Newt really likes the attack-the-media tactic, using it whenever and wherever an uncomfortable question is posed. But I imagine he never thought he'd have to use those tactics against his former employers, Fox News. Unfortunately for him, Roger Ailes' morning memo to his on-air talent was to take on fully the accusation that Newt Gingrich really isn't a conservative (like St. Ronnie himself could stand up to the GOP purity nowadays) and that he's saddled with corruption and ethics violation baggage that will hurt his general election viability. This gang up by the second string Fox & Friends group is more than little Newtie can handle:
He then took a sharp turn to attack the hosts, offended that he had been asked to “take seriously” Romney’s demand. “Even in the news media, you ought to have some sense of balance. As a reporter, don’t you have some sense of balance? Isn’t ‘fair and balanced’ part of Fox News?” Briggs jumped in to defend Morris’s question, explaining that he was giving Gingrich a chance to respond, not legitimizing any claims. He also expanded the question to propose that it was up in the air whether “any of this mattered. Gingrich responded that “if there is something wrong, we deserve to know” with Romney’s taxes only because of the “billion dollar Obama campaign” that would crush him if there was something wrong there– as opposed to Gingrich’s ethics investigation, which had “been covered for 20 years; it’s all out in the open.”
So why did Gingrich blow up at Morris’s question? It felt, at least on Gingrich’s part, somewhat forced, as if he was waiting for any opportunity to bash them. And that wouldn’t be surprising in light of some peripheral evidence that not all the Fox & Friends hosts were 100% on his side during that testy exchange with CNN’s John King– particularly Briggs, who tweeted his support of King (and Fox’s Neil Cavuto in defending him) that his question about Gingrich’s affair with his now-wife Callista was “fair game” (the twist to this is that Morris, who actually got clawed here, seemed fine with Gingrich’s reaction to King’s question while it happened on Thursday). Either that, or Gingrich had a bullet in his barrel for the media today that was ready to land no matter where, since the strategy is clearly working, and the Romney tax issue felt like the right moment to strike.
I have to believe that this tactic is going to wear thin fairly soon. The news media is not exactly an industry of shrinking wallflowers. There are a number of egos in the media that rival Gingrich's and at some point, they may get sick of being attacked for giving Newt the free publicity he craves.
By the way...that assertion that Newt made that all he was exonerated of all ethics charges? Not so much.
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