Saturday, April 07, 2012

No Big Deal

Oddly enough, Chris Christie seems to "get it"- or, as they say in English, "understands it."

A few days ago, Carl Campanile of the New York Post wrote an article entitled "The whale at the wall" and subtitled "Christie weighs in at Israel holy site."      It seems the Governor, in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly to drum up business for New Jersey, made a "huge impression at Israel's western wall," where he" brought his political heft."

The post incurred deserved criticism, even from a political rival, Democratic State Senator Richard Codey, who described it as "way over the top."        Christie himself, however, took it in stride, remarking "It’s really just a distraction and it’s unfortunate that the Post decided that it wanted to go there,” Christie said. “In the end, I’ve told people many times, that kind of stuff really doesn’t bother me. If that’s the way they like to sell newspapers it’s up to them.”

It was well over the top, and it is the way Murdoch's New York Post likes to sell newspapers. It's how this Republican mouthpiece rolls, as when it printed a political cartoon (immediately below) in March, 2009 portraying President Obama as a rabid chimpanzee, then "apologized" by blaming "opportunists" for misinterpreting its intent and seeking "payback."

Christie's muted response suggests an understanding that the recent piece cannot hurt him politically.     There was no revelation- everyone knows, and Christie has acknowledged, that he is fat.      Not only would any reaction be a backlash which would aid the Governor, but the optics which accompanied the written material can only be helpful.      The Governor was pictured (below) apparently praying at the Wailing Wall, hardly a troublesome video in a state with a large number of Jews,almost as many who vote, and many of whom can afford to make a campaign contribution.

And photo ops rule, as Lesley Stahl discovered 28 years ago, as described by The Daily Howler's Bob Somerby:

Dick Darman clued in Lesley Stahl—it's all about the pictures. During the 1984 presidential campaign, Stahl aired a lengthy report on theCBS Evening News; it was broadly critical of President Reagan. In her recent book, Reporting Live, Stahl described her thoughts as the piece went to air:

STAHL (page 210): I knew the piece would have an impact, if only because it was so long: five minutes and 40 seconds, practically a documentary in Evening News terms. I worried that my sources at the White House would be angry enough to freeze me out.

But that isn't what happened, she says. When the piece aired, Darman called from the White House. "Way to go, kiddo," he said to Stahl. "What a great piece. We loved it." Stahl replied, "Didn't you hear what I said [in the broadcast]?" Darman's answer has been frequently quoted:

STAHL: [Darman replied,] "Nobody heard what you said."

Did I hear him right? "Come again?"
"You guys in Televisionland haven't figured it out, have you? When the pictures are powerful and emotional, they override if not completely drown out the sound. I mean it, Lesley. Nobody heard you."

Stahl's critical report about President Reagan had been accompanied by generally upbeat visuals. According to Darman's theory, the pictures registered more with viewers than anything Stahl had said.

So weep not for Chris Christie.       The New York Post mess is, at worst, a wash- and at best, a boon to the political fortunes of a truly terrible governor.

HAPPY PASSOVER                                                                    HAPPY EASTER

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