On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice told NBC News that Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) was innocent of any wrong-doing relating to the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge.
Despite Governor Christie’s reported innocence, ABC and CBS have yet to cover the NBC story, but when the story originally broke in January, all three networks eagerly jumped on it. So far NBC has devoted only two news briefs on its Thursday night and Friday morning broadcasts totaling 59 seconds.
Following Brian Williams’ 38 second brief on Thursday night’s Nightly News, on Friday morning’s Today co-host Natalie Morales offered a scant 21 second news brief on Christie’s innocence:
The U.S. Justice Department says it has found no evidence that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie knew in advance about last year’s lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Still, federal officials say no final determination has been made. The closures where several entrance lanes to the bridge were shut down caused a traffic nightmare for commuters became known as Bridgegate.
A report on the NBC 4 News website noted that the investigation is still “ongoing” but determined that “authorities have uncovered no information Christie either knew in advance or ordered the closure of traffic lanes.”
While ABC and CBS could be holding out to report on Christie’s innocence until the investigation officially ends, they showed no such hesitation in January when the scandal first broke. The “big three” networks gave the story 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage in the first day after the story broke on January 9.
In total, NBC provided six reports over 14 minutes and 14 seconds to the Christie scandal on the first day. ABC gave the Christie story seven minutes and 47 seconds over 4 stories and CBS devoted five reports over 12 minutes and 27 seconds in the first day of the Bridgegate scandal.
NBC’s Today gave a mere 21 seconds to Christie on Friday morning but they spent more than 5 minutes discussing the release of the new iPhone and even sent co-host Carson Daly to the New York City Apple Store to talk to customers waiting in line to purchase the phone. Instead of covering Christie, ABC’s Good Morning America spent 3 minutes hyping the new iPhone and CBS This Morning spent 3 minutes discussing whether it was too early for retail stories to be running Christmas ads.
See relevant transcript below.
September 19, 2014
NATALIE MORALES: The U.S. Justice Department says it has found no evidence that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie knew in advance about last year’s lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Still, federal officials say no final determination has been made. The closures where several entrance lanes to the bridge were shut down caused a traffic nightmare for commuters became known as Bridgegate.