First, a quick reference to a post in Commentary today, in which a reporter inserts his own biases into a "news" story about Mitt Romney's trip to Israel:
...the crux of the problem for Wilson is identified in the headline: he calls Romney’s comments about Palestinian culture “puzzling.” Because he does not quote anyone in the story calling those comments “puzzling,” it’s clear from the context that Wilson is the puzzled one.
A tried and true media trick: When a representative of a news outlet doesn't agree with a certain position, he will couch his partisanship in phrases such as "people are saying", or "but many people seem to believe the exact opposite". In those cases, the "people" being referenced are merely the reporter himself and his cronies in the lunchroom, and have no connection to real-world, real-life folks whatsoever.
But getting back to the tale in the title of our post...a "puzzled" reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer, unable to fathom how "people" can see Chris Christie as a "bully" yet still give him massive approval ratings, reaches out to a pollster to explain the discrepancy.
And to his credit, Matt Katz tells it as it is:
Mainstream media likewise recoil at the personality - although not necessarily the policies - of Chris Christie. Inquirer opinion writers have often pointed out his proclivity to pounce on opponents, while a Courier-Post editorial this month said the governor "represents our state just as poorly as the buffoons on the trashy reality TV shows filmed in the Garden State."
Opined Tom Moran, veteran Star-Ledger columnist: "He is not, by any stretch, a nice guy."
The people of the state don't necessarily disagree....And yet: This supposedly abhorrent creature remains uber-popular. His approval ratings in the state have exceeded 50 percent for a year, with 60 percent of independents approving of the job he's doing. He is already in second place in polls for the Republican Iowa presidential caucuses . . . in 2016.
How is that possible? How can voters approve of a guy they also seem to think is kind of, you know, as Christie would say, a jerk?
"Part of the issue is, voters of New Jersey are probably a little more savvy than reporters," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
"Even if New Jerseyans don't agree with everything that he's done, there's at least a sense that he's trying to shake things up, and that's what he gets credit for," Murray said. "And his outbursts are just part and parcel of that."
It's also a Jersey thing, veteran politicos say.....
"There's a Jersey swagger - not just him, but all New Jerseyans," said Tom Wilson, the state Republican Party's former director. "We kind of have this, 'Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah? Well, $%&*&!' And I think there's a certain Jersey-guy attitude about the governor that people really connect with."
Wilson said some adjectives used to describe politicians - slick, packaged - don't apply.
"He is genuine, he is earnest, he is wear-it-on-your-sleeve, he gets angry, he gets emotional . . . They like the fact that he's a real guy."
Seems like Matt Katz has realized, finally, that "the people" in his newsroom and in his profession have very little in common with the larger majority of real people who live and work in the state of New Jersey.
Our intrepid Inquirer reporter isn't totally off the hook, however - he repeats every slam on Christie he can dig up, and opens the story quoting the nastiness of "the state's leading liberal blog" as if it is some type of authority on the governor (which also reveals a bit much about his own opinions get formed).
Still...it's a start. Mr. Katz now has a clue. Which puts him up on about 95% of his profession....
(Hat tip: MoreMonmouthMusings )