Gingrich: Media Attacks On Palin 'Like Watching Pravda'
As NewsBusters has been reporting since we were at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been a strongly outspoken critic of how the mainstream media have covered Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin since she was first announced as John McCain's runningmate.
On Wednesday, appearing on Fox News's "On the Record," Gingrich called recent press reports involving the Republican vice presidential candidate "factually wrong, intellectually dishonest, totally biased, worthy of the Polish state news media attacking Lech Walesa back in the 1980s."
Moments later, he put an exclamation point on his criticism: "This is like watching Pravda. This is a one-sided, vicious, unending and dishonest campaign."
What follows is a partial transcript of this delicious exchange (video embedded right):
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Is Governor Palin the victim of blatant unfair treatment across the board? Joining us live is former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who has just released a new documentary about America's energy future called "We Have the Power."
Mr. Speaker, nice to see you. And what do you make of CNN's reporter getting it really wrong and so insultingly wrong? And we haven't seen an apology yet to Governor Palin. But what do you think about it?
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I think the elite media's attack on Governor Palin again and again has been factually wrong, intellectually dishonest, totally biased, worthy of the Polish state news media attacking Lech Walesa back in the 1980s. I mean, this is a kind of deliberate, vicious, dishonest, total distortion of who Governor Palin is, including, by the way, the "Saturday Night Live" skits, some of which I think were slander and were worthy of a lawsuit.
And I think that the American people should realize that the elite media on the left is so desperate to elect Barack Obama that the view they're giving you of Governor Palin is fundamentally a falsehood. And the one you saw from CNN is so outrageous that they owe her an absolute apology. But frankly, Katie Couric misquoted Henry Kissinger. Earlier than that, ABC News misquoted the Bush doctrine. Again and again, you've seen elite reporters do things that were false in order to try to make Governor Palin look bad.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's sort of -- it's sort of interesting. I mean, it is our job in the media to challenge her aggressively on issues. That's our job -- Governor Palin or Senator Obama or anyone running for office. That's our job. But it is so profoundly personal. Is the media, when they get these quotes wrong and is so-called -- well, I don't know what the elite media is, but whatever it is, is that is it deliberate or is it incompetence?
GINGRICH: No, it's deliberate. Look, you and I have a fundamentally different view, Greta. When The New York Times goes out of its way for the second time in three weeks to run a page one attack peace on Cindy McCain, to have a totally biased coverage -- if you were to look at the coverage Michelle Obama has gotten and the coverage Cindy McCain has gotten, you have to believe that the fix is in. When you look at the magazine covers, you look at the pictures that are taken, again and again, over and over for the last year, we have been brainwashed, propagandized, insultingly lectured by the news media.
If you look at what happened to Joe the plumber -- you know, Joe Biden in the middle of that vice presidential debate was totally wrong about the restaurant he claims to go to to learn about the middle class because it went out of business in 1986. Now, I haven't seen anybody in the elite media doing a live broadcasts from the nonexistent Katie's Restaurant to point out that Joe Biden is just out of touch with reality. He's either dishonest or has a total memory lapse about his hometown. Yet nobody notices it.
And again and again -- I think there were 14 factual mistakes by Biden in the vice presidential debate. Nobody said that disqualified him. This has been a totally one-sided campaign in which the news media has been the best ally that Barack Obama has gotten. And we ought to be honest about it. There's no pretense, not a shred of neutrality on the part of the major networks or The New York Times.
VAN SUSTEREN: Today at -- on Gretawire, which is the blog, at 1:08, I put a blog entry in which says, "The arrogance," and then I put the question, "Who's the dummy?" And I guess for me, it's really hard to understand how arrogant the media can be. When you think about it, to be - - Governor Palin had to be elected by the city to become mayor, elected by the state to be governor. And to become a journalist, all you have to do is say, I'm a journalist. You don't even have to take a test. And if the journalists don't agree with her, they tag her stupid when she has done nothing but do her job very effectively.
GINGRICH: Well, I'd be curious -- I've not had a chance to do this. I've been thinking about having one of my researchers look at every single elite media interview with Governor Palin to see if any of them asked her how she gave $1,300 a person back to Alaskans as a tax break, how she negotiated and got so much money out of big oil, how she worked out the deal for the natural gas pipeline, or anything of substance about how she shaped an $11 billion budget involving 29,000 employees of the state government.
I don't believe, to the best of my knowledge, there has been a single question by an elite television journalist about her actual career in Alaska. And I think it is the most insulting -- I can't say this too strongly. This is like watching Pravda. This is a one-sided, vicious, unending and dishonest campaign. And then when you look at the poll numbers, all they tell you is that in the short run, being brutalized by the national media has an impact.
And by the way, I want to go back to Joe the plumber. Here's an innocent guy whose only mistake was he took on Barack Obama in a way that was very painful. And maybe the reason you have two polls this evening that show this race too close to call because Joe the plumber pointed out he didn't want some politician spreading his wealth to that politician's cronies and allies.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, one of -- one of the viewers wrote me because we reported last week that Senator Obama was quoted in a New York magazine, and I -- I'm sure I'm going to get this quote wrong, and I don't want to make the same mistake that CNN has, but something to the effect that he would be about 3 points higher in the polls if it were not for FOX News. A viewer e-mailed me, What would his numbers be if it weren't for MSNBC and CNN? Where would his poll numbers be? That question was not posed.
GINGRICH: Well, and where would he be without The New York Times, which has been the most unendingly dishonest newspaper in America this year and which is really a disgrace? This was once a great newspaper, and it is now a totally one-sided and totally distorted publication that does remarkably bad coverage of the race, that hasn't looked into even something as simple as what happened to Senator Obama when he was at Columbia University, which is in New York City, where The New York Times is published. So it just tells you how one-sided their coverage is.