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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 08:57 PM ET, 10/11/2011

Republican debate: Gingrich, the Fed and the news media

Newt Gingrich plowed familiar terrain Tuesday night at the Washington Post-Bloomberg Republican debate. In response to a question about Wall Street and wrongdoing in this country’s economic collapse, the former House speaker blamed not Wall Street — he blamed the media:

“I don’t see anybody in the news media demanding the kind of transparency at the Fed that you would demand of every other aspect of the federal government.”

Gingrich must be wearing some very dark sunglasses. Because it is precisely the news media that just recently prevailed in an effort to demand the kind of transparency at the Fed that they demand for the rest of government.

In March, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to force the Federal Reserve to reveal details about its emergency lending program for banks. That decision came in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit brought by Fox Business and Bloomberg. Do those entities qualify in Gingrich’s world as news media? Big banks opposed the FOIA suit, for quite obvious reasons.

Gingrich’s broadside reveals a knee-jerk thing about his debate performance. The media, he clearly understands, are targets with depravity all Americans can agree on at some level. So virtually any question that surfaces can be turned into a rant against the media.

Weeks ago, in the NBC/Politico debate, for example, Gingrich was pressed by Politico Executive Editor John Harris on some policy questions. He spat back that he wasn’t going to stoop to Harris’s attempts to divide Republicans, even though a debate’s sole purpose is to highlight differences among Republicans. He got away with that one.

He won’t be nearly as lucky with respect to his 180-degree mistaken view of the media and the Fed. Instead of lagging in the campaign to induce transparency at the Fed, the media have been leading it.

Ron Paul, a bulldog when it comes to the Fed and its ways, had it right when he said, “Bloomberg helped and Fox helped. They had court cases, Freedom of Information Act.”

By  |  08:57 PM ET, 10/11/2011

 
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