Chris Christie's absurd cable news blitz would be funny if it wasn't kinda sad
The very unpopular ex-governor of New Jersey appeared on CNN and MSNBC six separate times over a 24-hour period. What gives?
If an alien who knew nothing about our earthly realm of politics somehow started watching cable news this week, you could excuse them for believing that a former New Jersey governor who left office with the lowest approval rating in his state’s history is actually one of the most popular and influential politicians in the whole country.
That’s because CNN and MSNBC in recent days have been all Chris Christie, all the time — to the point where one is left wondering if he or his PR representatives have blackmail material on producers.
Following an interview published in the New York Times on Saturday, Christie has been doing a ridiculous number of TV hits. He’s appeared on two ABC shows (This Week and The View), Fox & Friends, Fox News, Fox Business, the Daily Show, and CNBC. He appeared on MSNBC three separate times during a 24-hour period stretching from Monday evening into Tuesday.
On Monday evening, CNN ran an hour-long, soft-focus special about Christie. (The scandal that tanked Christie’s standing in New Jersey, Bridgegate, wasn’t even mentioned.)
In addition to that special, CNN interviewed Christie for two different shows on Tuesday morning and Tuesday evening.
To give you a sense of how extreme this amount of coverage is, consider that in contrast to Christie’s never-ending string of TV hits, Beto O’Rourke has been interviewed once by CNN and once by MSNBC since he announced on Monday that he’s running for governor of Texas. So Christie has roughly received seven times more coverage than O’Rourke this week.
And why? It would be one thing if Christie were actually a star politician. But we’re talking about a guy who withdrew from the 2016 Republican presidential primary after terrible showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, then finished his tenure as governor of New Jersey with a 14 percent (!) approval rating. In recent years he’s been in the news for leading Trump’s debate prep before showings against Joe Biden that did not go well for Trump, and for getting a severe case of Covid at the White House superspreader event for Amy Coney Barrett.
But Christie now has a new book out and is teasing another presidential run while at least paying lip service to being a Republican with an independent streak. Cable news producers can’t get enough — even though there are plenty of more newsworthy topics they could be devoting attention to.
The thirst for Republicans who are critical of Trump is apparently very real. But an examination of what Christie is actually saying about the man he spent years staunchly supporting and working for reveals that it’s pretty thin gruel.