Guilty Pleasure: Watching Newt Neuter the Mainstream Media

For media-conscious conservatives, there is perhaps no greater aggravation than that of the prevailing liberal tilt that exists within the mainstream media. Every day, we see or read of fresh examples of bias that we wish we could simply laugh off, but can’t because we understand how important the role of news conveyers are in shaping public opinion. From the absurd Democratic narratives that they instinctively lend credence to, to the selective reporting and astounding double-standards that they spread across the airwaves, the media has long been in need of a bold and brash wake-up call to force them to look at themselves, and at the joke they’ve made of their profession.

Low ratings and dwindling subscriptions certainly haven’t done the trick. Neither have the words of media critics and watchdog organizations who regularly offer a compelling case against them. Even when journalists within the mainstream media’s own ranks bring attention to the problem, nothing changes.

Until something changes, the best chance conservatives have to marginalize the influence of the liberal media is to stop playing the game on the media’s terms. An ideologically-slanted media shouldn’t be the people who frame our national debates. After all, every recent poll has shown that Americans no longer trust them. Conventional media-wisdom needs to be publicly beaten into shape the moment blatant favoritism is put on display. As some of us were reminded earlier this week, there is one man who is particularly gifted at doing this: Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

For those of you who didn’t see the Newt Gingrich/Thomas Friedman exchange from last Sunday’s Meet the Press, I highly recommend that you check it out. Gingrich took on the uber-liberal New York Times columnist on the wide-spread media narrative that conservatives are too “extreme” when it comes to the issue of abortion. Gingrich absolutely obliterated Friedman by pointing out that Barack Obama voted three times to support post-birth abortions (the killing of born-alive babies that survive an abortion attempt). He also pointed out that the president supports tax-payer funded, late-term abortions. Yet the media absolutely refuses to label Obama’s position on abortion as “extreme”. Gingrich argued that there is no more extreme position that exists in our politics. By the end of the segment, he had the normally snide and over-confident Friedman (who host David Gregory tried repeatedly to bail out of the mauling) squirming, and trying to disqualify himself from having to answer the charge by claiming that he was just there as a journalist. Rarely do we witness a media figure humiliated so soundly.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen such a display from Newt.

Gingrich first proved himself in the media watchdog role four years ago, at the 2008 Republican National Convention, when he was asked by an MSNBC reporter to comment on Sarah Palin’s weak resume in reference to the vice presidential position she was running for.  Many might remember that this was a wildly popular media narrative back then. Mainstream pundits were up in arms over the notion that some hockey-mom from Alaska could potentially become a heartbeat away from the presidency. Never was there any concern from those same people when it came to Barack Obama, who unlike Sarah Palin, never governed a city or state. In fact, he had no leadership experience at all, yet the media never questioned his credentials. Gingrich went off on the absurdity of the media-driven narrative, running down a list of Palin’s numerous accomplishments before challenging the reporter to list a single thing that Obama had done, other than “talk and write.” It was such a thumping that you had to wonder if the unsuspecting reporter might have cried himself to sleep that night.

In early 2012, during the Republican presidential primaries, candidate Gingrich made sport out of several of the misleading and irrelevant questions he received from members of the media, but it was CNN’s John King who took an outright scolding during one of the debates. Mere days before the important South Carolina primary, ABC News decided that it would be a relevant venture to pursue an interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife and let her unload on her former husband. Gingrich’s divorce, which had begun over twelve years earlier, was reportedly a messy one. The media, of course, was well aware of this. Just days after interviewer Brian Ross seemed to take unsettling joy in letting Marianne Gingrich dish on Newt, John King chose to confront Gingrich with the allegations she made as the first question of a nationally televised GOP debate. Newt’s passionate response was an absolute indictment of the mainstream media’s vindictive nature toward conservatives. After all, this is the same media who actively worked to protect both President Clinton and Presidential candidate John Edwards from accusations of infidelity. And both of those Democratic politicians we’re fooling around on their wives in real time – not well over a decade earlier! The public condemnation, that left John King looking like his parents had just caught him with his hand in the cookie jar, struck a chord not only with the enthusiastic crowd in attendance… Many believe the moment actually won Gingrich the state primary, where he had previously been behind in the polls.

Last week at the Republican National Convention, Gingrich decisively smacked down MSNBC’s Chris Matthews over the long-held, liberal belief that speaking of our expanding welfare burden is somehow an example of racism. Gingrich quickly rattled off the single argument that shuts the entire false narrative down cold: Pointing out how many Americans are on food-stamps isn’t racist. Identifying the food-stamp programs with racial minorities and perpetuating a stereotype (which is what much of the liberal media has done over the past couple of years) is what’s racist.

Aside from all of these spectacles being really, really fun to watch, it makes you wonder just how much different the media environment in this country would be if newsrooms actually encouraged some diversity of thought. Imagine if they made an actual attempt to encourage people with traditional, easily-defensible viewpoints like Gingrich into their profession to balance out the overwhelming liberal group-think that exists there now. I’m not just talking about those in front of the camera, but those behind it as well. Just think of the number of ideological biases that would be recognized before they ever made it to air or print. It seems to me that such a move would allow the media to earn back much of the credibility they’ve lost.

Will that ever happen? Unfortunately, no.

Sadly, for now, conservatives will have to deal with the media the best they can, hopefully by taking a few pages out of the Newt Gingrich media playbook.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Sel

    You got that right Bernie!   It seems that conservatives are scared of the liberal press- or scared that some people will be offended by the truth.  We need more people like Newt and Rush Limbaugh who don’t fall for the left media’s bluff.
    Thanks to you too, for exposing the liberals’ corrupt tactics. 

  • Roxiebell

    Romney needs to get his “Newt” on when dealing with the “beevus & butthead” press. You know those butt-heads will ask about “10 yrs” of tax returns and Romney should shoot back that he wants “10 years” of IQ (& drug) testing of the idiots asking/demanding for them or better yet DEMAND 10 yrs of Obama’s tax returns, Bidens, Reids, Pelozi, Hillary and every fracking Democrat member of Congress, lets get them all out there.  

  • Artlouis

    I have noticed glimmers of hope. Both Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer recently interviewed Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chairman, and expressed  their frustration with her pre-programmed, unfactual responses to their questions. It must have been like trying to interview a hologram.

    It may be that these two guys realize that they might be dealing with a Romney administration in the next four years, and there is a tendency among some media people, regardless of their own political leanings, to cosy up to the party in power, especially if they think that doing so will provide them with news leads that the competition won’t get. 

    • Roxiebell

      Its just a random act of Journalism so don’t get too hopeful.

  • Kathie Ampela

    I’d love to see Newt Gingrich launch his own network…the conservative alternative to Al Gore’s Current TV. That would really drive the liberal media crazy.

    • Bruce A.

      Wait until after the election.  If  Gov.Romney wins ther ewill be plenty of meltdowns on & off camera. 

  • http://blog.alltheinfo.org/ Bob

    In spite of your dire predictions for the future of news media, I think there’s hope, or at least something new on the horizon.  I believe we are on the cusp of a new world in broadcast media.  It may be 5 years, or maybe even 10, but the ‘big 3′ as well as CNN, MSNBC and Fox  News are going to lose control of the media.  I think you will see more and more people go the Larry King route and produce their own Internet shows and as Apple, Google, Roku and others integrate set-top boxes for content viewing on regular TVs there will be much more diversity in news programming.  Will it end up being better or worse than what we currently have?  I have no idea.

  • Rick Johnson

    Part of what makes Newt so great is his knowledge. There is no issue affecting the American people that he doesn’t know all sides in huge detail.  I voted for Newt in the primary here in Illinois. I’d do so again.

    • Roxiebell

      Newt is actually responsible for the Democrats “greatest hero” Bill Clinton’s sucessful Administration. As SOH Newt dragged Clinton KICKING & SCREAMING to the right of center forcing Clinton to do the “right” thing for America.

  • Concernedmimi

    IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS MITT FOR ME…..VOTE: ROMNEY/RYAN

  • Concernedmimi

    I call them the ‘Lying-extreme Media’. You are exactly right, John. Now is the time to take the narrative away from them and go on attack and it needs to begin on Fox  News (they have fallen right into the political correctness stupid fair and balanced) directive from the left. We need more of Newt and Newtites on Fox to give the rest of us courage to stand our ground; and more  Sarah Palin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!More conservatives and reduce air time for Juan Williams and his slobbering kind.

    • Roxiebell

      It is annoying to watch Fox News  contributors and panelists “attempt” to have reasonable conversations with some of the far left liberal LOONS that show up on these programs. Its like trying to respond intelligently to a “mentally ill” person who does nothing but repeat the same thing over, and over, and over again while talking or SHOUTING over the other person as the idiots NEVER stop blathering when they’re on a liberal lying roll!  It is exasperating but it does expose leftist-libs  for the moronic fools they are.

      • Patrick

        Pardon me for asking, but don’t some conservatives on FOX do the same thing? Cut people off, interrupt, shout down and repeat the same thing over and over? I’m not saying all do, but some definitely have engaged in shouting down and cutting off people’s mics?

  • DanB_Tiffin

    I believe we need to remember that these organizations do not “give” us the news, they sell it.  Yes, to advertisers, who look at the ratings and distribution.  Emotion sells, controversy sells, etc.  Please, folks, always keep that in mind when you rather expect the “truth”.

  • Quiet_Professional

    Can we get away from the term “mainstream” media? There’s nothing maintstream about the media. Mainstream America is by definition conservative! I would propose the term “major” media. As in, the “major media” are extremely biased.

    • John Daly

      The liberal media is ‘mainstream’ because, like it or not, most Americans get their news from them. You’re right in that they don’t represent the sensibilities of most Americans.

      • JohnInMA

        They are mainstream simply because they have dominated for so long.  Their days may be numbered, given the power of the Internet and the fact that their ability to earn (revenue) is dwindling.  In their own eyes, they are still standard bearers, perhaps mostly because their standing in academia (‘journalism’ schools) and because of their association with their peers (they only see other like-minded liberal outfits – regardless of ratings they still see FNC as the unwashed rubes).

    • Roxiebell

      Its more like the “radical” media.

  • Paul Courtney

    John:  Part of the problem is the idealized notion that any given press outlet was, and can once again be, without bias.  Way back when, each town had 2 newspapers with rather open bias.  Radio came along, but there were plenty of stations to tune in.  When tv news emerged, for some reason, all 3 networks went one way and there it stayed.  The NYT went left at about the same time, and as O’Reilly and Bernie said recently, the tv news is determined by reading the NYT.  The best I can hope for in an imperfect world is that one of the networks will make a rather obvious business decision, and start reporting on the bias of the other 2 (one of the most telling features of the situation is how a bias scandal erupts at , say, CBS, and the other 2 avert their collective gaze).  That would be fun.  Wish I’d seen Newt, but it never occurred to me that D. Gregory would let an intelligent conservative on the show.  Shame on me! 

  • Deny916

    Newt was awesome during most of the debates.  I always said that Mitt should get Newt to coach him for the big upcoming debates.  When Newt was “on” he was a joy to watch–especially when he let John King have it. 

    It’s a real shame what happened to the media.  They really are the lame stream media and their love and fawning over obama is enough to make me sick!  Thank God we have sites like this, CainTV, GBTV, and Fox News…at least they tell us the truth.

    • Roxiebell

      Bernstien and Woodwards Watergate  is what killed   Journalism. These two guys are like patron saints of the religion of Journalism empowering their ”flock” to bring down the powerful with their sights on Republicans and conservatives and of course the American people.   

      • Patrick

        Are you saying that Bernstein and Woodward were wrong to go after Nixon and he didn’t deserve what he got for Watergate?

        • floridahank

          From what I’ve understood about Nixon is that he actually was not involved in the formation of the breakin.  His stupidity came from lying and trying to coverup the crime.  If he would have admitted that the crime happened and those involved would be prosecuted and he was never involved, he would not have lost his Presidency.   Like other Presidents, Nixon made his first lie, and then he kept lying more until it all fell apart for him.
          Nixon got bad legal advice when told to make that first lie.  Too bad Obama is getting away with lies, deceptions, and incorrect  comments.

  • Wheels55

    It would be amazing to see Newt in the RNC mouthpiece role like DWS is for the DNC. He would be great at that job.

    • John Daly

       I really would have liked for the GOP to have given Gingrich a better speaking slot at the convention. I think he’s a strong voice for the party.

  • JohnInMA

    For me the enjoyment in watching Newt comes from the catharsis of having someone who can walk the line, most of the time, between intelligent stand-your-ground rebuking and simple bullying.  He counters arrogance in someone’s sanctimonious ideas with informative, alpha-dog questions and facts.  In the session with Friedman, the best part was how he so quickly turned to the oft-used liberal media tactic of claiming not to be taking sides but reporting the facts.  His stammering babble not only didn’t make a lot of sense, but it clearly didn’t pass the reality check.  Except for the most die hard partisan who wouldn’t be swayed anyhow, I’m guessing most of the listeners either winced or laughed at Friedman.

    Broadcast media has long been about egos and personalities.  Print and Internet media have followed suit in the past decade, or so, at least in the pundit class of writers.  Putting Gingrich into the battle of egos on air is a pleasure because he is able to successfully call their bluff.  Some have a little depth and can stay engaged.  Many show themselves to be no deeper than the amount of makeup applied and the styling of their clothes.

  • GlenFS

    It is fun to watch someone challenge their sincerely held erroneous beliefs, leaving them dangling by their nose hair trying to reestablish their footing.