COMMENTS: Chris Christie in the Spotlight

Add together the various strands from New York City and New Jersey and Virginia and elsewhere and the off-year elections were the Story of the Day. CBS led with its political director John Dickerson and his study of the exit polls. Unaggregated, the individual story that received most attention was not electoral but athletic: all three newscasts covered the investigation into the toxic atmosphere inside the Miami Dolphins' lockerroom and ABC picked it as its lead. NBC decided to kick off from the Supreme Court with a First Amendment case that neither of the other two newscasts deemed worthy of even a mention: Pete Williams brought us an atheist and a Jewess from the upstate village of Greece NY who object to the invocation of town board meetings with a Christian clergyman's prayer.

Governor Chris Christie, the incumbent Republican who was re-elected in a landslide in New Jersey, has apparently mastered the trick of getting himself covered on the national newscasts. He ostentatiously called on an out-of-town reporter to ask the first question at his news conference, NBC's Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell. Lo and behold! O'Donnell included her questions and Christie's answers in her package.

Besides Dickerson, CBS' in-house expert, ABC also called on homegrown expertise, This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos touted Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign ad in New York City as the most effective he had ever seen and promised to show it -- but embarrassingly failed to deliver. NBC had Kate Snow with its election night round-up and had O'Donnell include MSNBC's in-house analyst Steve Schmidt for a soundbite -- but failed to identify him as such.

No, NBC News, you should not do that. If you are using a soundbite from an expert on your payroll you must identify him as such: Steve Schmidt here, Harold Ford here, Mark Halperin here.


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