Wednesday, May 27, 2009


A couple of anti-Sotomayor outbursts Twittered by Newt Gingrich became the lead story on CNN's Political Ticker today. Steve Benen says:

The disgraced former House Speaker ... hasn't served in public office for over a decade, and has no relevance or influence in the Senate at all.

...why are Newt Gingrich's silly ideas the lead story at CNN's political site right now? And why does CNN treat his rants as political news on a nearly daily basis?

Here's what I think: Gingrich may be obnoxious and he may be irrelevant, but his verbal bomb-throwing is good copy. What I mean is, it's better than anything any current GOP officeholder can manage.

And that matters because the news media desperately wants what's going on in D.C. to be an evenly matched fight. By any objective criterion, the Republicans should be all but irrelevant right now. But that's intolerable to CNN, and to much of the rest of the mainstream media.

Is that because closely contested battles are more interesting than blowouts? Or is it because D.C. is still, as Josh Marshall says, wired for Republicans?

I'd say it's a bit of both. And I understand the first reason to some extent -- the press wants to hold our interest. But I think the latter is part of the problem as well. I think the disgraced, unpopular Gingrich -- and the disgraced, unpopular Dick Cheney, for that matter -- are getting an infinite number of do-overs just because the notion of Republicans as a disgraced, unpopular party is incomprehensible and unbearable to the press. If Michael Steele or Eric Cantor or Bobby Jindal can't give good quote, well, find some Republican -- any Republican -- who can, and elevate that person to the president's level. Because the GOP can't be a laughingstock -- heaven forfend.

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