Just 36 hours before the South Carolina Primary ABC “News” aired an interview with an ex-Mrs. Gingrich (there are two) that added nothing new from an early 2010 Esquire Magazine interview.
In doing so, they appeared to be looking to derail Gingrich’s surge in South Carolina (the headline of the piece was, “Exclusive: Gingrich Lacks Moral Character to Be President, Ex-Wife Says,”), a surge that had been reported earlier that same week, but what they seemed to have accomplished was twofold, (1) making a martyr of Newt Gingrich and (2) further alienating the American people from what nearly 75% seem to see as a hopelessly biased news media.
On the first score (making a sympathetic figure out of the prickly and irascible Gingrich) they performed a minor miracle, on the second, they merely amplified what the vast majority of Americans have already believed – that the news media in America is both out of step with the American people and blatantly ideologically biased.
I’ve long fought for a “disparate impact” ruling against the mainstream media. Polls show that 83% of those who do divulge their political affiliations in the media are liberal Democrats, and even the 9% who divulge a Republican affiliation, note that they are “Moderate” and “socially liberal Republicans.” That, in a country that is more than 2 to 1 Conservative! That’s akin to having a Police Department being 90% white in a city that is 2/3rds black!
The SAME standard should be applied to the news media in terms of ideological bigotry – if not enough Conservatives are applying for those positions, “It’s probably because they don’t feel welcome,” so, as is done with many city police departments, the media must be charged with the tasks of both recruiting that dispossessed group and balancing the ideological disparity UNTIL the media “adequately reflects the community it serves.”
Without question, that ideological imbalance and the implied ideological bigotry is what’s behind the fact that nearly 3/4s of the country doesn’t trust its news media (SEE: http://www.gallup.com/poll/148250/Americans-Regain-Confidence-Newspapers-News.aspx)
The backlash against America’s liberal media wasn’t merely stated in the fact that Gingrich won, but by how much he won. Gingrich surged even stronger after the ABC interview aired, from the low 30s to a resounding 41% of the vote! That’s 50% more than Romney tallied (27%)!
There’s no other way to describe this unlikely Gingrich route, except as an anti-media backlash.
Numerous people spoke to the convoluted and vile defense much of the media initially made over “Weiner-gate,” and the veritable media blackout on the Edwards scandal, even though the National Inquirer broke that story during Edwards’ run for President.
The problem for the media is that this is NOT isolated to South Carolina or the “Deep South,” instead it’s a national referendum. When over 3/4s of the American people don’t trust their own news media, that’s an issue!
Worse yet, is that since 2010, 2/3s of Independents have broken more Conservative than “Republican.” It’s unfortunate that so many in the media seem to believe they CAN (let alone should) influence public opinion. Remember the laments that “the likes of Rush Limbaugh have made America more Conservative?” The fact is that what Limbaugh proved is that the media, even commentating titans CANNOT influence public opinion, if they’re smart, they can do what Limbaugh himself claims he does – “resonate WITH the views and opinions of the general public.”
Maybe now would be a good time to begin that media recruitment effort?