In fairness, it's for a good cause: Kate Zernike covered "Bridgegate" for the New York Times.
Rather, she pretended to do so.
This morning, Zernike penned a report about the way Donald J. Trump has let Chris Christie twist in the wind since Election Day. She offered various theories as to why this has occurred.
Displaying the newspaper's famous Dowdism, she said Christie's leave-taking from Trump this weekend involved "a 10-second handshake that looked almost like a tug of war."
Please note. It looked almost like a tug-of-war, not exactly like one.
In this morning's report, readers got to enjoy their favorite "Oreos" jibe again. They got to hear, for the second time, that Christie "voted in the dark" on Election Day.
Right at the start of her report, Zernike suggested that Christie is being punished for having said, on Charlie Rose, that he wasn't involved in the Bridgegate misconduct. Eventually, she made the highlighted statement shown below.
We'll focus on one key word:
ZERNIKE (11/22/16): Mr. Christie publicly said he hoped to be Mr. Trump’s vice-presidential nominee. And he was said to be bitterly disappointed when Mr. Trump’s children and campaign manager prevailed on the candidate to instead choose Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana.Good lord! Were there really "revelations" on the stand that Christie knew about the lane closings "even as they were happening?"
Mr. Trump made Mr. Christie chief of the transition. But the governor was still struggling with the scandal, after revelations on the stand that he had known about the lane closings even as they were happening and did nothing to reverse them.
On Election Day, Mr. Christie voted in the dark of early morning, a contrast to earlier years when he invited cameras and reporters along by indicating on his public schedule what time he would go to the polls.
Actually, no—there were not. And as Zernike knows, but assumes you don't, that isn't really the issue.
Let's start at the beginning. Were their "revelations" during the trial that Christie "had known about the lane closings even as they were happening?"
Actually, no—there were not. David Wildstein, confessed mastermind of the plot, certainly made that allegation. And as you may know, allegation counts as revelation when a targeted figure gets accused—or at least, that's the rule of thumb at the New York Times.
Wildstein testified that he told Christie about the lane closings on September 11, the third day of the closings. He said that he and Christie and Bill Baroni stood around laughing about it.
Baroni, who was on trial, testified differently. Zernike was suitably fuzzy in her own report that day. But here's the report by Paul Berger for the Bergen County Record:
BERGER (10/18/16): Baroni also contradicted a claim by Wildstein that Christie, Wildstein and Baroni had laughed about the traffic problems when they attended a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the World Trade Center site that was held at the time of the lane reductions.Baroni said they discussed the lane closings that day. But he said there was no suggestion that the lane closings were being done for political reasons. Absent some such confession about the motive behind the closings, there would have been no reason for Christie to "reverse them."
The three discussed the closures, Baroni said, but only in relation to what Wildstein described as a traffic study.
"Was there any mention of political retribution?" asked Jennifer Mara, Baroni's defense attorney.
"No," Baroni replied.
"Was there any mention of punishment?"
"Was there any mention of political endorsements?"
Showing a photo of the three men laughing on Sept. 11, Mara asked, "Are you laughing about the Fort Lee lanes?"
"Absolutely not," Baroni replied.
Zernike understands that part of the story. She's assuming her readers don't.
There's no way to know who was telling the truth—Wildstein or Baroni. There's no way to know if either man was telling the truth. Each fellow had reason to lie. Either one may have been telling the truth, though even Wildstein didn't assert that he told Christie about the political motive.
(Christie says he doesn't remember the lane closings being mentioned that day.)
For that reason, there's no "revelation" here, unless you work for the Times. That said, Zernike has had her thumb on the scale for several years concerning the Bridgegate matter.
(In fairness, Zernike's work starts seeming good when Maddow starts telling the story.)
The New York Times is routinely a mess. The newspaper helped invent fake news. It plans to go down with its ship.