Will Christie’s “Bridgegate” Become Another Benghazigate?

January 13, 2014

The media are facing a quandary. After a long build-up of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as their favorite candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, they now are confronted with a scandal that could very possibly end his dream of a run for the White House. “Bridgegate,” as it is being dubbed, is drawing intense scrutiny from the media crowd that refuses to this day to acknowledge that the actions of the Obama administration—before, during and after—the attack on the Temporary Diplomatic Mission and CIA Annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, is a major scandal that would have brought down any Republican president by now.  

The next day or two may well determineif Christie can weather this storm. It looks like some of his top aides retaliated against the Democratic mayor of Ft. Lee, New Jersey, for not supporting Christie in the last election—by blocking lanes, and thus creating traffic jams, on the George Washington Bridge leading into and out of New York City. No one is denying it happened. The big questions are, what did Christie know, and when did he know it. If he knew, will his loyal aides be loyal enough to be thrown under the bus, without bringing him down with them?

The MSNBC gang is having a great time. They can now, more than usual, ignore Obamacare and Benghazi, and pound the hell out of Christie. Chris Hayes, a prime time host on MSNBC, spent the first 25 minutes of his show on Wednesday night, complete with dramatic music and images, even using the term “Nixonian,” dissecting every aspect of the Christie “scandal.” First the hanging, then the trial. That was followed by Hayes’ reported mentor and chief backer at the network, Rachel Maddow, who couldn’t have been more excited.  

By the way, comparisons to Nixon are back in vogue. Bob Woodward of The Washington Post used one on the Obamaadministration, and called Benghazi “a very serious issue.” And David Sanger of The New York Times told former executive editorof The Washington Post, Leonard Downie Jr., that “the Obama administration is the ‘most closed, control-freak administration’ he has ever covered.” Even ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton told Downie, “He’s the least transparent of the seven presidents I’ve covered in terms of how he does his daily business.”

But when it came to Benghazi, Hayes took his cue from the David Kirkpatrick story in The New York Times, and decided, again, that it was time to put that story to rest:

“The Benghazi scandal industry has ruined people’s lives,” Hayes concluded on his January 2 show. [We can all agree on that.] “It has wasted untold government resources and attention. It has led news agencies to chase themselves into ignominy. It has fed all kinds of ridiculous posturing and hysteria. It has led to confusion about the actual problems and solutions thereto. And now, finally, as we begin the new year of 2014, now, finally, it is time to say good-bye, RIP, Benghazi scandal. There is nothing left.”

Sorry, Chris. Not as long as we, the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, are here. We plan to get to the bottom of it, however deep that is; however long it takes.

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Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at roger.aronoff@aim.org.