Those who follow New Jersey news closely know that the relationship between Governor Chris Christie and the newspapers has been strained recently. In addition to the constant attacks on him for BridgeGate, he has been the fodder of laughs concerning his relationship with president-elect Trump. This week Governor Christie has done what can only be surmised as an act of revenge on the newspapers, fast tracking a bill to lessen their revenue and give it to the municipalities instead.
Turning the Tables on the Newspapers
This has not been a particularly good year for the Governor of New Jersey. Chris Christie recently saw his approval rating in the state drop to an all-time low, thanks in part to the never-ending barrage of bad publicity he receives in the press. Chris Christie, not one to take things lying down, decided to buck tradition and put a bill on the table that will allow municipalities to post legal notices on their websites rather than having to follow the law and place them in the newspapers where the public can read them. If passed, the loss in revenue to the newspapers in the state would be crippling because almost ten percent of their revenues come from those legal notices placed on a daily basis.
Making a Bold Move for Change
With so many pressing issues affecting the state of New Jersey, one would argue that the Governor should be focusing his efforts on things that would improve the lives of the residents. Instead, many are calling his actions to push through this bill as nothing more than an act of vengeance against the newspapers he feels have cat him in the worst possible light this year. If passed, the newspaper industry in the state could be on life support as staff will need to be trimmed in order to stay in business with the reduced revenues.
With up to 300 journalists losing their jobs if the bill is passed, the New Jersey Star-Ledger says that this is nothing more than a true threat to free press. Those in the press feel Christie is determined to rid the state of hundreds of watchdogs that were keeping close eyes on his actions, and now giving the worst politicians a new way to fight those they oppose.