More Newt – Why?

newt-gingrichI figured that it was just me.  I look at who is on the TV and whom journalists are interviewing and ask whyRick Santorum has been on the tube recently. Why?  He is a partisan politician who isn’t all that bright and was voted out of office.  What could he have to say that would be of any importance?  Why does Liz Cheney keep popping up on my screen?  Don’t we know what she is going to say before she says it? Tom Tancredo! Please.  This guy has the IQ of an empty soap dish.  He has never, as far as I know, said anything that was really worthwhile or insightful.  Why does anything that he thinks about any nominee to the Supreme Court have any relevance?  Steve has more:

Looking over the list of guests for tomorrow’s Sunday morning shows, we see that CBS’s “Face the Nation” will feature two guests: David Axelrod from the White House and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

It comes just two weeks after Gingrich was a featured guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He was the featured guest on “Fox News Sunday” just two weeks before that.

This isn’t quite as annoying as having Liz Cheney live on the cable networks, but it’s getting there.

Atrios asked a couple of weeks ago, “[Y]ou know, disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has precisely zero power but his every pronouncement is treated as Incredibly Important News. Any journalists want to explain why?”

That need not be a rhetorical question.

I suspect “Face the Nation” wants to hear from Gingrich about the Sotomayor nomination, since Gingrich led the way in smearing the judge, and then kinda-sorta-but-not-really backpedaled this week on the use of the word “racist.”

But here’s a little secret: whether Gingrich respects or loathes Sotomayor is of no consequence. He doesn’t have a vote in the Senate, and more importantly, he doesn’t have any real influence in the Senate, either.

In our reality, Gingrich was forced from office in disgrace more than a decade ago. His limited power comes by way of the media, which keeps putting him on national television.

Eric Boehlert’s recent take on this — before Newt had an op-ed published in the Washington Post and before his “Meet the Press” appearance had even been announced — still rings true:

[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.”

I’m still waiting to see the media frenzy surrounding the latest pronouncements from Jim Wright and Tom Foley. Remind me, when was the last time either of them was invited onto a Sunday morning show?

0 Responses

  1. What the media does it play us.

    They put insignificant and controversial figures like Gingrich and Liz Cheney on because they know that they will say something that will add to the headlines for a couple of days. They have an implied give and take role when they appear on these shows. It gives them undeserved coverage, and gives the media outlet undeserved viewers.

    It is a lazy form of journalism in my opinion.

  2. It is also false journalism. They are giving us information or adding to the conversation. It is distraction more than anything.

    Thanks for your comments.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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