The Story Behind the Story

OK, one of the inevitable cliches of modern Presidential campaign coverage is the veepstakes, followed by the post mortem of this decisions.

Well, this article has a deeply interesting back-story:

Gov. Chris Christie wasn’t willing to give up the New Jersey statehouse to be Mitt Romney’s running mate because he doubted they’d win, The Post has learned.

Romney’s top aides had demanded Christie step down as the state’s chief executive because if he didn’t, strict pay-to-play laws would have restricted the nation’s largest banks from donating to the campaign — since those banks do business with New Jersey.

But Christie adamantly refused to sacrifice his post, believing that being Romney’s running mate wasn’t worth the gamble.

“[Christie] felt, at one point, that [President] Obama could lose this. And, look, there still is that chance. But he knows, right now, you have to say it’s unlikely,” one source said.

The tough-talking governor believed Romney severely damaged his campaign by releasing only limited tax returns and committing several gaffes during his international tour in July.

Certain Romney was doomed, Christie stuck to his guns — even as some of his own aides pushed him to run, another source said.

OK, why is this story different from all the other useless veepstake gossip?

It isn’t the pay to play rules, which are straightforward: If a governor is running, the big banks pretty would have to choose between contributing to Mitt, or doing pension business with New Jersey.

The big story is that this article was published in the The New York Post.

That’s right, it was published in Rupert Murdoch’s house organ (there is the Wall Street Journal, but they have to preserve the illusion of credibility in non-business news).

I’ve racked my brain, and I can come up with only two reasons for Murdoch allowing a story like this to be published:

  • He is convinced that Romney is going to lose.
  • He has Barack Obama’s genitals in his back pocket.

It could be both.

Basically, when you look at Murdoch’s media empire, much of it depends on regulatory arbitrage, allowing him to form defacto monopolies, and skirt media cross ownership rules.

It’s why his continued ownership of dead tree newspapers make sense:  To a much greater degree than the broadcast medium, they can engage in long form journalism that sets the tone for a campaign, and so politicians curry favor with him.

The papers may not generate profits, but they allow him to curry favor with politicians and regulators, which in turn make the size and scope of his broadcast and satellite operations possible.

H/t Cthulhu at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

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