If Chris’s thesis that Newt’s popularity among Republican primary voters is a Rupert Murdoch-FOX exclusive, then explain this, Chris, unless it's your contention that the leading mainstream media Sunday politics show is exclusively shunned by Gingrich voters:
Good question. I'll give it a shot, Steven: Back in 2009, Newt Gingrich was actively planning a run for the presidency in 2011-12. What better platform to establish his "serious" political bona fides while at the same time remaining in the public eye than to become a high profile fixture on MTP? Was David Gregory a knowing enabler of Newt's political rebirth? If you wear a tinfoil hat, (sometimes a useful exercise) perhaps. Most likely, though, the Gregory MSM team's reasons were pedestrian: ratings, ratings, ratings — a perfect marriage with Newt's gift for making authoritative outrageous pronouncements in convenient sound bites, the compressed timespan of the MSM. Newt is a bomb thrower; a "human hand grenade" as conservative columnist Peggy Noonan described him. And "human hand grenades" are good for ratings. Otherwise, how to explain this:THE MOST POPULAR 'MTP' GUEST OF THE YEAR.... In the previous post, I mentioned what disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on "Meet the Press" yesterday. I neglected to ask a relevant question: why on earth was Newt Gingrich on "Meet the Press" yesterday?
Yesterday was Gingrich's fifth appearance on "MTP" just this year. In fact, Newt Gingrich, despite not having held any position in government for over a decade, was the single most frequent guest on "Meet the Press" in 2009 of any political figure in the United States. Literally.
From March to December, Gingrich appeared on "MTP," on average, every other month. No one else in American politics was on the show this often.
I'm reminded of something Eric Boehlert wrote recently:
"[A]s often happens when I read breaking, this-is-what-Newt-said dispatches, I couldn't help thinking, 'Who cares what Newt Gingrich thinks?' And I don't mean that in the partisan sense. I mean it in the journalistic sense: How do Gingrich's daily pronouncements about the fundamental dishonesty of Democrats (Newt's favorite phrase) translate into news? Why does the press, 10 years after Gingrich was forced out of office, still treat his every partisan utterance as a newsworthy occurrence? In other words, why does the press still treat him like he's speaker of the House? It's unprecedented."
Eric wrote that seven months ago. It's still true.
Keep in mind, "Meet the Press" didn't have the actual Speaker of the House on at all this year. It also featured zero appearances from all of the other living former House Speakers (Hastert, Wright, Foley) combined.
There's just no reasonable explanation for this. Gingrich was forced from office in disgrace — by his own caucus — 11 years ago. What's more, he's kind of a nut — we're talking about a former office holder who speculated, just last week, about hidden messages from God in snowstorms.
And yet, no other political figure was on "Meet the Press" more this year than crazy ol' Newt Gingrich. If someone can explain why, I'm all ears.
We'll have to ask David Gregory for a fuller explanation. But Chris's "tribal" colleague isn't talking. In addition, Beltway Media narrative driver and (MS)NBC partner, POLITICO, posits it wasn't FOX (or NBC, not even mentioned ... surprise!) but C-SPAN that provided Newt's "conduit to reach a generation of conservative activists." I'll buy it, in part, despite the editorial redacting. It should be noted that C-SPAN's popularity among wingnuts is itself indicative of its "conservative," i.e., right wing bias."How do Gingrich's daily pronouncements about the fundamental dishonesty of Democrats (Newt's favorite phrase) translate into news? Why does the press, 10 years after Gingrich was forced out of office, still treat his every partisan utterance as a newsworthy occurrence? In other words, why does the press still treat him like he's speaker of the House? It's unprecedented."... And:
"Gingrich was forced from office in disgrace — by his own caucus — 11 years ago. What's more, he's kind of a nut — we're talking about a former office holder who speculated, just last week, about hidden messages from God in snowstorms.And yet, no other political figure was on "Meet the Press" more this year than crazy ol' Newt Gingrich. If someone can explain why, I'm all ears."
Chris, Kelly O'Donnell ("And he's had this 'great forum'" ...), Moron Joe ("He's been on FOX 'News' for such a long time, and FOX 'News' drives Republican primary voters")... peeps, peeps; enough self-serving spin already. Interestingly, Gloria Borger of CNN made the most cogent point, recalling that Ronald Reagan used his TV platform as a GE spokesman to remain in the public eye. Say what you will about Gingrich, he is no fool. Reagan's media path to political office was Newt's model. He used his media exposure on C-SPAN, FOX, and (are you listening, Chris) NBC to vault to the top of the Republican pack. Time for an update, Steven, given Chris’s latest bout of … er, misdirection.
The Steele Trap: Readers of this blog are familiar with my seething irritation at Michael Steele's role as "MSNBC political analyst" — considering how often Steele pops up to blithely badmouth Democrats or President Obama. Isn't it the role of a network "analyst" providing they don't work for FOX to give true and unbiased information and analysis, in contrast to the garbage dispensed by partisan "guest" pundits? Reasonable people would say YES. But for some inexplicable reason, MSNBC has decided it was a wonderful idea to hire partisan political hacks and ex-politicians as "analysts." That is the FOX model. But FOX as has been noted ad nauseum is NOT a news organization.
CNN fell flat on its face when it hired former disgraced NY governor Eliot Spitzer. I'm not a fan of politicians from either party as "analysts" but at least Ed Rendell, former Democratic Pennsylvania governor and DNC chair, frequently prefaces his remarks by saying a priori he supports or opposes the issue in question. That's the ethically appropriate position to take. Michael Steele, on the other hand, has never taken an even-handed, objective, or truthful approach. Predictably, as I frequently warned the suits, he launches straight into GOP spin, talking points, misinformation, and lies.
I can't even begin to express what an affront this partisan hack is to core MSNBC viewers. Recently, on a POLITICO "ARENA" confab, Streele told us how he REALLY feels, dispensing strategic advice to his fellow Republicans — keep your powder dry — and declaring who the REAL enemy is:
It's amazing to me that MSNBC progressive hosts properly and repeatedly condemn the words of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell declaring his main political mission is the defeat of President Obama in 2012, yet unquestioningly tolerate Steele as one of their own. Not surprisingly, Michael Steele concurs with Mitch McConnell; Mr. Obama is a president "who has rightfully earned one term" and the Republican "candidate's fight is with Obama." McConnell and Steele are entitled to their opinion; but WTF is Michael Steele doing as an "MSNBC political analyst"?!"The base is looking for a fighter, but they don't want the fight to be taken to another member of the family. Their fight, which should be the candidate's fight is with Obama. So running ads tearing down a fellow Republican, I predict will not win you friends and it certainly won't move your numbers (at least not the way you want). Political professionals misjudge the rise and fall of those who have gone before — they fell by their own hand...Similarly, Newt will either claim that presidential nomination or he won't not because Mitt gave him a beat down in a TV ad, but because he forgot to be humble or to keep quiet.
Save the money for the real battle next fall against a president who has rightfully earned one term." [emphasis mine.]
Steele's unambiguous political posture taints everything he may say on MSNBC. Unlike Ed Rendell, Steele has no problem lying, spinning, misrepresenting, and concealing his bias. He has effectively become a GOP mole within MSNBC. Partisans hired as "political analysts" except on FOX are essentially on the honor system. Politicians are generic liars. Steele's outrageous trashing of President Obama's important and serious Teddy Roosevelt speech was only the latest in a growing list of MSNBC partisan Steele rants. MSNBC should run a disclaimer prior to any Steele appearance, that (a) he is on record opposing President Obama's re-election, and (b) nothing he says can be independently verified in real time as truth or fact. Instead, they'll keep slapping core viewers in the face.
PS - I've given Martin Bashir a deserved bad rap re: Michael Steele, but Martin remains one of my favorite MSNBC progressives nonetheless.
To which "tribe" does the Beltway Media belong? The latest buzzword to distinguish this self-annointed political media elite from its subjects, literally and figuratively, is to refer to "us" as part of one "tribe" or another. The idea is to circumscribe and pigeonhole people based on their political ideology, party affiliation, and little else. liberals and progressives are of one "tribe." Conservatives and Tea Partiers of another. More importantly, such tribal designations assign a relativism to each "tribe" in which ideology trumps all.
Naturally, the non-tribal Beltway Media populating their conception of the American political "center" (actually, the center-right) are the self-appointed spokespeople for so-called independents who "decide" elections. Here, the hubristic Beltway Media has tasked to itself the epically important role of schooling low-information voters and independent political neophytes on exactly what to think. Those who can think for themselves are supposed to fall in line if they wish to keep getting those insider invitations to the Beltway socio-POLITICO scene.
Describing progressives, for instance, as belonging to a "tribe" is a way of marginalizing us. Rachel has them sussed. The Beltway Media love to pontificate about "extremes" in American politics, even though the American people — a majority of so-called independents, even Republicans, among them — have repeatedly shown in poll after poll that they are far to the left of the Beltway Media and its arrogant right-leaning corporate political constructs. It's "fascinating"— to coin an overused Beltway term — indeed to observe how the rise of Newt Gingrich has so unsettled the Beltway Media out of all proportion, I think, with the real world political impact of his candidacy. Watch:
While liberals and progressives rejoice at the prospect, still uncertain — never underestimate the power of the GOP "establishment" — that Gingrich will gain the Republican nomination, he represents a real threat to the power of the "establishment" writ large which derives largely from corporate power. Oddly, Newt Gingrich, though an ally, is such a patently flawed vehicle that his prospective nomination has establishmentarians seeing red, visions of a conservative rout of Goldwater proportions. So why is this unsettling to someone such as Chris Matthews?
Hard to say. Maybe the highly suggestible Chris lives and works in a milieu in which a Newt win is not only frighteningly probable, but will effectively double down on the worst of the worst in American politics, as witnessed close up by Chris. It's a visceral reaction. Other establishmentarians know Newt as a hustler, a gangster beholden to no one. His meanness and petty vengefulness terrifies those who have crossed him. Newt has few friends in the Beltway establishment, save for wingnut media — FOX, Limbaugh, Breitbart — and maybe MTP's David Gregory. Imagine, from the establisment's POV, what a zoo a changing of the guard in Beltway power relationships would be, were Gingrich to become president.
Relax, Chris. Newt Gingrich is unelectable. If nominated, he will be defeated in a landslide by President Obama. And there are only two tribes in politics: Those who stand for, and believe in, the truth, and those who do not. Everything else is bullshit.