The Star-Ledger or NJ.com or New Jersey Media Advance or Staten Island Advance or whatever they call themselves now has apparently hired a new “senior political reporter,” triggering a meshuggah wave up and down press row this week and beseeching looks from Ledger types who heretofore had always enjoyed the insulation of industry heavyweights long flushed into the abyss.
Now, in a delicious twist of irony if the report by former Ledger columnist Bob Braun is true (and we have no reason to doubt it, he’s Bob Braun), those suckling remnants of the state paper of record so long encouraged to cultivate an air of disdain will have to endure the close proximity, professional association – and, dagger of daggers, higher rank – of one Claude Brodesser-Akner, a former Hollywood gossip columnist who’s coming to New Jersey to be the media group’s Chris Christie reporter.
That’s right. Hollywood gossip columnist, er… blogger – supplanting the era of Amy Ellis Nutt, the only Star-Ledger scribe to ever win the Pulitizer Prize.
That’s like hiring Joe Piscopo to replace William Carlos Williams.
While we wish Brodesser-Akner no ill will and will no doubt – as we have diligently in the past with any number of head-scratching out-of-towners turned Ledger authorities – prevent the guy from getting his legs too tangled as he tries to come to grips with an essential fact – that this ain’t Hollywood, kid – it’s hard finally to escape the unfairness of his hiring.
We don’t mean to suggest that there’s an absence of the irrepressible Blockbuster Quentin Tarantino nerd-in-search-of-paydirt in every New Jersey reporter.
On the contrary. There were just so many qualified people whom the LedgerNJ.comNJMediaAdvanceGroup might have employed as their “senior political reporter,” including a quick sampling thrown together below…
Captain Pike from the original Star Trek TV series
By hiring Brodesser-Akner the Ledger or NJ Advance or whatever it’s called, is signaling that it doesn’t care what kinds of questions their “senior political reporter” asks the governor. So why not just hire the guy who can’t ask questions and instead only communicates via red and green lights signifying yes and no?
He’s out of work, isn’t he? Or teetering on “special assignment.” Hire him. Based on those lovey-dovey interviews he did with Christie on CNN, he’s already demonstrated a willingness to treat the governor with kid gloves. Like Brodesser-Akner, he has an entertainment industry panache that the screwed-over taxpayers of New Jersey hunger for in their news about Trenton.
We’re dating ourselves, but that show from the 1980s, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, featured just the right blend of mindless shlock accompanied by the most obnoxious voice-over of all time, provided by none other than the utterly vapid Leach, whose pretentious fawning in the presence of celebrity makes Shari Belafonte look hard-hitting by comparison.
Granted, he hasn’t worked since he played Eddie Munster in the 1960s. But with that kind of exposure to the “biz” in his formative years, the underappreciated Patrick boasts experience that almost rivals that of Brodesser-Akner. Give him a crack at it. He’s earned this.
Forget about the press conferences. Forget about the copy. Forget about the phone calls, the deadlines, and Mike Drewniak screaming on the other side of doom, cue your favorite song by Nancy Sinatra and just go straight to the exercise video.