Did Christie vindictively shut down a NJ TV station?

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

In light of the traffic jam scandal swirling New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York magazine revisits the time he “shut down” a public TV station in his state:

In August 2009, Zack Fink, … then a reporter for New Jersey Network, the PBS channel in New Jersey, developed a source who told him about a $46,000 loan that Christie had given Michele Brown, a subordinate that he’d promoted in the U.S. Attorney’s office, to pay her mortgage. This raised questions immediately about Christie’s ties to the U.S. Attorney’s office while he was running for governor, and was followed by a string of terrible press for Christie, including a story in the New York Timesthat said he didn’t report the income from the loan on his personal financial disclosure forms. (Brown was eventually forced to resigned, though Christie rehired her when he became governor — something that is perceived as a middle finger to those who revealed their relationship.) …

In 2011, Christie announced in his budget address that he was going to shut down NJN.

Implied here is that Christie terminated funding for NJN in retaliation of a negative story one of its reporters did on him. (Though, as New York mag notes, former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine himself, a Democrat, had suggested making it a nonprofit.)

But as the story is told by American University’s Current.org (2008 article), state funding for NJN was shrinking well before Christie took office and officials at the station had already asked lawmakers to allow it to become a nonprofit. When he became governor, Christie supported the idea.