New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal declined to comment on the specifics of Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez’s call for Jersey City residents to ignore NJ.com and use her office’s Twitter feed instead to get local crime news.
But Grewal echoed comments made by Gov. Phil Murphy earlier today that appeared to distance himself from Suarez’s criticism of local media.
“The Attorney General has stated on multiple occasions that he has a deep respect for the free press and the hardworking journalists who hold public officials like him accountable,” Sharon Lauchiere, a spokesperson for Grewal, told the New Jersey Globe. “We don’t have the full context of Prosecutor Suarez’s statements, so we refer you to HCPO for any specific questions.”
The prosecutor’s office did not immediately return a 1:46 PM call seeking comment. The office has not yet responded calls and e-mail requests for comment on January 29 and January 30 regarding a different topic.
Suarez made her pitch to convince residents to use her taxpayer-funded Twitter feed to get news, rather than NJ.com, which is part of the same company that owns the Jersey Journal, at a community meeting Tuesday night in Jersey City to talk about public safety concerns following the rape and murder of a woman in Lincoln Park last month.
“I’m never one to tell you to go to either NJ.com or any of those papers for actual news,” Suarez said. “There it goes, I said it.”
Others continued to criticize Suarez for her statement, with Jersey City councilman James Solomon comparing her to Donald Trump.
“In an era in which President Trump vilifies the media to point where actual bombs have been sent to their offices, I was dismayed to hear Hudson County’s top law enforcement officer attack them. Like all institutions, our local media has its flaws,” Solomon said on Twitter today. “It is not above criticism. But it provides an invaluable check on the powerful. Using broad language to delegitimize their reporting is flat out wrong. I hope Prosecutor Suarez will amend her comments publicly so that the public knows its leaders respect the media.
Daniel Levin, a former Jersey City mayoral candidate, said that social media is just a form of public relations.
“Even when used by government to get info out, it is comingled with a lot of other verbal garbage and vomit,” Levin said in a tweet.