Piers Morgan Tries to Bait Gingrich; Isn't Ryan Budget 'Radical Form of Social Engineering'?

When CNN isn't reading liberal talking points about the Romney-Ryan ticket, it's resorting to using conservative friendly fire against the Ryan budget, like Piers Morgan did on Monday.

Morgan baited Newt Gingrich by asking "it is a radical form of social engineering, isn't it?" after he played a clip of Gingrich ripping the Ryan budget as "radical change" – a statement Gingrich later recanted. It was also one Morgan happened to agree with.

"Now, many people would be agreeing with you when you said that, Mr. Speaker," Morgan stated. While non-partisan journalists might press Gingrich over his change of heart, Morgan showed his partisan colors by agreeing with the criticism and pushing Gingrich to do the same.

Morgan also used criticism from Catholic bishops against the Ryan budget – despite having had a complete double standard for Democrat Joe Biden. He lauded Biden as a "brave Catholic" for thumbing his nose at the Catholic church's teaching by supporting gay marriage.

"But isn't one of the big problems with the Ryan plan in terms of perception, the fact that he's looking after the very wealthy in America, indisputably?" Morgan asked, wielding another liberal talking point. He then read criticism from the U.S. Bishops against the Ryan budget and pressed Gingrich on the fact that both he and Ryan are Catholic.

"They were concerned about the ramifications of some of the Paul Ryan plan. As a Catholic, what is your reaction?" he asked Gingrich.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 13 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:03 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

[9:03]

PIERS MORGAN: Well, it is a big choice now. And it's a very clear choice. And the debate has clearly moved away from Mitt Romney targeting Barack Obama to Mitt Romney saying, right, here's my VP running mate, and we have a plan now. Because everybody knows that Paul Ryan is associated with a particular budget and a plan. I want to play you back -- you won't be surprised I'm going to do this. I'm going to play you back what you told Meet the Press about the Ryan budget plan a few months ago.

(Video Clip)

GINGRICH: I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.

(End Video Clip)

MORGAN: Now, many people would be agreeing with you when you said that, Mr. Speaker. But of course I guess now you have to distance yourself from that, do you, because whichever way you dress up the Ryan budget plan –

GINGRICH: No, I don't distance myself --

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: -- it is a -- it is a radical – but it is a radical form of social engineering, isn't it?

(...)

MORGAN: But isn't one of the big problems with the Ryan plan in terms of perception, the fact that he's looking after the very wealthy in America, indisputably? Someone like Mitt Romney would pay hardly any tax under this plan at all. And there is a genuine concern about the lower end of American society.

And the reason I say that is you're a Catholic. Paul Ryan is Catholic. And the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said to Congress in a letter on May the 8th, 2012, that they felt the deficit reduction, the fiscal responsibility efforts must protect and not undermine the needs of poor and vulnerable people.

The proposed cuts to programs in the budget reconciliation fail this basic moral test. And that was seen as a clear indication. They were concerned about the ramifications of some of the Paul Ryan plan. As a Catholic, what is your reaction?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I would encourage everybody who's concerned about Catholic social doctrine to read Paul Ryan's remarkable speech at Georgetown in which he outlines his commitment to precisely the concerns of the church and helping the poor.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014