If you don’t follow US politics, you may have missed the unfolding scandal in New Jersey, and its implications on US national politics.
This post is not going to look at the actual scandal (it involved a bridge, traffic jams and the New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was likely to be front-runner for the Republicans in the 2016 presidential elections). Background on the scandal can be found here CNN (Chris Christie bridge scandal: a primer). This post is more about how it went from a minor traffic issue to a major national story.
“Traffic jams are not news,” Rachel Maddow said. “Traffic jams caused by poorly organised ‘traffic studies’ are not even really big news stories. But if the state of New Jersey is being run in such a way that control of interstate assets is being manipulated on purpose to punish specific towns and even specific individuals for political reasons, then that really is news.”
Shawn Boburg, a traffic reporter for the Bergen Record, did what many in the Australian media are unwilling or unable to do. He asked questions.
The reporter for one local paper, realised he was not being given the full story when the traffic delays did not follow the usual procedure for traffic delays. However, instead of accepting the official explanation of “research”, he kept asking questions. Boburg kept researching, sought out as much information available to the public, and he did not stop asking questions.
If only the Canberra Press Gallery had have done the same thing before the 2013 election. If only the Canberra Press Gallery would do the same thing now. Instead, the established media in this country behave as if they are players on the political scene, as if they are working for a political party. Truth, objectivity, democracy are a stepping stone to their careers.
That many in the Australian media are too ready and willing to reprint or repeat PR for one political party without questions, research, alternative view points, both sides, without going deeper into a story beyond “Tony Abbott says…” shows why alternative media, bloggers, citizen journalists, independent media is more important than ever.
* full episodes of The Rachel Maddow Show are available for free download on itunes
Inclusion of this post on this site does not signify an endorsement by any of the other contributors to this site, not does it signify an endorsement of their posts by this author. Nor does this post indicate an endorsement by Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show, Chris Christie, the state of New Jersey, the Bergen Record or Shawn Boburg