ABC News's Marianne Gingrich interview has "that awful, awful taint of Rathergate to it," timed as it was "to do the most amount of damage it possibly could to Newt Gingrich's career," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell complained in an interview with Washington, D.C. news-talk station WMAL's Morning Majority program.
While Marianne Gingrich may be "entirely honest" in her claim, she is "lashing out at her ex-husband" and her story is an unconfirmable account. "I think it was a mess of a story, I think it hurts the media," the Media Research Center (MRC) founder added. [interview embedded below page break]
"I suspect in the primaries, I think people are so fed up with the press, so fed up with the character assassination attacks, this thing might actually backfire in his favor," Bozell opined.
"You have no problem with the idea of exploring the area of character when it comes to candidates?" co-host Brian Wilson, formerly of Fox News, asked Bozell.
"No, not at all," Bozell responded. Wilson then continued:
I'm going to argue this... let me just argue devil's advocate position here. You get an interview with the former wife of a guy who's running and surging in South Carolina, and she says, you know, in the interview, "Newt wanted me to have an open marriage." I don't know, I think that's interesting and one of the definitions of news is, you know, what's interesting? When people say interesting things it sometimes becomes newsworthy.
I don't have a problem with that being a story, but I sort of agree with you, that it's the timing of all this that makes people just sort of wince. Like, why now, and this is the question that I asked of Brian Ross yesterday, "Why now, what's the news?"
I think there was news, but the question is, why did they do it now?
"If the headline is Newt's former wife claims he wanted an open marriage, I think that is news," Bozell agreed, "But because of this timing, you just have to wonder, what is the agenda of these people?"
"Everyone's seeing it, that reporters aren't out there to cover news, they're out there to destroy candidates," the MRC president, adding, noting that "one by one" successive GOP primary candidates have been savaged by the media.
However, Bozell added, he "can't fault the media entirely" when GOP candidates meekly submit to liberal journalists like George Stephanopoulos running the agenda at primary debates. "They have every right to go to the networks and say, enough of this! We're not going to put up with any more of these character assassinations."
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