Our Views: Big points, low score

In a long article for Talking Points Memo, journalist Brian Murphy talked about the culture of corruption in New Jersey.

“Statistically New Jersey does not suffer from an unusual amount of corruption,” he writes. “Sure, we put big numbers on the board, but we’re nothing like Louisiana or Illinois or parts of the old Confederacy.”

Ouch.

Part of the reason we are wincing at the onset of the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is it is once again drawing attention to one of Louisiana’s historical failings.

For Murphy, who wrote about the political revenge said to be carried out by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the state is simply badly placed. “We garner an unusual amount of media attention when a scandal comes to light since we’re wedged between the media markets in Philadelphia and New York; nobody wants to pay attention to New Jersey until there’s a freak show to cover, and so those are the stories that the rest of the country hears,” Murphy wrote.

Well, perhaps, but the Christie scuffles involved a potentially leading candidate for president, and it’s not at all unreasonable that the charges and countercharges attracted a lot of attention.

What they also did, as Murphy said, was reiterate to the nation that, like Louisiana and Illinois “putting big numbers” on the prosecutorial board, the Christie charges give the state’s reputation a new gloss that other parts of the country are more than happy to believe.