TheStateNJ.com once said that The Asbury Park Press editorial policy was influenced by this blog. If that was ever true, those days are over.
The paper which could once be counted on to accurately report day old news has lost its way.
The front page today is dominated by a "report" by failed restaurant reviewer Andrea Clurfeld under the headline "NJEA showdown backfires on gov". Like Clurfeld's restaurant reviews of old, the article is more of reflection of her biases and mood swings than it is of reality.
I can only imagine what Clurfeld did to get tenure at Gannett. Management really has to find something else for her to do. I'd suggest covering Little League games but someone would accuse me of advocating child abuse. Maybe spell checking on the 4 pages of classifieds would keep her out of trouble.
Clurfeld's article is about a Monmouth Unversity poll that by my analysis shows that New Jersey voters think more of Governor Christie's handling of the state than they thought of former Governor Corzine at a similar time in his term. The poll, which has a +/- 3.5% margin of error indicates that voters are pretty much evenly divided with the approval of Christie, as 42% approve and 44% disapprove.
Maybe Clurfeld couldn't actually read or understand the questions and the numbers of the Monmouth/Gannett poll and got thrown off by the formerly reliable Patrick Murray's anti-Christie spin of his own work. You can read Murray's slanted spin and his data here.
Asbury Park Press Graphic
Clurfeld and Murray's spin of the numbers have little relationship to the numbers as graphed by the APP. 22% of those questions said they were satisfied with Christie's budget. 31% said they could live with it. From my point of view that's 53% favorable, not a backfiring showdown with the NJEA.
But what about the 45% dissatisfied? How many of those responders think Christie is doing a great job but are not satified with the level of cuts? Had I been questioned I would have answered that I am not satisfied. We're not cutting enough to my liking, but I believe Christie is doing an amazing job in the current political environment and given the history. The types of changes required do not happen quickly. I have two minds about hearing Christie saying, "there doesn't have to be job losses if the NJEA agrees to a pay freeze and contributes 1.5% of their health care premiums." Politically I think it is brilliant. From a policy perspective I am glad the the teachers unions are not taking the bait and that there will be structural cuts. We will find that we can get by with a lot less people which hopefully will lead to lasting change, not temporary change as Christie's "out" implies is possible.
On a day that Christie had the left leaning commentators on MSNBC and CNBC eating out of his hand, it is a shame that Monmouth and Ocean County readers of the APP are subject to such distorted dribble as Clurfeld's spin of Murray's spin.
On a day when the Wall Street Journal is comparing Christie to President Reagan it is a shame that the APP, which sometimes does great work, like their TAX CRUSH series, their Fort Monmouth Series and even their Club Monmouth Series, is self destructing before our eyes.
Maybe that is why traffic here keeps growing. At least we're honest about our biases here.