There's no doubt New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is having another terrible morning. Just hours after former Port Authority staffer David Wildstein alleged that the embattled governor knew of the George Washington Bridge lane closures as they were unfolding in real time, the development was front page news...again.
Pouring salt on the wound, MSNBC featured a segment this morning that cast new blame on Christie's handling and oversight of Hurricane Sandy federal relief money. Steve Kornacki pointed to the slow implementation of a law (signed in March 2013) requiring the use "integrity monitors" to make sure the aid money was properly allocated. Those monitors, according to New Jersey’s state Treasury Department, only started their work in January of this year, long after millions of dollars had been spent.
Despite all the bad and scintillating news, some media outlets poured a little cornstarch on their headlines about yesterday's bombshell Christie development. First, it still seems fair to say that much uncertainty remained about the latest revelation anyway.
The letter from David Wildstein's lawyer is oddly worded; I suspect the "evidence" will be maddeningly ambiguous: http://t.co/cqmOkjT0oZ— David Lat (@DavidLat) January 31, 2014
Nuance on the page, however, was harder to come by. Among the tamer offerings was Jonathan Chait's "Six Reasons Chris Christie Is Probably Guilty." Then, the tempering began.
Byron York—who unironically titled his book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy—called out the Times for altering its headline:
So now NYT headline is 'Christie Linked to Knowledge of Shut Lanes.' Suitably vague, given Wildstein letter. http://t.co/LiAgF7T2pM— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 1, 2014
Such revisions weren't strictly limited to left-seeming media outlets:
Drudge adds question mark to his "He Knew" headline on Christie pic.twitter.com/zk8Uryb5mg— Toby Harnden (@tobyharnden) February 1, 2014
It seems we're still destined for the equivocal "if he knew" line to carry through the weekend. If Christie knew, as Philip Bump pointed out, countless pundits tweeted: he's toast. If Christie knew, the New Jersey Star-Ledger said he should resign or be impeached. In other words, this story isn't going anywhere.