The Washington Post

How to freshen the Gingrich campaign: Fix the media

Please fix the “elite media.” (Matthew Cavanaugh/GETTY IMAGES)

Yup, more media stuff from Newt. Perhaps the guy needs to shift gears, to find another move. In a Florida primary-night Webcast, Politico Executive Editor Jim VandeHei opined that Gingrich must come out with something new — like an updated Contract for America with a half-dozen bullet points or something like that.

Okay, but keep the media in the attack book. After all, there remain percentages in the pursuit: Conservative Republicans break three to one against the national news media. Plus, it’s fun for everyone. As Ross Douthat writes, “The press even takes a strange sort of delight in being ruthlessly attacked.”

So all Gingrich needs to do now is propose some solutions for this media problem that hogs more and more of his stump time. That is, how do we take the “elite” out of the “elite media.” It sounds like a towering challenge — in other words, the perfect project for Newt Gingrich. He said this to contrast himself with now-prohibitive front-runner Mitt Romney:

“And nothing available, a big idea, big vision, a big future, and all you got to do is try to tear your opponent down to where they get smaller than you are. That’s the Romney model. Now that’s not my model. My model is to talk about big solutions.”

Taking the “elite” out of the “elite media” is dicey terrain for a presidential candidate seeking to appeal to all those strict constitutionalists out there who know all about the press’s independence from government intrusion. But hey, Gingrich is already on record as saying he’d like to summon federal judges before Congress to account for their decisions, right? From there, how long of a walk is it to tinkering with the media establishment?

Who knows how Gingrich would propose taking the “elite” out of the “elite media.” Perhaps there’s a janitorial program out there somewhere that’d take reporters, editors and news executives down a peg or two. Or perhaps that moon colony could include a re-educational program for young reporters. But I’m not the ideas guy here: Now that Gingrich has recited the same criticism of the media dozens of times, let’s hear his “big solution.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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