Home > Uncategorized > NJ Gov. Murphy Just Pulled An LBJ Stunt – And Got Away With It

NJ Gov. Murphy Just Pulled An LBJ Stunt – And Got Away With It

Gov. Murphy Holds Press Conference To Divert From Newark Protest And Senate Fossil Moratorium Resolution

Climate Activists Get Fucked Again, And They Don’t Even Know It

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Cynical politician are masters of manipulation of the media. Some call it news management.

With proper timing, politicians can get out in front of a bad news story and change the subject.

Another tactic is to divert the media’s attention from events that would put the politician in a negative light, and refocus and control the narrative.

Get out front, divert, change the subject. It’s as easy as 1,2, 3 – especially when you have sycophants to cheerlead and stenographers for journalists.

One of the most notorious historical examples of this kind of cynical news management was when President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) called a last minute White House press conference to divert news coverage from the testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, NJ.

Here’s how the Washington Post tells that story:

President Lyndon B. Johnson was terrified of [Fannie Lou Hamer] her, terrified of the appeal she would make in 1964 before the Democratic National Committee’s credentials panel on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. […]

The president, who would eventually sign the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, sent political advisers to persuade Hamer not to make her appeal to the credentials committee. When she refused, Johnson called an impromptu news conference to make it impossible for the national television networks to cover her testimony live.

It didn’t matter. Hamer’s testimony would become one of the most powerful speeches of the civil rights movement.

NJ Gov. Murphy just pulled a similar stunt – and he not only got away with it, he used a black woman from Newark (Kim Gaddy) as a prop in the stunt!

Then, just hours later, this same woman, Ms. Gaddy, at a Newark protest march demanded, to loud applause:


You can’t make this stuff up!

Could you image if another member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party joined LBJ at his impromptu competing event when Hamer was testifying?

We’ll, that’s what just happened here, because Ms. Gaddy is a member of the Empower NJ coalition that is demanding the Gov. Murphy impose a moratorium on new fossil infrastructure.

Kim Gaddy sure ain’t no Fannie Lou Hamer!

[Update: 11/12/21 – An important question just emerged from a colleague and defender of Ms. Gaddy: is it representational violence, a micro-aggression (even “bullying”), and inauthentic for a white man like me to criticize a black woman like this? A black woman who is “of the fight” and has “lived experience” and her own “truth”, while I merely am “in” the fight and have no lived experience and a white man’s truth? My reply was shared on email with this critic, and will become the subject matter of a future post. For now, let’s just say that I got hit full blast with the current perspectivist, identarian, authenticity, personal “truth” politics. ~~~ end update]

Murphy’s press conference, of course, generated exactly the praiseworthy headlines he sought, while simultaneously squelching any coverage of the bad news from the Newark protest (see photo above):

See how that works!

Similarly, Murphy’s press conference got out in front of more potentially bad news coming on Monday, when the Senate will hear a Resolution urging him to impose a moratorium on new fossil projects.

The Gov.’s press conference and Executive Order extinguished any media coverage, environmental group support, public debate, or political traction for Monday’s Senate hearing.

By issuing the Executive Order, Gov. Murphy also extinguished any debate on the need for Legislative reforms along the lines of New York State’s climate laws.

The NY climate law makes greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals enforceable in environmental permits.

In direct conflict with NY’s law, Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order makes it very clear that his new 50% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 goal is not enforceable, in DEP regulations or DEP permits:

Nothing in this Order shall be construed to confer any legal rights upon entities whose activities are regulated by State entities, nothing shall be construed to create a private right of action on behalf of any such regulated entities, and nothing shall be used as a basis for legal challenges to rules, approvals, permits, licenses, or other action or inaction by a State entity. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to supersede any federal, State, or local law.

Back in July, Climate activists filed a petition for rulemaking to DEP seeking that 50% by 2030 reduction goal.  But that petition also demanded a moratorium on new fossil infrastructure. DEP refused to grant that petition in October.

And the Senate Resolution also seeks a moratorium on fossil.

There have been no media news set up stories on that important Monday Senate hearing and thus far, it seems like NJ environmental groups are divided and unwilling to publicly pressure the Gov. to impose a moratorium. We’ll see if they show up in numbers on Monday.

But it sure looks like they’d rather be invited to his press conferences than to fight to push for real climate action.

Instead of a moratorium, Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order does exactly the opposite, by emphasizing continue reliance on fossil and a policy for a “smooth transition”:

WHEREAS, it is the policy of this State that, as a key part of its efforts to curtail the serious impacts of global climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions, New Jersey must pursue a just and smooth transition away from its reliance on fossil fuels as a primary energy source and build a stronger and fairer economy that relies primarily upon clean and renewable energy sources;

A “smooth transition” is the opposite of a moratorium.

So, let’s summarize exactly what went on here: The Governor’s Executive Order:

1) diverted media coverage of climate activists’ Newark protest.

2) extinguished any possible support for a Legislative moratorium or new legislation to establish enforceable climate goals.

3) created another aspirational goal, a purely symbolic gesture

4) explicitly rejected a moratorium or enforceable greenhouse gas emission goals

5) diverted attention from and provided cover for DEP’s failure to propose new climate PACT and environmental justice regulations

6) rewarded the Governor with false praise for climate leadership, thereby eliminating any incentive for him to take real climate action. Why should the Gov. do any heavy lifting when he gets abundant praise for doing so little?

7) marginalized real climate activist groups, disabled activism, and further divided the climate and environmental justice movements in NJ.

The environmentalists just got fucked – again – and they don’t even know it! Worse, they even praise it.

So, I guess I’ll issue my own Order: Therefore, be it Resolved: Murphy’s new motto is hereby “Greenest Gaslighter In The Country”

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