New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is hitting back at The New York Times for its “sloppy” and “misleading” reporting on the George Washington Bridge lane-closing controversy, according to a memo from his office obtained first by The Daily Caller.
In a document being circulated to friends and allies of Christie on Monday afternoon, the governor’s office takes issue with how The New York Times made a dramatic change to its initial report about new allegations lodged against Christie without explaining the correction.
An attorney for David Wildstein — the former Port Authority official who oversaw the closings and lost his job as a result — said in a letter released Friday that “evidence exists” that indicates Christie had knowledge of the closings of the lanes. Christie has denied this.
But in its initial report breaking the news, The New York Times hyped the story, incorrectly saying Wildstein “had the evidence to prove” that Christie had direct knowledge of the closings. The paper later removed that line, as the letter never explicitly said Wildstein had evidence to back up his allegation.
In a graphic called, “The New York Times (depending on the time),” Christie’s office notes how The New York Times story changed over the course of Friday afternoon to walk back its reporting.
The document being circulated by Team Christie includes quotes from New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, who wrote Monday about the controversial change and said her paper was wrong not to note it. “My take: This change was more than a nuance… Some sort of notice was due to the reader that the initial story had changed in a substantial way.”
The Christie memo also includes a clip of New York Times reporter Kate Zernike — the journalist who wrote the story — acknowledging during an appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday that the paper could have been “more clear” in its initial report.
“Could we have made this more clearer? Yes. Did we make it more clearer? Yes,” Zernike said.
The reporter added: “Ideally it would be more perfect but look, this is, you know, it was up for about 20 minutes, we went back, we revised.”
Read the document from Christie’s office: