The response of a reporter following up on a tip that his editor spent too much time in traffic? No, this reply came from David Wildstein, the Chris Christie Port Authority appointee who took the fifth when called before a committee investigating the politics behind the September closure of the George Washington Bridge. That same New Jersey Assembly committee released a cache of documents on the case Friday afternoon, including gems like this from Wildstein’s correspondence:
By the way, Mann and his editors say they don’t know where that claim about his request being based on editors stuck in traffic came from:
Update: The exhibits, which include numerous press requests and stonewalling of same, should be required reading in J school. The local press responded quickly with The Record’s Road Warrior columnist, John Chichowski, reaching out to the Port Authority on Sept. 12.
His piece the next morning led to the quick reversal of the ‘test’ causing the delays. Mann and others followed up, persisting for months, with FOIA requests that were ignored or pushed off, repeated queries from a variety of angles, and efforts to go directly to sources when the official spokesman blew them off.
The documents are worth reading for another reason: as a primer in bureaucracy and government.
Last November, I laughed with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as he joined in the joke during a Jimmy Fallon thank-you note for his reelection. The images of Christie making fun of himself there and, earlier that year, with David Letterman drowned out less pleasant memories.
Then it showed up on the Best of Jimmy Fallon special after weeks of reports about Christie’s bullying. Instead of laughing at what initially looked like an amusing nod to a personality quirk, I cringed as Christie shoved Fallon out of the way. Until then, Christie’s bullying was all about scathing comments.
When the correspondence was published this week linking Christie’s staff and appointees to the chaos-causing shutdown of the Fort Lee lanes to the George Washington Bridge, I didn’t see Christie in his Sandy blue fleece, tearing up at idol Bruce Springsteen or laughing at fat jokes. I saw this.