Gingrich "Hated" by Reporters & Public Won't Miss; "Hamas" Republicans
Gingrich is going out the same way he came in: With the networks tearing
him down. From London, where ABC News has moved much of its operation to
get around the NABET strike/lockout, World News Tonight/Sunday anchor
Carole Simpson opened the November 8 show:
(For recollections of how the networks greeted and treated Gingrich, see item #7 below.)
ABC's Karla Davis provided a report on the battle between Bob Livingston and Chris Cox to replace him and Sam Donaldson looked at how Clinton triumphed by acting presidential since the Starr report. NBC Nightly News led on Sunday with John Glenn's return. Joe Johns checked in on the scramble to succeed Gingrich and John Palmer narrated a story on how both sides want to speed up the impeachment process and get it behind them. (Football bumped the CBS Evening News in the ET and CT time zones.)
Friday night, November 6, all the networks began with the just then breaking news of Gingrich's decision, first revealed by Tim Russert on MSNBC just past 6pm ET.
On ABC's World News Tonight Peter Jennings told viewers: "It is, said one analyst, 'bizarre.'" Linda Douglass noted that "many blame him for Tuesday's election losses, charging that he failed to focus Republicans on winning issues and that he had given the party a snarling image."
Dan Rather called
the decision a "stunner" on the CBS Evening News while NBC's
Tom Brokaw similarly referred to it as "stunning news from
Washington." Brokaw opened NBC Nightly News:
Brokaw asked Tim
Russert: "Tim, the DNA of the Republican leadership will not really
change in terms of the philosophy of fiscal conservatism and going hard
for a tax cut in 1999, will it?"
Russert reflected the new media mantra: Republicans must be nicer and less conservative.
-- On Saturday's
Capital Gang on CNN the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt disputed the
conservative analysis that the Republicans would have done better if they
ran on conservative issues:
-- The next day on
CNN's Late Edition of November 8, Steve Roberts, formerly of the New
York Times and U.S. News and now with the New York Daily News, warned
Republican leaders against following the advice of conservatives:
A few minutes later Roberts used a terrorist faction's name to describe conservatives: "As Dick Gephardt has said on the show this morning, that part of the problem any Republican leader is going to have is that Hamas wing of the Republican Party who are not going to compromise."
In contrast, after the Republicans won the House in 1994 the network analysts refused to credit conservatism. See the third article linked under item #7 below.
From "fairly timid ads" to "hard-hitting commercials"
in just nine days. Here's Ted Koppel the October 28 Nightline:
Fast forward nine
days to the Friday night, November 6 Nightline. Reporter Chris Bury cited
the ads as evidence of how Gingrich violated his promise of decorum in
"personally" approving the ads which Nightline suddenly decided
were no longer "fairly timid." In the set-up piece just after
Koppel's intro, Bury recalled a Gingrich speech on Clinton's lies:
Instead of praising Newt Gingrich for putting his party, his beliefs and others ahead of himself, in stark contrast to how President Clinton sacrifices everyone to save himself, CBS's Bob Schieffer disparaged Gingrich as a light-weight egomaniac. In the midst of doing so Schieffer preposterously asserted that Gingrich "accused the President of slighting him because he once got a bad seat on Air Force One and said that was one of the reasons he shut down the government."
Schieffer's "Closing Thought" from the November 8 Face the
How generous of Schieffer to concede Gingrich's ideas "were not all bad." Just like Schieffer's reporting "is not all bad." But in this analysis Schieffer took the liberal caricature of what happened on Air Force and then pinned the story on Gingrich. In the midst of being blamed for the government shutdown, all Gingrich said was that he and Clinton were on a plane together for 15-plus hours and Clinton never made an effort to talk. And Gingrich certainly never said he shut down the government because of whatever happened on the plane. Still blaming Gingrich at this late date shows Schieffer's bias as it took Clinton refusing to sign spending bills to cause the shutdown.
Gingrich the racist. Here's a paragraph from a sidebar story in
Sunday's Washington Post by reporter Thomas Edsall.
It's very convenient now to paint Gingrich as the race-baiter, but it ignores what he had to overcome to become a Congressman from Georgia: the entrenched racism and pro-segregation policies of the dominating Democratic Party. Before winning in 1978, Gingrich lost twice, barely, in 1974 and 1976 to Democratic incumbent Jack Flynt, "an old-school Southern segregationist," as Dick Williams put it in his 1995 book: Newt! Leader of the Second American Revolution.
Williams explained that in contrast, "Newt never shared the age-old views of many Southerners on white supremacy and racial separation. He grew to understand minority status, first as one who shared his Army-post housing, school bus, and classrooms with African-Americans and then as a Republican in the heart of yellow-dog Democratic territory. But he never accepted it." In 1976, "he took pains to involve blacks in his campaign and he worked closely with black churches in his district."
Meanwhile, another leading media figure praised a man who used government
power to enforce racism, while labeling a Republican a "hater."
As Governor of South Carolina Ernest Hollings blocked de-segregation of
the University of South Carolina. On Inside Washington over the weekend
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas remarked about the Senate
results in the Carolina's:
The media's crusade to destroy Gingrich and his policies. Tom Brokaw (in item #1) and Chris Bury (in item #3) were quick to dismiss Gingrich's blaming the media after this week's election. In a November 5 "Dan Rather's Notebook" item on the CBS News Web site (http://www.cbs.com/navbar/news.html ) Dan Rather called it "just straight out bull feathers."
While Gingrich's case may be weak in what specifically led to
Tuesday's results, the media certainly laid the groundwork over the
years for the public to believe the worst about GOP intentions. Gingrich
and other Republicans were hurt by the tremendous media bias which turned
the public against them by almost solely blaming them for the government
shutdown, a level of bias which probably scared them from pushing anything
they knew the media would denounce. As Brit Hume observed on the November
8 Fox News Sunday:
Indeed, the MRC has documented how that animosity was displayed in biased coverage. To remind everyone of the media hostility which greeted the Republican takeover of the House, here are some links to 1994-96 MRC articles. (**Please note that some of these URL's listed need to be adjusted before they will work properly. MRC Webmaster Sean Henry should be able to fix them all by 10:30am ET Monday. If you try to link to one earlier than then and it does not work, just drop the "l" off the end; ie: change the address so it ends in ".htm" instead of ".html" As always, you can substitute www.mrc.org  for www.mediaresearch.org )
-- "Peter Jennings: You Voters Need A Diaper." In a post-election radio commentary Jennings spewed: "Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It's clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It's the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week....Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old."
To read more of Jennings and more from other angry media figures, check out the special "Mid-Term Election Sore Losers Edition" of Notable Quotables: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1994-1993/nq19941121.html 
-- "Reporters Club Contract with America with False History of the 1980s." Among this memories in this MediaWatch article, how Tom Brokaw introduced the Contract with America as "long on promises but short on sound premises." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1994/mw19941001p1.html 
-- "Conservatism Gets Little Credit After Election-Night Tradition of Blaming It For Losses: The Non-Ideological GOP Landslide?" To read this study, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1994/mw19941101stud.html 
-- "The New House Speaker's Journalistic Welcome Wagon: Newt Gingrich, 'Radical Geek.'" Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1994/mw19941101p1.html 
-- "CBS Star Far Nicer to Bill Clinton's Mother in 1993 Interview: Connie Cons Newt's Mom." Remember this "just whisper to me" hit? Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19950101p1.html 
-- "The Newt-Centric Media Universe: Networks Which Ignored Wright Now Barely Touch Tom Daschle and Ron Brown Scandals." A study on how "the perfectly legal Gingrich book deal generated 27 evening show stories" while Jim Wright's book deal got none. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19950201stud.html 
-- "The Magazine That Cried Wolf: Time Decries 'Elimination' of Nutrition Programs as Actual Spending Continues to Soar." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19950301jca.html 
-- "Use of 'Far Right' and 'Extreme' Labels Link Conservatives and Terrorists: McVeigh: Newt's Protegé?" Excerpt: "'Public antagonism toward government,' Boston Globe D.C. Bureau Chief David Shribman wrote on page one April 25, 'has been voiced and amplified by the new Republican House, which just this month completed its 100 days of action, much of it aimed at paring back the growth of the federal government. But now that an attack on a government building has left scores dead, including children, the allure is coming off the anti-government rhetoric.'" For more, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19950501p1.html  (**This article is not currently on the MRC Web page. It will be posted Monday morning.**)
-- "Network News Dominated by Arguments and Soundbites Against the GOP Contract: Fighting the First One Hundred Days." The MRC's definitive study which discovered: "Stories opposed to the Contract with America outnumbered those in favor of its provisions by 127 to 21." To read the entire study, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19950501stud.html 
-- "Environmental Assault: ABC Goes
Goofy." This article began:
-- "NBC Attacks Seven Republican Environmental Provisions in Two Minutes Without Rebuttal: Hager's Early Campaign Commercial." To read this Janet Cooke Award, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19950901jca.html 
-- "Reporters Unable to Master 2nd Grade Math, Call Spending Hikes 'Cuts': Media vs. a Balanced Budget." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19951101p1.html 
-- "Networks Present One-Sided View of Public and Bureaucrats as Victims of Shutdown: Budget News Without Basic Numbers." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1995/mw19951201stud.html 
-- "Networks Mourn Victims of Second Shutdown, Single Out Republicans for Blame: Same Liberal Song, Second Verse." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1996/mw19960101stud.html 
-- "Networks Search for Victims in the Wake of Second Budget Stalemate: The Shutdown Soap Opera." This article features this classic sophistry: "On December 22, a week into the shutdown and before paychecks were delayed, Jack Smith mourned on World News Tonight: 'The shutdown now has a human face. Joe Skattleberry and his wife Lisa both work for the government. Both have been furloughed. They can't afford a Christmas tree.'" Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1996/mw19960101p1.html 
-- "CNN Describes Speaker as 'Too Extreme' and 'Scary,' a 'Clown Prince' with 'Fits of Pique.'" But as the MRC's Tim Graham noted at the time, that contrasted with how they treated Clinton a year before: "The narration by CNN's Lou Waters and Natalie Allen said nothing about Clinton's troubled private life, nothing about ethics, nothing about overweening ambition. Allen began the show with a quotation: 'He was not born a king, but a child of the common people who made himself a great persuader, therefore, a leader by dint of firm resolve, patient effort, and dogged perseverance.' Chimed in Waters: 'The words were written by Horace Greeley a century ago to describe Abraham Lincoln. They apply as well to this persevering young man from Arkansas, now leader of the Free World.'" Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1996/mw19960101ca.html 
-- "Medicare: The Story with 1,060 Errors: The Health Program That Grows by Leaps and Bounds Mysteriously Described as 'Cut.'" Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1996/mw19960701stud.html 
-- "While Newspapers Offer Clinton Information, Networks Thrive on Gingrich Speculation: Newt News Coverage Triples Clinton's." This study documents how much more interested in Gingrich ethics than Clinton scandal were the networks over six weeks. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1997/mw19970201stud.html 
Just a sampling of the MRC research and documentation, but it should keep you busy for now. (To check out the archives of MediaWatch, Notable Quotables and CyberAlerts, go to mrc.org, click on the "News Division" icon and then choose "archive" from under any of the publications listed.)
Finally, there's wrong and there's really wrong. While no
prognosticator picked Jesse Ventura to win the Governorship in Minnesota,
most picked the Republican, Norm Coleman, who finished second. But, as MRC
analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, ABC's Sam Donaldson put his heart
first and picked the Democrat who came in third. On the November 1 This
Week he asserted:
Do you think Donaldson would be so delighted in a few years if a son or grandson of Gingrich ran for office? -- Brent Baker 
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