Newt Gingrich Is a GOP Nobody from the '90s -- Why Is He Quoted Like the Gospel?
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Gingrich spoke Friday morning on WLS-AM's Don Wade and Roma Morning Show.
Gingrich says he believes CIA officials when they say Pelosi was told about waterboarding in a 2002 briefing. Pelosi said Thursday that Congress was told about waterboarding but was assured that the technique wasn't being used.
Gingrich went on a radio talk show, made accusations against a prominent Democrat, and the AP typed it up as news. That really was the entirety of the report: Here's what Gingrich said today. That, in the eyes of AP editors, is news?
The AP is hardly alone. It's become the (odd) Beltway norm. Here's the lead from a May 11 New York Times blog post:
Despite intensifying opposition, President Obama still plans to head to Notre Dame on Sunday to receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address.
Adding his voice to a growing chorus, Newt Gingrich renewed his criticisms of both the university and the president for the invitation, but this time as a Catholic.
Noted theologian Newt Gingrich criticized Obama and Notre Dame (a knee-jerk conservative talking point for months), so the Times
treated it as news, and then did the same thing in a May 15 article:
Conservatives, frustrated by what they regard as Mr. Obama's skillful efforts to paint himself as a moderate, are all over the airwaves denouncing him as "the most radical, pro-abortion of any American president," as Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker, said on Fox News.
Gingrich took to the "the airwaves" to denounce Obama as radical, and at The New York Times, that's breaking news. To me, it's the definition of predictability.
Nonetheless, The Christian Science Monitor did the same thing:
Newt Gingrich still doesn't like the idea of President Obama delivering the commencement address and receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame next weekend.
And the UPI (its lead):
Notre Dame compromised its Catholic values by inviting U.S. President Barack Obama to deliver its commencement address, said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
You name it, and if Gingrich makes a partisan pronouncement on it, it's news:
Maybe I'm just slow, so I'll ask the question again: Why is any of this news?
Gingrich no longer represents a constituency. He has no governmental power. He doesn't lead a large organization. (Gingrich belatedly tried to gin up support for the modestly attended "tea parties," but was in no way an organizer.) You can't find his fingerprints on any of the major initiatives that the previous Republican administration embraced and advanced.
Oh, but wait: Gingrich might run for president in 2012. At least according to the AP, which recently identified him in an article as "the former House speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate." And so that's why he receives so much media attention?
The problem is, I'm pretty sure that if you did a secret GOP ballot these days, you could find 10 to 20 Republicans who might run for president three years from now. So what makes the Georgian so special? Is there some kind of conventional wisdom that he'd be an automatic front-runner, and that's why the press hangs on his every word?
If that's the assumption, it's completely false. Because back in 2007, when there were faint rumors that Gingrich was considering a White House run, a September poll by ABC News that year found that his support for the GOP nomination stood at a minute 5 percent. Other polling in 2007 found that Gingrich was " universally unpopular even among core Republican constituents," which means his actual chances of being the party's nominee in 2012 would appear to be slim and none, and slim's out of town. So there's no justification for the press to treat him as the nominee in waiting.