The parent company of WKXW New Jersey 101.5 defended news director and host Eric Scott Tuesday after Scott accepted a Corvette on loan from the main sponsor of the “Ask the Governor” radio show -- a perk that came at the request of Gov. Chris Christie himself. In a lengthy statement to PolitickerNJ, Alex Bekett, executive vice president of Townsquare Media, said the lavish sport-car loaner was not inappropriate, nor would it affect the station’s “objective coverage” of the governor.
“Eric Scott was offered free use of a 2015 Corvette Stingray by 'Ask the Governor' sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group from March 17, 2015 -- March 24, 2015, as a result of an unsolicited humorous comment made by Governor Christie on February’s award-winning monthly 'Ask the Governor' program on New Jersey 101.5,” Bekett told PolitickerNJ.
As International Business Times first reported on Monday, the Lester Glenn Auto Group delivered a dark-blue Corvette to the station after Christie lightheartedly petitioned for a free car for Scott during the Feb. 25 broadcast of “Ask the Governor,” which airs monthly and is Christie’s only regular interaction with New Jersey media.
Media-ethics experts who spoke with IBTimes Monday said accepting the car, even on loan, inherently compromises the show’s independence, or at least creates the appearance of compromising it. A video of Lester Glenn delivering the Corvette to Scott gives no indication that the gift is temporary, and Scott did not mention it was a loan when he posted about it on social media.
Lester Glenn’s president was a contributor to Christie’s 2013 re-election bid, but Bekett said neither Scott nor the station ownership had knowledge of those contributions.
Read the full statement on PolitickerNJ here.