New Jersey governor Chris Christie is no stranger to voicing his opinion, even when it’s not necessarily a popular one. He’s also no stranger to being goaded by the media.
But on Monday, those worlds collided during Christie’s guest-hosting spot on WFAN’s Boomer and Carton show in New York — and the results weren’t pretty.
In short, Christie took New York Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta to task for the way he questioned Jets coach Rex Ryan following Saturday’s preseason game against the Giants.
Mehta grilled Ryan after the game over his decision to play Mark Sanchez late in the game and repeatedly questioned him about whether Geno Smith could start at quarterback in Week 1, his approach leading to an odd reaction and series of answers from Ryan.
You can hear Christie and co-host Craig Carton’s reactions Monday below:
"Idiot — the guy’s a complete idiot," Christie said of Mehta. "Self-consumed, underpaid, reporter. The only reason he’s empowered is we’re spending all this time this morning talking about Manish Mehta who, by the way, I couldn’t pick out of a lineup. And no Jet fan really gives a damn about Manish Mehta.
“As somebody who stands in front of the press asking you questions, what’s he supposed to say at that point?," Christie added later. "He tried to defend the decision, and people keep yelling at him, so he had enough of the BS. He’s like, ‘Enough, I’ve given you my answer.’ There comes a point, Craig, sometimes, with you people in the media, where you just have to say, ‘Hey, that’s my answer. You think it’s stupid, you don’t like it, then say that. But leave me alone.’”
Christie also expressed frustration that he and Carton were talking about Mehta at all, saying: “It shouldn’t be about that. It should be about the Sanchez decision. We shouldn’t be giving this dope the amount of airtime we’ve given him already."
Well, you knew that the New York Daily News wasn’t going to take kindly to Christie ripping one of their reporters, so on Tuesday, they responded with a scathing column and this back page cover directed at the Jersey governor:
Now, there’s probably a fair question to be asked about how much badgering is too much when it comes to journalists dealing with coaches. In my experience with Ryan, I have found him to be approachable and mostly accommodating, and Christie probably makes a fair point about reporters needing to know when to stop.
But there’s probably an even bigger question that begs to be answered about why Chris Christie, a sitting governor, was wasting time filling in on sports radio and starting beef with sports reporters in the first place. As an elected official, Christie should know where to draw the line, himself — though I suppose tact has never really been his thing.
In any case, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this to go away. Christie, despite being an outspoken Cowboys fan, is a friend of Rex Ryan. And Mehta is a bulldog reporter from a paper with attitude, and I don’t suspect either will be backing down any time soon.