Over the weekend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was interviewed by New York City-based radio station WNYC. In the interview, the governor touched on a number of topics, including his support for a pension deal that would ask teachers and other public servants to pay more than millionaires were asked to pay (after Christie vetoed a millionaire’s tax last year).
At one point in the interview, Christie was asked about the state Assembly rejecting his effort to sell off the state’s public broadcaster NJN (ironically to another public media outlet based in New York). The governor said he believes “state-owned operation of media ended with the Soviet union” and that New Jersey shouldn’t support public television:
INTERVIEWER: You had a big win yesterday [Thursday]. But you did have one setback. The Assembly rejected your proposal to have WNET Channel 13 takeover the state’s public broadcaster NJN. Critics of the deal say they are concerned WNET won’t deliver the quality news product Michael Aron with NJN has been putting out. What’s at stake with this deal?
CHRISTIE: What’s at stake is, I really believed that the state-owned operation of media ended with the Soviet Union, and I don’t think we should be in the television business. I think its an inherent conflict of interest for us to be in the television business and for reporters to be state employees and I also think that the expense at this time is not justified into the budget.
Yet at a different point in the interview, Christie defended the state’s $400 million bailout of a giant corporate mall boondoggle, saying the state has to be a partner and that it’s a “great idea”:
INTERVIEWER: As Governor your tool box for fixing the macro economy that’s so tied into national and global trends is limited. But who have put a lot of chips on the table with your plan to provide $200 million in economic aid to the Triple 5 Company that runs the Mall of America to re-brand the stalled Xanadu project in the Meadowlands. That’s up for a vote Monday. What is that $200 million…I don’t want to say government giveaway but how would describe it for voters?
CHRISTIE: Listen, what we’re trying to do is provide incentives for places like the American Dream at the Meadowlands to be built, and in these difficult economic times, the state is going to become a partner, a small partner in the project, but a partner none-the less, and we’re going to get our money back once the project is successful. So I think this is a great idea for New Jersey.
The interview says a lot about Christie’s priorities. He appears to be fine with cutting back on education and social spending out of supposed concerns for cost and is willing to deride public media as a relic of the Soviet Union, but does not seem to have the same qualms about subsidizing a giant corporate mall.