Newt vs. the media

at 10:19 PM ET, 06/16/2011

NEW ORLEANS — Newt Gingrich continued his assault on the news media Thursday night, drumming up support at the Republican Leadership Conference by laying into a national media that has written some tough stories about his campaign in recent weeks.

Gingrich began the assault late Wednesday, telling Fox News that stories written about his business practices and his wife Callista’s role in his campaign staff shake-up were off-base and unfair.

On Thursday, Gingrich repeatedly demeaned the media as he laid out his platform for running for president.

A sampling:

* “I don’t want the news media to get confused,” he prefaced one of his statements.

* “For my friends in the intellectual and news media communities who find this a horrifying thought, I recommend they read the Federalist Papers,” he said.

* “This is going to shock the news media; it’s going to be longer than nine seconds long.”

And finally, he doubled down on a comment that got him some tough press last month for what some saw as racial connotations.

“I got criticized a little bit in the elite media … because I said that Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history,” Gingrich said. “Well, guess what: Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history.”

Gingrich’s decision to thumb his nose at the media is not an entirely novel strategy for a Republican candidate — conservatives are often critical of what they see as the left-leaning national media — but it is noteworthy as he begins a new phase after the recent exodus of senior staff.

While Sarah Palin has made a habit of berating the “lame-stream media,” it’s a little harder to go with that strategy during an actual campaign in which the media is so intricately involved.

Political analysts often wondered whether Palin could run a campaign while being so unfriendly with the national media; and we may never find out — if she doesn’t run.

With Gingrich, though, we could see a candidate try to run an end-around. Gingrich has made it known that he’s going with a more non-traditional campaign, disregarding the standard consultant-driven messaging he said caused the rift between him and his staff.

Gingrich continues to have an aggressive press schedule, and it’s hard to see him turning his back on so-called “free” media, but look for his media strategy to look considerably different than the other candidates.

 
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