I’ve read this through several times and can’t quite figure out why Newt Gingrich would say this.
“As your nominee, I will not accept debates in the fall in which the reporters are the moderators,” he said, “because you don’t need to have a second Obama person in the debate.”
Doesn’t Gingrich owe his South Carolina victory to ABC News and John King? Hasn’t he ridden media bashing in debates to the front of the GOP pack, twice? It makes no strategic sense for him to ban reporters from moderating debates. He needs them, to some extent, serve as foils.
So, I guess, he doesn’t really mean it. If he is the nominee and debates are scheduled with reporters as moderators, Newt Gingrich is not about to turn away from that. He knows as well as anyone that debates are his time to shine. He knows what media bashing has done for his campaign.
Personally, I would like to see someone other than reporters moderate debates. The media are 90% or more Democrats, stacking the deck against Republicans. Gingrich is dead right about that. That’s precisely why Newt needs them.The mainstream media is not trusted or liked. They’re the perfect targets of Gingrich’s justified rage.
It would be worthwhile to mix in moderators who are prominent for having done big things — a Norman Schwartzkopf to ask questions about military and foreign policy, a successful entrepreneur, a religious figure, etc. I’m no fan of Rick Warren’s, but didn’t he moderate a pretty interesting forum/debate in 2008? We would get much broader set of questions from a broader and more interesting slice of America if we cycled in moderators who aren’t reporters. I’m all for that.
But just issuing a blanket ban on reporters? It won’t work, and Newt Gingrich of all people wouldn’t want it to.