You Got to Be Kidding Me!

There is No Mafia Media Bias!

Posted in 2008 Election, Politics by Stacy McMahon on March 9, 2007

I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t have an opinion one way or t’other about whether Newt Gingrich should be president.

But someone does.Time ran a story yesterday about Gingrich’s affair with a congressional staffer (whom he married after divorcing his second wife) back in the days of the Clinton/Monica sex scandal.

Gingrich, who frequently campaigned on family values issues, divorced his second wife, Marianne, in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged Gingrich’s relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide more than 20 years younger than he is.

We’ll start with a point deduction for lousy grammar; “acknowledge” appears twice in the same sentence. Much more interesting, though, is that this isn’t new — the affair was revealed in the press back when it happened. From a 1998 article in Salon:

Gingrich’s reluctance to stone Clinton for adultery — or Gore for campaign finance violations — is not motivated by Christian compassion. […] Six months after divorcing Jackie, Gingrich married a younger woman, Marianne, with whom he had been having an affair.

So why is this nine year old story suddenly news in March 2007? Time offers the following weak excuse:

“The honest answer is yes,” Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to be aired Friday, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press.

See, they’re adding value to a wire story about a public figure! The real reason, though, is almost certainly the increasing chatter about a possible Gingrich presidential run, which they mention at the head of a list of anti-Gingrich talking points making up the entire second half of the article.

He has repeatedly placed near the top of Republican presidential polls recently, even though he has not formed a campaign.

Reports of extramarital affairs have dogged him for years as a result of two messy divorces, but he has refused to discuss them publicly.

His first marriage, to his former high school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley, ended in divorce in 1981. Although Gingrich has said he doesn’t remember it, Battley has said Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery.

Gingrich’s congressional career ended in 1998 when he abruptly resigned from Congress after poor showings from Republicans in elections and after being reprimanded by the House ethics panel over charges that he used tax-exempt funding to advance his political goals.

I don’t think you have to be a conservative, a Republican or a Gingrich fan to see what Time did here. If their goal was to let people know Gingrich would be on TV the next day, a quick blurb would have been plenty . There was no need to go through all the (negative) background on the guy.

Just a little something to keep in mind when you read “news” about politicians or political issues.


3 Responses

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  1. madmouser said, on March 9, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    The Media has more power than they deserve because they abuse it constantly. The fact they they are losing readership and viewership actually has caused them to become more venomous than ever before. I get the feeling they are saying, ‘if we go down, we are taking as many with us as we can’. They want to have the last laugh. I wonder if they will be laughing in hell?

  2. Clint said, on March 9, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Anything for ratings… But —

    It is in the public interest to be reminded of things they may have forgotten due to past irrelevance. It is far more relevant to have a cheating president, than a cheating [ex-]senator or [ex-]congressman.

    And whether an official cheats has been demonstrated to be in the public interest — refer to Clinton-gate 🙂

    I personally am glad they mentioned it again, because I did not care about Newt in 1998 and did not remember any of that.

    I did hear, recently, that he had “divorced his wife after she got cancer”.

  3. Clint said, on March 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    MadMouser, that is an interesting comment. It would be more believable if the media was one sentient entity, but I do believe an aggregate of people can be anthromorphosized (okay, I’m just looking for an excuse to use big words that start with ‘a’). Now, picturing the media in hell — that’s just funny!!

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