Wednesday, October 26, 2016


A lot of people are snickering in response to this:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lashed out at Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly on Tuesday night for her coverage of the sexual assault allegations recently made against Donald Trump.

Gingrich, an open supporter of Trump's candidacy, blasted Kelly for focusing too much on Trump's sexual misconduct and not enough on issues like those raised by the speeches given by Hillary Clinton to bankers in 2013 where she discussed her views on immigration -- part of the trove of hacked emails recently released by WikiLeaks.

"You want to go back to the tapes of your show recently?" he said. "You are fascinated with sex and you don't care about public policy."
It's oviously unwise for a presidential candidate's male surrogate to accuse a female interviewer of being "fascinated by sex," especially when the candidate backed by the surrogate has attacked the same interviewer in an explicitly gendered way (and when the himself has a dubious sexual history of his own). It's equally obvious that you can't expect the media not to give extensive coverage to a breaking story about a presidential candidate's sexual behavior.

But I know why Gingrich is upset, though the campaign and party he represents have only themselves to blame.

Here's that "fascinated by sex" line in context:
GINGRICH: So it was 23 minutes of the three networks to cover that story, and Hillary Clinton had a secret speech in Brazil to a bank that pays her $225,000 saying her dream is an open border where 600 million people could come to America, that's not worth covering.

Do you want to go back through tapes of your show recently? You are fascinated with sex and you don't care about public policy.
Do you know why there wasn't saturation coverage of the WikiLeaks revelations? Because the press is used to being spoon-fed stories by party operatives, politicians, and campaigns. In a normal presidential election, when potentially embarrassing news breaks for one candidate, the opposing campaign will formulate a response, carefully craft some talking points, inject those talking points into speeches and ads ... and make sure that journalists know precisely how the campaign intends to frame the new revelation.

But the Trump campaign is reliant on Donald Trump, whose surrogates apparently can't craft an effective message and who can't be bothered to stick to a message, especially when he's distracted by, say, an insult from anyone on the planet. The GOP and other Republican officeholders and candidates don't work in sync with the Trump campaign, so there's no possibility of message discipline.

So there's no coordinated Republican response to anything WikiLeaks has put out. Because the media hasn't been handed a pre-framed story and doesn't see Republicans running around with their hair on fire about one specific detail or another, the coverage, though there's been quite a bit of it, has been relatively muted.

Yes, there was a lot of negative coverage of Clinton revelations up through the middle part of this year. But that coverage was driven in part by journalist-whisperers (and leakers) in the Republican congressional delegation and elsewhere in the GOP. Those folks aren't doing quite as much anti-Clinton whispering with regard to WikiLeaks. They're waiting for their presidential candidate to do it. He's not coming through.

Also, the press doesn't want to cooperate with Trump -- partly because it's dawned on journalists that he's a loathsome human being, partly because it's clear now that he really might blow up the world as president, but also because he seems serious about his anti-press attacks. A typical Republican will tell the rabble that the liberal media is evil while working closely with journalists behind the scenes. The press-bashing is all theater. Trump, however, is serious about it. He cuts off news organizations. He urges crowds at his rallies to turn their wrath on the press.

So that's why the WikiLeaks revelations are falling flat. Ordinarily, Republicans, working in sync with one another and with the press, can turn any nothingburger into a Clinton scandal. But Trump and the rest of the GOP aren't doing the dance.


Victor said...

The GOP v. t-RUMP v. Hillary:
Because of their candidate, the GOP is 'hoist by their own retard.'*

*My apologies for using that term.
But, it fits far better than OJ's glove.

Leo Artunian said...

One wonders if another reason Kelly is brushing aside Gingrich's allegations about Hillary's speech to the Brazilian bankers is because she knows that Gingrich is misrepresenting what Hillary said. Is it possible that someone at Fox News is showing some reluctance to mindlessly repeating whatever the Right-Wing Outrage of the Day might happen to be?

Probably not, but isn't it pretty to think so?

Joey Blau said...

Who thinks HRC wants 600 million immigrants from south America? Ever the salamander does not believe that..,he is just saying it.

Most of the wiki stuff is mundane, stupid, or faked. Mostly gossip and thin reeds.

mlbxxxxxx said...

It seemed to me that the tone of the press coverage changed when Trump jerked them around with the birther press conference/tour of his new hotel. Sounded to me like they turned on him and haven't given him a break since. Granted, he hasn't deserved a break but that never stopped the media before. It is very dangerous to do something to the press that makes them feel misused or abused. Verbal criticism isn't enough -- they have a tendency to absorb and internalize criticism especially from certain groups. But pull a stunt like Trump did -- which he followed up the next day or so by stranding them while he flew off to a rally -- and they can turn on you like rabid dogs.

Knight of Nothing said...

SteveM - this is a smart, insightful piece. But in my eyes, the post title is crude without expressing the true message of the post: that the media is lazy and sensationalist, and in contrast to other GOP candidates, Trump's campaign is unable to capitalize on it. Of course, Gingrich relies on this laziness -- in the clip, he does exactly what you pointed out yesterday: he says that Trump is ahead in Florida, and he gets away with it.

Anyway, since Gingrich is one of the people responsible for crafting Trump's/GOP's message and disseminating it to a credible media -- it's what he's doing here, by complaining about the amount of time spent on each story (a talking point I've heard from Trump and his surrogates) -- I'm not inclined to entertain the idea that he's being reasonable, even a little.

Feud Turgidson said...

"not enough [focusing] on issues like those raised by the speeches given by Hillary Clinton to bankers"

I remember in 2010, Boehner & McConnell going to Wall Street & talking with bankers, along with coordinated speeches & interviews, with the sole message to WS bankster, hedge fundies, the US Chamber of Commerce and Corporate American, 'Give us money & we'll do everything you want, exactly the way you want it.'

The repellent turtle & the openly corrupt cig-sucking wine-swilling golfaholic orange man were LOUD & CLEAR that they could deliver to order uniform Congressional caucus obstruction to everything the Dem president & Dem Congress critters tried to accomplish, with utter disregard for whatever supposed Republican & conservative principles they & their fellow Rs mouthed, including every single element of the Republican Base that wasn't Big Money.

Unknown said...

Is there anyone left who Trump hasn't insulted? Besides his unhinged supporters? Threatening the media is a moronic move.

Feud Turgidson said...

I've read over two hundred of the hacked (tho no doubt mostly) DNC emails - maainly those in which Podesta or the HRC Campaign are involved.

Anybody who's ever worked on a political election campaign & so has received emails or fax'd messages or mailers or attended meetings or been actively involved in speaking with fellow campaign workers or even the public will recognize as typical these almost uniformly banal discussions.

The 'problem' with email, even more than text messaging or Twitter, is obvious to any of us who've ever read blog threads: it attracts gossip, rumors, anxieties, political football punters, blue skyers, sky's-falling types, streams of consciousness, rants. doggerel, hyperbole, mood swings, composure losses, & a torrent of doomed stupid ideas. (Put the DNC emails up side-by-side with just about any rightwing blog comment thread, or Fox, NRO, The Hill, Daily Caller, or Mediaite, no need to mention the likes of Breitbart or Ace of Spades HQ.).

Thing Atrios often puts up for new open comment thread:

"You talk too much."

Point being: it isn't, or at least isn't 'just', their nominee's self-absorption that's killing the supposed advantage of the Wikileaks: both the content & context mostly render all of it useless beyond as a boogeyman.

Also, do the core Trumpers even read? or VOTE?

Dr.BDH said...

"You can take your anger issues and work on them elsewhere, Mr. Speaker."
Megan for the win! Short of someone shoving a sock in his mouth, I can think of no better way to shut down Newt "A dumb person's idea of what a smart person sounds like" Gingrich.