and that they testified that way back in 2010 or 2011 Wildstein once asked why Ft. Lee had all those entrance lanes, a clear predicate to this study even if he never followed up on it until the e-mail from Kelly.

      And we all know Foye was caught up in some NY vs NJ rivalry, and as Somerby noted, he kept using the phrase "not that I am aware of" which Democrat inquisitors never asked him to clarify.

      These are important clues leading to a safe assumption a real study may have been possible, even if badly bungled, by people really not that totally close to Christie.

    5. Absolutely.

      And I also recall how Sokolich, back when he was the next Malala, was tricked into saying, "He (Wildstein) deserves an ass-kicking" by the then-vile, but now "Gallant" Chris Hayes, who is now schooling everybody in the only acceptable way to speculate before all the evidence is known.

  8. "Step 1 -- ass/u/me there was a real traffic study."

    There. Fixed it for you.

    1. Let's try and understand the difference between:

      a)arguing that there probably was a traffic study


      b)criticizing how the press has reached, and communicated to us how they reached the conclusion that there wasn't a traffic study.

      It's absurd to me that anyone assumes that Bob or any readers are claiming there really was a traffic study. It's an idiotic contribution to discussion.

      Every single post on TDH is about how the press "show their work". It's about how they reach conclusions and how they tell us why they reached those conclusions.

      Bob's not commenting on the actual events. He's commenting on how the press talk about and communicate the events.

      If you're here, and you haven't grasped that yet, please, for everyone's sake, grasp it now.

    2. Right. Absolutely no evidence that this wasn't a traffic study, is there? Good grief, you have to dismiss a mountain of evidence to still pretend that not enough is in yet.

      This is like looking at a body that's been beaten, shot four times, stabbed a dozen times, and has a noose around his neck and saying, "It could have been an accident. All the evidence isn't in yet."

    3. No, it's actually not like that at all. It's more like looking at your crime scene and saying "This is really, really strange. What the hell happened?". Because even though you can tell it probably wasn't an accident, that's all you can tell. It's why they do autopsy's and have all kinds of rigorous procedures in place, from chains of evidence to forensic science, to figure out what actually happened. They don't just look at it the crime scene and say, "well, I've got this one figured out. Let's go home.".

      I'm pretty sure there was no traffic study. But then again, as a reporter I might not want to definitively make that claim. I have no motive. And given the lack of motive, I don't know who exactly ordered it or why. And given that, I have very little direct, conclusive evidence that this was a deliberate attempt to cause traffic problems. So I can build a really good circumstantial case that points to scandal. But, I have very little that I'd want to bring to trial just yet.

    4. Oh, I think the first detective on the scene will look at the body and guess someone killed the guy. And probably not in good faith with the best of intentions.

      Then he will proceed from there.

      Which is what reporters do. They go where the evidence leads.

      Like detectives, they don't go down blind alleys, holding open the possibility that our shot, stabbed and strangled corpus delecti committed suicide or died of natural causes.

      And should an e-mail be uncovered from the suspected perps which reads, "Time for some problems for . . ." their suspicions will be pretty much confirmed.

    5. Ok, well your crime scene offers many questions (and, really just for fun, not a serious point, all the wounds on the body might have been post mortem, no? Maybe the body was moved and mutilated afterward) and there would have to be lots of answers found before anyone would go to trial or be convicted.

      Bridge gate is the same. There are the basic outlines of a scandal of some sort, but little hard evidence of who did what and why. Meanwhile the narrative shaping up in parts of the press corp is that Christie ordered the bridge closes in retribution for Sokolich not endorsing him. But that's speculation based on the outlines of the scandal.

      There are still so many questions to answer here that the narrative seems premature. Just some questions off the top of my head that reporter's could probably answer that would help make sense of this: How many times has the bridge been used in retribution before? How often are traffic jams used as retribution? Is this business as usual in New Jersey? What was the retribution for? A routine non endorsement from a mayor of an opposition party? How often does that happen? Why this mayor particularly?

      In the end, maybe the difference is you analogy is that detectives get to the follow the evidence, have hunches, run into dead ends, speculate wildly in private, until they think they can get a conviction in court Reporters and pundits are basically letting it all hang out as they go along.

    6. "all the wounds on the body might have been post mortem, no?"

      Yes indeed. Our deceased corpus could have keeled over from a heart attack, then someone came along and shot, stabbed and hung him. Or even another possibility -- he could have suffered the fatal heart attack while being shot, stabbed and hung, thus exonerating the shooter, stabber and hanger.

      But I would forgive our detective if he didn't waste too much time disproving those theories.

    7. (This is all said with a smile, affect being tricky in a comment box)

      Why would you forgive him? He's got a mutilated body.

      Why was the body so horribly mutilated? To disguise evidence? To try to make it look like something killed him that didn't? What was the motive in killing this person? Is it ritualistic? Is it highly staged? I think you sell your crime scene and your detective a bit short here.

      But it's a fun premise to consider. You could probably generate about 20 different cop shows from that one body. Each with a different outcome of who did what and why.

    8. Ah, but asking why and speculating about motive before every scrap of evidence is known gets many a journalist into Somerby's rather mansion-sized dog house.

      In this instance, according to Bob, we must first disprove, on a journalistic basis, that the gunshot, stab and strangulation wounds were not merely a legitimate, good faith attempt at CPR, but merely badly bungled, before we can entertain the notion that this is evidence of a homicide.

    9. I'm not sure I follow your use of the crime scene premise. But, the point is that journalists aren't supposed to sit around speculating about motive.

      There is an established narrative that the bridge closing was revenge for Sokolich not endorsing. If this were a crime, that speculation wouldn't be happening in real time and in public. But with pundits and journalists it is. That I think is a problem.

  9. OMB ( BOB (pretty much) Maintains his Memes)

    We start our multi-part kiester busting series by making it perfectly clear for the slower reader that we are making no claims that BOB's efforts constitute a continuation of his cover story of the scandal known (for better, for worse, or as expected) as Bridgegate. Claims + cover story = "fuzzy." Fuzzy claims when added to infinity spark comments that are confusing. Clarity, therefore is our goal, in honor of the OTB.

    As readers know, when asking in the last post what direction people would predict BOB would take in viewing the latest pronouncements coming out of the Little Serbian's mouth, we did not predict. We simply sought reader speculation.

    We are happy to report BOB seems to have taken the scandal hunter approach as opposed to giving Sokolich the same benefit of the doubt he affords to the real victim in this press generated scandal, the Honorable Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey. We'll explore that later as we travel south in this thread with our imaginary assistants.

    For now we want to state why we said "pretty much" as a modifier rather than give BOB total credit for consistency in meme maintenance. The sub-meme assigned to this story from the beginning was that this was a ginned-up story, piddle pimped by Rachel Maddow. By devoting yet another post to this story and virtually nothing else, BOB continues to contradict this sub meme in service to his main meme, that the press is responsible for the collapsing/paralyzed intelllectual culture.

    Of course, you could say BOB, just like Christie, is merely the victim. He too is paralyzed and collapsing and it is all the media's fault. As the great BROKEN RECORD might say, its hard to not feel sorry for BOB. If not this he might have to write about nothing at all. Or as CeceliaMc might so elegantly state it: That is what the media culture made BOB and it is what he is.


    1. KZ's trolling isn't just in the substance of his post. (Yes, yes, we know, Bob's a hyprocrite). It's in the absurdly long and opaque text he writes. The point of his comment, such as it is, is found FOUR(4!) paragraphs in. The whole performance art thing is totally impressive, but basically masks the fact that he has nothing to actually say that couldn't be said in a few sentences.

      I mean that main point is almost unintelligible. In actual clear prose KZ might say:

      Bob first said that Bridgegate was a ginned up story. Now he focuses on nothing but this story, in order to pound home the main TDH focus, "the press' responsibility for a collapsing media culture. Bob writes from a script too. Hypocrite!"

      Of course if he wrote it this way, people would read his remarks and say "OK... Big F'in Deal. Didn't you say that yesterday?". Instead of glazing over and wondering why someone needs to write such long ridiculous comments in a comments box. Other than really hoping for some attention.

    2. For people who still cling to the hope that this was all just a "traffic study," I'm certain a lot of things are "unintelligible."

    3. Not to stop you on a roll, but don't you mean scandal "hustler" not scandal "hunter."

      I can't find a reference to scandal "hunter" but I do find Somerby calling Maddow and others scandal "hustlers."

      "This is a classic artifact of scandal culture. Hustlers search every comma their target has emitted, praying to God that they will be able to locate a “change of story.”"

    4. It is possible that KZ was being kind to Bob by offering the much softer "hunter" since Larry Flynt has changed the connotation of "hustler" forever.

      Perhaps, knowing Bob so well, KZ merely suspected that Bob misspoke, and would never call anbody, a woman in particular, by that loaded sobriquet.

      It would not be like King, nor Mandela, nor Malala.

    5. Anon. @ 2:57

      Thanks for the attention. We are wordy. It's why we like BOB.

      Good paraphrase too. However, the whole intellectual culture, not just the media culture, is collapsing/paralyzed. According to BOB. Who says most cannot see it. But he can. He is our Joyce.

      There's no voice like this anywhere else.

      Of course if BOB wrote like you suggest we should,
      the reader response to him might be exactly as you suggest it would be to us.


    6. Anon. @ 3:42. We think it was correct to point out our error and we shall attempt to redeem ourselves by later use of the very fine quote supplied in the correction of our royal selves.

      However, it was not the magazine usage which may have worked on our sub-meme-able selves, but the use of the term "race hustler" by Mssrs Limbaugh, O"Reilly, and others, to reference the Reverends Jackson and Sharpton all too often.

      We also recall the term "race hustler" being invoked here at TDH often, not by BOB, but by a temporary group of BOBfans brought on board during the Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin period. They also used the word "thug" quite often to refer to the murder/justifiable homicide victim. We cannot understand why anyone later applied a racial connotation to the use of the latter word however, especially a Stanford educated, Pac-12 tested high quality NFL CB.


      Oh, lest we forget, thanks for the thought.

    7. There you go again, thinking that the deceased unarmed teenager was the victim. We know who the true, poor victim is. The guy who now has a "celebrity" boxing match lined up.

      Why it's as if Lawrence O'Donnell himself pounded his poor head into the pavement.

    8. KZ, it's great to be smug and self satisfied with your own brand of blog performance art, but it doesn't change the fact that you don't actually have much of substance to add.

      I mean, if one wanted to explore what they saw as a dysfunctional press corp a "massively ginned up" scandal would actually be the perfect vehicle to do that. Wonder if you could explain why this is a problem, in like, four sentences or less.

    9. Yes, a "massively ginned up" scandal would be the perfect vehicle.

      Unfortunately, long before this one and the Governor of Virginia, Bob lost the ability to tell a "massively ginned up" scandal from a real one.

      Perhaps it was somewhere about the time he was blaming Joe Wilson for the Bushies outing Wilson's CIA covert operative wife.

      Or obsessing about Susan Rice when the real pseudo-scandal of Benghazi was unfolding before his eyes.

    10. Ok, but that wasn't KZ's point. KZ was noting what he saw as a contradiction or another example of Bob being hypocritical.

      Your point is different and one that I have more sympathy for.

      But, I'd make a distinction. Just because there is wrongdoing at the heart of Bridge gate it doesn't mean that the press wouldn't massively gin it up. Both things can be true. Which again, is the whole point of TDH.

      In the search for the ad dollar and ratings, stories get massively ginned up. There might be a scandal, but it doesn't mean that it will be reported well, fairly, or in a way that you'd want reporting on all stories to go.

    11. Yes. It only was called by the deputy chief of staff of a very strong contender for president of the United States, and affected the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people.

      How "massively ginned up" can you get?

    12. Ok. First, just to clarify - "massively ginned up" is a question of how the media reports a scandal. So, to whatever extent the media has told us or implied to us that Chris Christie organized the closing of the GWB as retribution for the mayor of Fort Lee not endorsing him that would be ginned up. To whatever extent the press has bungled facts or made up narratives that would also be defined as ginned up.

      Your points, while wonderfully sarcastic, don't actually respond to the point. What you said might all be true. It doesn't mean the story couldn't also be ginned up.

      Again, both can be true. There is a scandal and it is has been "massively ginned up". One refers to the fact of a scandal. The second refers to the reporting out of the scandal. One doesn't preclude the other.

    13. Well, you are certainly free to interpret "massively ginned up" as not excluding a real, live, big scandal. But when I hear "massively ginned up" -- especially in the context of calling the targeted reporter a "partisan hack" for ginning it up -- I tend to think that the author of those words is attempting to tell his readers that there is no real scandal there.

      Then we have the further context of the same author proclaiming there was no there there concerning the governor of Virginia. All he did was take a watch and several thousand dollars, resulting in multiple federal indictments. It is nothing compared to the pay of a certain targeted national TV hostess, who at last check wasn't under federal indictment.

      Yes, "massiviely ginned up" just like that "third-rate burglary" of decades ago. "One year of Watergate is enough," the targeted pol said in his State of the Union address.

      Then we have the further context of the author of those words repeatedly comparing this scandal to "massively ginned up" non-scandals of the past -- Whitewater, the War on Gore, Susan Rice and Benghazi.

      Now it is true that if high ranking members of the staff of the governor of Wyoming did this to the City of Casper, it likely would never rise to the level where our blogger could accuse the national press of inventing yet another "massively ginned up" controversy.

      But this scandal involves a man who has carefully cultivated an image that positions him as a leading candidate, if not the leading candidate, for his party's nomination for the presidency of the United States. By asking rude questions and peeling away the layers of that cultivated image, this candidate is revealed to be one of two things -- a ruthlessly ambitious pol whose only interest is himself and his political future, or a incompetent administrator who has no idea what his staff is doing, and continues to do, behind his back.

      One might expect that a blogger who once complained that the national press corps couldn't get beyond image and narrative (see: "straight-shooting maverick") would be cheering as the national media dig deeper to reveal the man behind the curtain woven of the fabric of a strong, no-nonsense leader who works across party lines for the good of the people he serves.

      But our blogger can't seem to get beyond the carefully constructed image, so he pretends that there are still two possibilities that will likely never be disproved to his satisfaction -- one that this was still an important traffic study, albeit poorly executed, seeking the answers to important questions in the only way he can imagine, by shutting down traffic lanes; or, it was a one-time lapse in the daily supervision of a rogue staff capable of doing very stupid things when the boss isn't looking.

      And thus, as long as those "possibilities" exist -- and they will apparently always exist as evidence mounts to the contrary, our blogger will continue to proclaim he was entirely correct to dismiss the whole thing as "massively ginned up."

  10. KZ has proven that progressive journalists are serving their constituents well. It ain't broke and it don't need fixin'. And if it was, the blighted and bearded bloggerz criticisms is being done the wrong way. He just says stuff over and over and his main points are wrong as has been proven.

  11. So Christie's lawyers are asking Dawn Zimmer for docs and information related to her allegation.

    My question is, why don't Christie's lawyers interview Kelly?

    They're willing to interview Zimmer, and Zimmer is involved with the fed investigation, so why the heck not interview Christie's former employee?

    It is amazing Christie continues to get a pass on this.

    1. How do you know they aren't in communication with Kelly?

    2. Comunicate with Kelly? I could be in communication with Bridget Kelly......but that would be wrong.

      Richard M. Christie (the 18 minute gap)

  12. Sorry Bob. A direct request would be, "will you endorse" etc.

    Until you can journalistically prove that the requests to Sokolich are incontrovertibly "direct", Sokolich can have it both ways.

    It is important to note the changing character of his statements, agreed, but that's not proof of a changing story.

    1. It is a material change to go from "I had a good relationship with the Port Authority, no one asked me to endorse Christie, I'm a Democrat anyway" to "The Port Authority gave me gifts to solicit my endorsement of Christie, which I would never have given because I'm a Democrat." This is a changing story in my book.

    2. Sure would be, if Sokolich actually said any of those things you put in quotes.

      But I understand that in Bob's World, we are free to make up anything we want once we have identified the "good guys" and the "bad guys."

      Pretty soon, we'd have Chris Christie himself finding about this in August and ordering both Kelly and Wildstein. But his wild, rogue political appointees did it anyway behind his back.

      And that will merely be a "detail" added to Christie's continuing saga of what he knew and when he stopped knowing it.

    3. If I were quoting I would have cited a source. The quote marks are to show that speaking is occurring, that a story is being told. How about responding to my point?

    4. "If I were quoting I would have cited a source" said Anony 3:54 defending his made up quotes at 2:55 in which he creats something then calls it material. Yes, Anony 3:54. It is material for fiction, which is why nobody need respond to it.

    5. If you choose not to believe Sokolich, fine But there is no proof. If Sokolich feels that being asked to think about endorsing isn't a direct request, then you're SOL.

    6. I have no reason to believe or disbelieve Sokolich. I believe you made up your quotes. I know you're FOS.

    7. As I explained, they weren't quotes. They were summaries of the original and changed stories.

    8. Yes. Horribly mangled summaries coming out just the way you imagine. And with quote marks around them.

  13. OMB (BOB (Pretty Much) Maintains His Memes... Part 2)

    And of course, as a commenter above notes, we have our meme which we will belabor at too great a length, and with the correction suggested by yet another comment.


    "Hustlers search every comma their target has emitted, praying to God that they will be able to locate a “change of story.”

    If the target says the exact same thing every time, he’s accused of being suspiciously scripted. If the target changes a single comma, he’s accused of changing his story." BOB 2/6/14

    For BOB to maintain the meme that the press is a tribal guild overlooking inconvenient but never proven/disproven "facts" while promoting things which fit the "favored" story, he employs a simple technique, He does the same thing but switches sides.

    In Bridgegate both Sokolich and Christie have said things which some say shows their story is changing.

    Sokolich is the target for BOB. Christie the good guy.

    Hustle # 1 Claim you are unbiased.

    BOB would have you believe he is open to all possibilities and simply patiently awaiting the facts. Therefore neither Christie or Sokolich comments can be taken without a grain of doubt.

    Here is how BOB shows his lack of bias:

    On Sokolich: "That doesn’t mean that his story is false. His recent statements may well be perfectly accurate." BOB 2/10

    On Christie: "The things he’s saying may not be true....What he’s saying may not be true.....It could all be untrue" BOB 2/6

    How do you read that? We read it implies Sokolich might not be lying. We read it implies Christie might not be telling the truth. He's subtle, our OTB.

    There are many examples of this presumption of guilt/innocence dichotomy throughout this coverage by BOB in treatment of target vs. good guy. But we take too much time we are told.

    Hustle # 2 It's Just About the Media:

    Every Headline Tells a Story Don't It

    On Christie:

    Maddow spots Christie changing his story!

    On Sokolich

    Sokolich (pretty much) changes his story!

    On Christie

    MSNBC stages its worst night ever!

    On Sokolich

    Mayor Sokolich seems to change his story!

    Not substative enough, for you?. Want the headlines depicting Christie as "Al and the Internet" or "Clinton and the Intern"

    Coming in Part 3: Mere additions versus torture

    You can torture the mayor’s statements to say that he hasn’t changed his story. But by the normal rules of the game, torture is what it would take.

    Hustle 2

    1. "He's subtle, our OTB."

      Wait, is this real or a parody? Are you nit picking to parody Bob or because you actually think you have a point?

      Oh, wait it doesn't matter because we all know punchline - Bob's a hypocrite!

      Second verse, same as the first.

    2. Glad to see you are still giving KZ the attention he craves 11:43

    3. "Maddow spots Christie changing his story!"

      "Sokolich (pretty much) changes his story!"

      Wow, KZ. Those headlines certainly do speak volumes, don't they?

      I am likewise reminded of the time Bob himself strongly reminded his readers that this blog was about journalists, not about politicians.

      Perhaps Bob should take a look in the mirror and ask the person looking back if his own biases towards his own chosen "targets" and "good guys" might be coloring his own work as well.

  14. OMB (BOB (Pretty Much) Maintains His Memes... Part 3a)


    Both Christie and Sokolich have made a number of statements around which questions and or charges ranging from changes to contradictions have been made. BOB showings things the media ignores and things the media distorts as they play favorites. Sokolich's statements all regard if he was asked to endorse Christie. Christies statements involve the timing of his knowledge and the actions he has taken.

    Hustle 3) Obivious "additions" versus "torturous" ommissions.

    On Sokolich

    "That said, the most striking part of this report is an apparent change in Mayor Sokolich’s account of one fundamental matter.....Has Mayor Sokolich changed his story? Right at the start of this morning’s report, he’s quoted saying that he was approached for an endorsement of Christie.....Unless the mayor is being misquoted, it sounds like he’s changing his story....This story may be completely accurate. But here’s what Sokolich said last Wednesday to Wolf Blitzer, right there on CNN....To us, it sounds like the mayor has changed his basic story. See if you agree.....To us, it sounds like the mayor is changing his story....Kleinfeld (NY Times reporter) opens this morning’s front-page report with this apparent new claim. But he never suggests, in any way, that Sokolich’s story has changed." BOB 1/13/14

    On Christie:

    "Concerning the alleged September/October contradiction, let’s make several points....In his statement on December 13, Christie said two key words: “I think." He didn't state with certainty that that was when he “first heard about the issue.”...According to Mann(WS Journal reporter), Christie said he learned of “the controversy” that day. In the actual quotation, Christie says he learned of “the issue” that day. The controversy—the issue—is not the same thing as the closings themselves. A person could know about the closings without knowing that there was a controversy or issue surrounding them... It's possible that Christie already knew about the closings, but learned of “the issue” that day." BOB 2/4/14


    (3b is on its way. Drip, drip)


    1. It is entirely possible that Christie learned about the "controversy" one day, then about the "issue" on another. We don't know. All the evidence is yet to be accounted for.

      Meanwhile, Bob rushes off to his chiropractor to fix his busted keister.

  15. OMB (BOB (Pretty Much) Maintains His Memes... Part 3b)


    On Sokolich

    "Mayor Sokolich has pretty much changed his story again. The mayor’s latest story may be perfectly accurate...Back in January, Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee, made a point of telling Wolf Blitzer that he had never been asked to endorse Governor Christie—or at least,it seemed that was what the mayor said....Unless we want to play verbal games, Sokolich seems to have changed his story since he made that apparent denial to Blitzer...This past weekend, the story seemed to change again. In the Bergen County Record.... Sokolich now seemed to say that he had been asked to endorse Christie “on at least three occasions:”

    You can torture the mayor’s statements to say that he hasn’t changed his story. But by the normal rules of the game, torture is what it would take. BOB 2/10/14

    On Christie

    Last night, Our Own Clownish Demagogue (MSNBC's Maddow) decided to hand us the piddle detailed below....Hustlers search every comma their target has emitted, praying to God that they will be able to locate a “change of story.”....Except it actually isn’t odd. It also isn’t a whole new story or a whole new explanation.....But his statement Monday night isn’t odd, and it isn’t a whole new story....On Monday night, Christie described this same process, adding a bit more detail. What he’s saying may not be true. But a person isn’t “changing his story” when he simply adds additional detail to a claim he has already made. It isn’t odd when that occurs. It isn’t a whole new story." BOB 2/6/14

    Earlier a commenter said we had some degree of style but no substance. BOB has style too. And gall.

    I won't dwell on the substance of what this shows. I will just chuckle and note how BOB emphasizes two words to try and defend Christie,
    "I think" and quickly disappears two words "I suppose" which were the first words Sokolich uttered in response to Blitzers question about whether Christies people expected him to endorse the Governor. You can turn Sokolich's statement "I don't recall a specific request but......" and disappear what followed into BOB's statement that he "had never been asked to endorse" and that it was an "apparent denial." But you have to play word games. Tortuous word games. And invent things most people don't see. Sort of like the collapse of intellectual culture.


  16. Third and fourth verse same as the first!

    Surprise! Bet no one saw that coming.

    The absurdity of the nit picking here is really just KZ upping his game. The awesomeness of parsing statements to death in the service of making his one true point is genius. I challenge anyone to tell if this is brilliant total parody or if some part of his many posts are serious. Has KZ gone full on Andy Kaufman?

    1. So which part of Bob's work in this series do you think is the most accurate?

    2. Anon 1:42

      Them wasn't my nits and they'us ripe for the picking.


    3. Anonymous 1:42

      You may have difficulty understanding Zarkonese.

      Perhaps if I translate KZ using corollaries of the rules Bob laid out in this post it would help you.

      "First rule: If the anointed “good guy” in some scandal seems to pretty much change his story, the press corps will struggle not to notice that fact."

      Zarkonese Corollary: When a blogger leaves out words and uses a paraphrase to make a good guy sound like he said something he did not, the media does not have to work at all to ignore your imaginary "major" change.

      "Second rule: The rules are completely different for one of the press corps’ targeted pols. In that case, journalists will break their backs to report that the target has changed his tale."

      Zarkonese corollary: The rules are the same for everyone who runs for President. Take care not to say something stupid. If a controversy develops, do not belittle it, prolong it, or make fun of the press in the process. If you are a blogger who doesn't understand this simple rule after 16 years, you shouldn't be allowed near a classroom of small children again and be wary of your own readers.

    4. Yeah, I get the game. Take whatever Bob accuses the press of doing and show how he does it. Every day. Regardless of what the subject of his post is. Got it. If you need to nit pick so much the better. It can just be parody.

      As for the "corollaries" - what blogger left out words to make a "good" guy sound like he said something he didn't? Only someone parsing the statements to death could suggest that conclusion. It's just not there.

      And, are you arguing that it's Christie's fault that the press is lazy and does bad work?

    5. Well, just to cite one example from KZ that you apparently read past, it is in this blogger's treatment of the words "I think" when they came out of the mouth of his anointed "good guy" and "I suppose" when they came out of his once Malala-like and now targeted pol.

      "I think" gives the good guy permission to add "additional details" in the future. "I suppose" forever locks the targeted pol into a story that forever must not change.

    6. No I read it and though it was a stupid point. Those two things aren't the same. They are only the same thing if you're playing the simple minded game KZ plays. "Bob says A about the press, Bob does A too". Woo hoo!

      Blitzer asks - "Did they really expect you to endorse"? Sokolich say I guess. Sokolich guesses at the Christie's team state of mind, which is what Blitzer explicitly asks about . He's not guessing at whether he was asked to endorse. Which is obvious if you speak english.

      Meanwhile he states that he doesn't remember being asked to endorse. Which is a huge deal, because the whole narrative of the scandal is that he rejected the endorsement request which prompted Christie's revenge. The story doesn't work unless there was a request and he rejected it. So changing from I don't remember a request, to I was contacted a number of times to endorse, is a really, really big deal. It is definitely not just "adding more detail".

      The point your seem to forget is that the entire press narrative depends upon this one fact that he keeps changing. Yet no one in the press seems to think it's a big deal. This is, obviously for anyone who can read, the TDH point.

      And, it takes a seriously narrow minded pendant to equate the points Bob makes about Sokolich and about Christie.

    7. Take it a few steps further 8:07. Anonymous 7:35 is saying the "I suppose" doesn't mean anything.

      That is the first thing said by Sokolich to Blitzer's question of whether the Christie people expected him to endorse. He could have said "I guess." He could have said "I don't know, I am not a mind reader."

      If you simply read, rather than parse, all three statements from Sokolich with the same generosity and attention to detail Somerby uses for Christie's press conference and radio interview statements, you come to the conclusion both men are just adding details.

      If you read both men's statements with the same skepticism Somerby applies to Sokolich, both are backtrackers.

      The question in my mind is, if it is wrong for the press to use a differing approach, why is is right for Somerby?

    8. And you have just illustrated how Bob's world works in much the same way as the world of those journalists he loathes with such dripping venom,

      When the chosen "good guy" doesn't remember, then later remembers, he is merely adding details.

      When the chosen "target" doesn't remember, then later remembers, he is changing his story.

      Of course, to Bob's ever-loyal Fan Club, it's only a sin when "target" journalists do it, never when the "good guy" blogger does it.

      And anyone who says otherwise is "a seriously narrow minded pendant." Along with "troll" and other such easy playground epithets.

    9. "If you simply read, rather than parse, all three statements from Sokolich with the same generosity and attention to detail Somerby uses for Christie's press conference and radio interview statements, you come to the conclusion both men are just adding details.

      "If you read both men's statements with the same skepticism Somerby applies to Sokolich, both are backtrackers."

      Exactly and well said, 10:00, although I suspect the Bob Fan Club will point out how narrow minded you are to be open to only two "possibilities."

    10. I was writing while 7:35 was updating. I am glad he/she recognizes that Blitzer's question implied the ability to read minds.

      The fact that Sokolich at first stated he doesn't remember a "specific request" to endorse isn't all that inconsistent with him adding details later about what Christie operatives did. We know Blitzer did not ask him a "specific question" about whether Christie's people asked him to endorse nor did he follow up Sokolich's answer. I don't remember if Somerby flailed Blitzer for this, as he has done the cable TV talkers over and over again for failure to ask questions he would have liked them to ask.

      We don't know fully what questions the print reporters asked him or what his full answers were. We only know what the reporters chose to write. Somerby often inserts "unless he was misquoted" when dealing with print media versions, which he is right to do. The fact that the print reporters keep going to Sokolich to clear up the obvious ambiguity of that CNN interview belies the charge they're not following up. The fact that some reporters went looking for a different motive based on changes they perceived in Sokolich's statement weakens Somerby's case.

      And you know which reporter was at the head of the pack in observing the same changes Somerby sees in Sokolich's statement? Rachel Maddow.

    11. The point you seem to forget is that the entire press narrative depends upon this one fact that he keeps changing. Yet no one in the press seems to think it's a big deal. This is, obviously for anyone who can read, the TDH point.

    12. I get it. If Sokolich keeps changing his story, that means this was a real Port Authority traffic study all along instead of "traffic problems" ordered from the governor's office.


    13. Ok, I hope your not 10:20 cause that was a great answer. I'd be disappointed if he/she then went with stupid sarcasm.

      Sorry 10:20 I posted right when you did. Good points all. I agree that following up with Sokolich suggests reporters following their nose. Which is great. But, as Bob points out, that never really affected the established narrative. No reporters/pundits made a fuss about it publicly.

      Except, I guess, Maddow. Though I'm kind of taking your word for it. Is there a show or week of shows I should look at to watch her do that?

    14. "And you know which reporter was at the head of the pack in observing the same changes Somerby sees in Sokolich's statement? Rachel Maddow."

      Yes, that's called consistency in applying the same standards to one pol that one applies to the other.

      And it stands in sharp contrast to engaged in keister-busting to demonstrate that the first changed story was actually "adding details" while rushing to proclaim "changed story" in regards to another pol.

      And I must offer one note: Even ahead of Maddow was Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo, who was the first noted that Sokolich's story had changed. And ahead of that pack was the Bergen County Record that published the first story change last Friday, duly noting this was a differing account.

      But sadly, some sort of personal spat erupted years ago between Marshall and Somerby, who at one time linked back and forth to each other's pioneering work. And both have been disappeared from the other's Web sites.

    15. "The entire press narrative depends upon this one fact that he keeps changing."

      Perhaps I am inobservant. I actually see two facts that come before the one you claim exists.

      1) Christie appointees at the Port Authority shut down traffic lanes and gridlocked a town for four days and wanted it to last longer.

      2) Christie appointees at the Port Authority lied about
      it, and when asked about it, Christie told jokes, praised or excused the perpetrators, and made statements which later proved untrue.

      "No one in the press seems to think it's a big deal."
      No one except Rachel Maddow, Talking Points Memo, and the reporters who went and asked Sokolich additional questions Blitzer did not ask.. Somerby devoted a whole post to Maddow's new motive theory which resulted from her seeing the same big changes you and Somerby claim to see in Sokolich's follow up interviews with the "lazy" press.

      By the way, isn't the reason people outside Ft. Lee know about 1) and 2) above because the lazy press asked questions?

    16. "....the entire press narrative depends upon this one fact..."

      No it doesn't. Wherever did you get such a silly idea?

      We're going on 5 months now with a lot of people trying to get an answer about why this was done and who approved it. Wildstein and Baroni tried to get away with their little dog and pony show about the fake study, but once Bridget Kelly's email came out they knew the jig was up. She was gone within 24 hours, everybody is lawyered up and nobody is talking. Dozens and dozens of subpoenas have been issued. People are pleading the 5th and are on the verge of being held in contempt for not producing documents. Fat fuck governor Christie in a move of pure gargantuan chutzpa is now trying to pretend he's running the investigation.

      The non-endorsement was just one guess about a possible motive.

  17. "Are you arguing that it's Christie's fault that the press is lazy and does bad work?"

    No. Are you arguing that it's the fault of Christie or Sokolich that 66% of the traffic lanes for a town were shut down. Are you arguing that the answers from both the Port Authority and Christie in the days and months ahead did not turn out to be false? Are you arguing these two facts are of equal improtanance to whether Sokolich gave a crisp answer to a crisp question?

    1. 1)No.

      2)Yes some answers were false. Some were not. Some are vague and obvious obfuscation but not false.

      3)Yes - in the context of the established press narrative that the closing were revenge for a non edorsement - I am arguing that Sokolich story about whether or not he was asked to endorse is a huge deal.

    2. "the established press narrative that the closing were revenge for a non edorsement"

      Except for the inconvenient truth that this is NOT the "established press narrative". It is only established in the minds of those who think they can argue against it.

      "Revenge for non-endorsement" was one of several possible motives floated by the pundit types, while dutifully acknowledging that more questions need to be asked, more probing needs to be done, and more evidence needs to be revealed before we can pin down the actual motive.

      We have also heard the "billion dollar development" theory which Bob at one time at least lauded. Then we heard the "real target was the state senator who stiffed Christie's judicial nominee" which Bob instantly derided as soon as it came out of the mouth of Rachel Maddow (coincidence?).

      The media says it could be all of the above, or none of the above, and we won't get to the answers if we simply take "well, it still could have been a traffic study" when, regardless of motive, it certainly was not.

      Bridget Kelly: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

      David Wildstein: "Got it."

    3. Well we differ.

      1) I would argue the fact that the signal to shut down the traffic lanes came from Christie's staff to the Christie political appointee who ordered the shutdown pretty much puts the blame in Christie's lap. His people, his problem. Motive is immaterial.

      2) I would argue that the press statement put out by the Port Authority immediately after the shutdown, under Bill Baroni's direction, that the shutdown was for a study of "traffic safety patterns" was a total falsehood that even Baroni had to change as a cover story by the time he got before the Legislature. Christie's statement that he moved the cones was meant to be false and a joke. His statement his own office was uninvolved wasn't so intended but may turn out to be the biggest joke he ever played, on himself.

      3) I would argue that 1 and 2 are more important than Sokolich's answers even in your "context of the established press narrative" because without them there would be no press coverage much less a narrative.