Last Friday, a Democrat-led investigation failed to find evidence linking Chris Christie to the 2013 traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge. After initially ignoring the report, ABC allowed 16 seconds on Friday's World News. Anchor David Muir briefly deemed this "welcome news" for the New Jersey Governor and possible 2016 contender. [MP3 audio here.]
On day one of the report, NBC offered 17 seconds and CBS managed 15 seconds on Christie's clearing. The grand total amounts to a scant 48 seconds. In comparison, the first day of the Bridgegate investigation back in January netted 34 and a half minutes, a 43-to-1 disparity. (In just two days, these same networks produced 88 minutes on Bridgegate.)
In the first 24 hours of coverage, from January 8 through January 9, 2014, NBC included six reports over 14 minutes and 14 seconds. CBS devoted five reports over 12 minutes and 27 seconds. ABC managed 4 stories over seven minutes and 47 seconds.
On January 9, Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos hyped the claims about the governor's role in a 2013 traffic jam: "Chris Christie in crisis. Calls at this hour for the feds to step in, investigate the explosive e-mails."
In contrast, Muir on Friday night offered no such hyperbolic language. He blandly noted:
DAVID MUIR: The report about the controversial closing of the George Washington bridge in January, finding, quote "no conclusive evidence " that Christie was aware of the plan blamed on two of his former aides.
NBC also used similar apocalyptic language for the original charges. The Today show in January grimly declared that "the crisis grows." CBS's Elaine Quijano saw it as "the biggest test yet of Christie's political career."