ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday used Chris Christie's presidential announcement as an opportunity to remind viewers just how unpopular the Republican looks. Yet, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos and guest Matt Dowd ignored the fact that Christie was ultimately cleared for Bridgegate, the main reason for his faltering polling. CBS and NBC mentioned the scandal, but not the clearing of the governor.
Stephanopoulos lamented, "Boy, if this had been two years ago he would have been at the top of the field but starts according to our polling underwater." Dowd hypothesized, "My guess is what he's thinking it's going to be a game of Survivor which is he's the last person standing in the race after everybody else falls away."
An analysis by the Media Research Center found that in the first 48 hours of Bridgegate, the networks generated a staggering 88 minutes of coverage. However,
While the broadcast networks trumpeted Bridgegate in January, they offered a mere 48 seconds of coverage in December to the news that a Democratic-led investigation had failed to find evidence conclusively linking Governor Christie to the 2013 traffic jam: 15 seconds on CBS, 16 seconds on ABC and 17 seconds on NBC.
On CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes insisted Christie "has got a lot of ground to make up and that he has tumbled over the past year or so from big dog to underdog." Cordes summerized:
NANCY CORDES: But his approval ratings here have sunk to the 30s thanks to New Jersey's relatively high unemployment, credit downgrades and the Bridgegate scandal, where top aides were accused of conspiring to snarl traffic to punish a local mayor.
On NBC's Today, Kelly O'Donnell said of Christie: "He has suffered poll ratings that have tumbled in the wake of the bridge lane closure scandal."
Again, both networks skipped the inconvenient failure to connect Christie to the crime.
A transcript of the June 30 GMA segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: He [Trump] is though, part of a huge field of presidential hopefuls about to get even bigger. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie expected to officially launch his campaign today, bringing the number of Republican candidates to 14 so far. Four Democrats running too and we're joined by our political analyst Matthew Dowd to break it all down. Let's start with Donald Trump. Are we still at the point where all publicity is good for him?
MATT DOWD: Well, I say to Donald welcome to the show, because running for president is a lot different than real estate and reality TV, and watching Donald Trump reminds me a little of the Disney movie Inside Out, where we're hearing out loud and in realtime all the voices in his head and it's not necessarily a good thing when you're running for president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not necessarily. But right now, according to some polls, he's second in New Hampshire, though. Meanwhile, Chris Christie entering the race. Boy, if this had been two years ago he would have been at the top of the field but starts according to our polling underwater.
DOWD: Yeah. He's in a really difficult spot because now he's no longer just the one that tells it like it is. There are other candidates, Ted Cruz, even Donald Trump, that are, sort of, the authentic tell-it-like-it-is candidate. He's not the only governor. There's multiple governors. My guess is what he's thinking it's going to be a game of Survivor which is he's the last person standing in the race after everybody else falls away.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's one of the things you're see right now and talked about this field getting so big. No one deterred. No possible candidate deterred from getting in the race right now.
DOWD: No and I think there's three reasons why this field is so huge. First, this is probably the greatest opportunity in 27 years for a Republican -- new Republican to get elected president. It's also -- there's no dominant candidate. Everybody thought --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not Jeb Bush.
DOWD: Everybody thought it was going to be Jeb Bush but he's not dominating the field. And, three, there are four parts of the Republican Party, libertarian, the Tea Party, the establishment the social conservatives and nobody has bound them together, which is the reason why we're in this situation with this many candidates.