What better way to show you care about ideological diversity than by hiring the guy who attacked one of your own reporters for asking him a question he didn't like?
Paul Ryan's RNC convention speech kicked off a lot of discussion about how and when journalists should do factchecking. Some reporters noted that, for instance, the people you factcheck can push back; other pieces wondered if it was making any difference at all. There are plenty of factchecking operations, but there seems to be a feeling that the lying and deception is more significant now than it's ever been. But if you watched TV coverage of the Republican convention, you may not have seen much in the way of factchecking. More to the point, some of the discussions could get […]
His campaign might fading, but Newt Gingrich is still wowing the New York Times (2/10/12). Reporter Trip Gabriel writes: Mr. Gingrich is well known as the candidate of big ideas, hatched from a deep knowledge of politics and policy. But he is less recognized for his warehouse of everyday facts, the kind of small-bore knowledge useful in winning bar bets–or in impressing voters and arguing down skeptical reporters. And: Mr. Gingrich appears to have a steel-trap mind and would make a dangerous opponent at Trivial Pursuit. Praising Gingrich's intellect isn't new, but it's a reminder that Gingrich isn't always dazzling […]
From Amanda Terkel in the Huffington Post (2/1/12): Newt Gingrich Florida Primary Results 2012: The Candidate Who Refuses to Operate Within Reality …From the beginning to the end of Gingrich's election night party, the campaign and its supporters seemed to be operating outside of realities, denying the importance of this large state's primary contest and insisting that victory was going to be theirs as soon as voters opened their eyes and truly saw Florida winner Mitt Romney as a "Massachusetts moderate." Gingrich, in fact, never even congratulated Romney on his win. I'm a fan of Terkel's work, but this genre […]
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote a baffling column today (1/24/12) praising part of Newt Gingrich's political persona–not the bad stuff, but man"of big ideas," as he put it (italics his). Cohen gives one example: Out of nowhere, he has exhumed Saul Alinsky, whose fame is limited to university sociology departments, and yet whose name is so perfectly evocative of old-style radicalism, vaguely European in sound, that it fits Gingrich's recent formulation, "people who don't like the classical America." Who dat, Newt? The reference, although a tad obscure, is nevertheless intriguing. It shows that Gingrich is familiar with the late […]
To me, the most interesting observation after the South Carolina primary came from New York magazine reporter and regular TV pundit John Heilemann, who said this on MSNBC (h/t Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars): Gingrich is going to get so much free media attention over the next few days. It is going to be wall to wall Gingrich, and I think it is fair to say that, in some ways, the "liberal media," as Gingrich would put it, is kind of rooting for Gingrich right now. They want this–they/we, want this race to go on, so he is gonna […]
Time columnist Joe Klein jumped to Newt Gingrich's defense (12/19/11) when the Republican presidential candidate floated the idea that poor school children should work as janitors at their schools. Klein's endorsement (FAIR Blog, 12/9/11) earned him a coveted P.U. Litzer Prize. But apparently there's more to it. As Klein explains in this week's issue of Time (in an article that bears a title "Racial Slant Aside, Newt's Poverty Plan Could Work"), "When you strip away the racial appeals, though, Gingrich proposes some very creative ways to address poverty and dependency." He added: And yes, as Newt suggested, that last idea […]
When a Republican presidential candidate goes around talking about Barack Obama as the "food stamp president," eventually reporters are going to have to write about racism. But how they talk about the issue in instructive. In today's New York Times (1/18/12), Jim Rutenberg has a piece headlined "Risks for GOP in Attacks With Racial Themes," where we learn this about Newt Gingrich's food stamp rhetoric: Mr. Gingrich was clearly making the case that he is the candidate most able to take the fight to Mr. Obama in the fall, but he was also laying bare risks for his party when […]
Of course Newt Gingrich (you know, the "big thinker" in the Republican campaign) made a lot of news by declaring that the Palestinians are an "invented" people. As As'ad AbuKhalill–aka Angry Arab–pointed out, the New York Times ran a piece on this controversy on December 10 quoting exactly two sources: former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk and David A. Harris, chief executive of the National Jewish Democratic Council. Times reporter Trip Gabriel also noted of Gingrich: He described Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, as denying Israel's right to exist. "You have Abbas, who says in the […]
Three moments, actually: –NBC's Chuck Todd yesterday on Meet the Press (12/10/11), commenting on Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich: Well, first of all, those are a couple of nimble debaters. They are pretty good. I think we have seen it. This is the final two. I'm old enough to remember when Todd had the campaign narrowed down to a Top Three, way back in August: "We have a top tier. It is Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann." –ABC host Diane Sawyer, asked to describe (This Week, 12/11/11) the most revealing lesson she learned about the candidates after she […]
We know by now that Newt Gingrich thinks he's smart. And we know there are plenty of people in the corporate media who believe the same thing. How do they show their love for the brainy Republican presidential candidate? Time's Joe Klein shows the way in this week's issue (12/19/11) of the magazine. He doesn't think Gingrich should be president, but he does think Gingrich is full of interesting ideas. Well, what about that plan to have kids work as janitors cleaning their schools? Klein's problem with it is that it doesn't go far enough: I've known him for 25 […]
Many big papers have rules about when reporters can use anonymous sources. It should be rare, and the information generated should be important and difficult to get without granting a source the privilege to speak anonymously. Of course, reality is different–as Janine Jackson documented in the new issue of Extra!. Anonymous sources supposedly aren't allowed to abuse the privilege to attack someone–and they also aren't, as Jackson noted, supposed to do the opposite: Both papers officially caution against special pleading and spin, along with quotations, as the Post rules have it, "whose only purpose is to add color to a […]
USA Today's front page today (12/2/12) seemed to know– their "Newsline" headline was, "Flip-Flops by Gingrich Fail to Alarm His Conservative Base." The piece inside by Jackie Kucinich–which is actually fairly comprehensive–unfortunately bore this headline: Gingrich Endures Shifts in Policy Candidate sees no backlash from base So he's able to endure himself?