Assemblymen Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) and John Burzichelli (D-West Deptford) took aim at NJTV today, blasting the public broadcasting station’s decision to air a children’s program Tuesday instead of live coverage of the legislative opening session and the tribute to Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, who died Monday.
Diegnan said the station was “asleep behind the wheel” in the announcement, adding that recent failures to cover events like Hurricane Irene and Gov. Chris Christie‘s announcement that he would not seek the presidency.
“If it wasn’t so aggravating at this point, and yesterday’s occasion weren’t so solemn, the situation might actually be funny,” Burzichelli said.
It’s the second time the station broadcast a children’s program while major news was breaking in the capital. In October, NJTV showed an episode of “Angelina Ballerina” while Christie was announcing he would not enter the presidential race. On Tuesday, the station went with “Thomas the Tank Engine.”
Burzichelli said exploring previously considered options, like having Montclair State University operate the station, should occur, and that Christie should explore terminating the contract with current operator, New York-based WNET.
“It’s time for the governor’s counsel to start the process of negating the current contract with WNET and bring NJTV back home and into the hands of an entity that will deliver the news that’s important to New Jersey,” Diegnan said.