What We Really Learned from ABC News and Marianne Gingrich
Anyone who made the decision last night, as I did, to watch Nightline’s appallingly tawdry interview with the second Mrs. Newt Gingrich learned nothing new about the target, whose marital infidelities are well known, but did, however, witness two of the most dangerous pathologies of the mainstream media (MSM) on vivid display.
ABC and its MSM colleagues claim to purvey news and opinion that are both serious and impartial. This interview was neither, indeed was the opposite of serious and impartial.
Last night's performance couldn't have provided a more vivid illustration of the double standards applied to the coverage of Republicans and Democrats. It was a classic case of an abject lack of the fairness and objectivity they claim to epitomize -- even as they attack Fox News as unfair and unbalanced.
Let's start with seriousness. Is ABC News serious that last night's Nightline was serious?
One could begin by saying that ABC “correspondent” Brian Ross’ interview with Marianne Gingrich was “tasteless" but that would be inaccurate. It wasn't tasteless at all: it was odious-tasting, the way one might imagine, oh, skunk à la mode would taste, if the "mode" were an acrid ice cream confected with the skunk's own vile-smelling liquid squirt.
Both sides of this interview seemed to have a lot to gain, and neither succeeded. Especially considering how Marianne began her relationship to Gingrich -- by being his girlfriend on the side during his first marriage -- she seems to me to be in one of the world's worst positions to whine, wail, point an accusing finger, and raise the "character" issue.
Turning to ABC so-called "News," and leaving aside for the nonce its enabling interviewing tactics, the network hardly managed to produce any Peabody-Award-worthy ground-breaking journalism with its blatant attempt at a grab for ratings and, of course, an effort to sabotage the campaign of the most lively and articulate Republican candidate.
And where can voters who missed last night’s Nightline see the entire tacky display now? Not on ABC’s website, which includes only a few grim-faced tidbits -- no, not at all. For the full performance, one must go to
which, although it has only 132 subscribers, boasts it has 84,320 video views, the latest being today’s addition of last night’s Nightline interview. The YouTube video bears the visible stamp of "facebook.com/ RonPaulUSA." No doubt Ron Paul would disavow any association with this group.
ABC News' introduction is an almost sexually aroused Terry Moran, hyping the upcoming interview in the breathless tone normally reserved by the broadcast media for tales of Michael Jackson’s activities at his estate, “Neverland,” Anna Nicole Smith’s death, and, the locus classicus to end all garish loci classici, the O.J. Simpson slow motion chase in the white Ford Bronco on California’s route 405 in 1994:
“Good evening, I’m Terry Moran and we begin tonight with a story at the white hot intersection of presidential politics, private lives and” -- melodramatic pause while the audience collectively draws in its breath in captivated-can’t-look-away mode, “character.” All ABC needed to add for the full effect they were seeking was the dramatic dum-da-dum-dum of Dragnet or the equally evocative and suspense-producing “DUM, DUM” of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Just in case it went by too fast, Terry Moran actually said, "the white hot intersection of presidential politics, private lives and character." White hot intersection?
This was not your father’s ABC News. It was the late British tabloid News of the World loaded for bear on performance-enhancing televised steroids.
In a ludicrous faux effort at “serious news,” Moran next confided to viewers, dropping his voice into a would-be meaningful lower pitch, “Gingrich has had a complicated private life.” No kidding, Terry, we’re all on tenterhooks, now.
Moran is followed by a grim-faced Brian Ross, the U.S. attorney for ABC News to Terry Moran’s Attorney General Eric Holder, who sternly announces, to what he takes to be his rapt audience of millions, that Marianne Gingrich “does not believe that Gingrich has the moral character to be president.”
Both sides -- ABC "News" and Marianne Gingrich --were tawdry. Watching them was worse than viewing porn. With porn you know you're being a voyeur to a reenactment by actors and actresses, and you get what you pay for. Here, you were sitting in on a vengeance-seeking-missile attempt to crash and burn its way into Newt's campaign for the presidency, aided and excitedly abetted by a self-described unbiased media outlet.
Brian Ross’ “questions” consisted of such cringe-producing nudging as, “You know his secrets, you know his skeletons…”
“I knew there was somebody else,” a spiteful and still-hurting Marianne Gingrich stated, pursing her lips.
Displaying a full screen shot of Mr. Gingrich with his current and third wife, Callista, both looking gloriously happy, Brian Ross announced in prosecutorial tones, “Gingrich is now married to that ‘somebody else,’ the other woman, Callista, devout Catholic [pause for implicit sneer], who has claimed she was Newt’s mistress for some six years, while he was still married to Marianne."
Welcome to the new ABC drama: Plymouth Rock: 1620. Witch trial at 10.
Ross never misses a chance to egg her on, as if she needed egging on. “It started with a phone call at my mother’s house when he asked for a divorce,” Marianne states. Interrupting, using the repeat the worst thing the interviewee has just said lest the viewers missed it technique perfected by Mike Wallace, Ross interjects, “On the phone,” not as a question -- Marianne has just stated it as a “fact” -- but just to engrave it irrevocably into the memory banks of his viewers.
“If he’s running for president, he has answers to give,” she says, just in time before her interlocutor interrupts again with, “You know his secrets, you know his skeletons.”
I leave it to any reader who wishes to immerse him- or herself in the quicksand of an experienced TV interviewer, reveling in the opportunity to sandbag the -- as of the moment when the interview was taped -- front-runner in the South Carolina primary. You will feel as if you’ve entered the malodorous swamp that is the mainstream media. You will feel empathy for Marianne’s unfortunate love life, and you cannot but be struck by her downtrodden affect, a dolorous mixture of mordant self-pity, obvious sorrow, and the ill-concealed and eternal rage of a woman scorned.
But you’ll also wonder, as did attorney and blogger Lauri B. Regan this morning at the American Thinker, and as did I, why ABC, like the Los Angeles Times, is so aroused and so inspired to provide every nuance of the second Mrs. Gingrich’s condemnation of her former husband, while, in Ms. Regan’s well-chosen words, they are utterly lethargic to the point of inaction when it comes to revealing anything negative about the incumbent, either now or during his 2008 campaign. No interest whatsoever in informning the public about him, their darling. Ms. Regan writes:
I am once again reminded of the double standard afforded to the Democrats and Barack Obama in particular. Coming on the heels of the Herman Cain melee in which the press had a field day parading one accuser after another before video cameras, it is difficult not to repeat the question of why the Democrats get a free pass. Why are calls for Mitt Romney to release his tax return not met with calls for Barack Obama to release his college transcripts -- something that is just as customary for presidential candidates?
However, of greater importance in my view is the silence, save for a few journalists and pundits on the right, regarding exposing a videotape recorded in 2003 of Barack Obama at the farewell dinner for terrorist-supporting Palestinian Rashid Khalidi. News of the videotape's existence came to light while Obama was a candidate, and the free pass given to him by the mainstream media was only just beginning to come to light when the enamored Chris Matthews' shared news of the tingle up his leg.
...No one seemed to notice that Obama had not written a single article while serving as editor of The Harvard Law Review, and no one pressed the issue of Obama's suppressed college and law school transcripts since it was a given that his brilliance was perhaps surpassed only by the likes of Albert Einstein.
But there is a videotape sitting in the vaults of the Los Angeles Times, and every American should be screaming from the rooftops for its release. In light of the Arab Spring, Obama's endless attempts to bully Israel into succumbing to all sorts of unprecedented and unsafe demands in the hopes that he would go down in history as the POTUS who made peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and the administration's ineptness in addressing Iran's nuclear program and military threats, exposing this videotape is of utmost importance.
In April 2010, Roger L. Simon published an article on PajamasMedia entitled, "Why is the L.A. Times Burying the Obama/Khalidi Tape?" Of further consequence is why the media -- and Americans -- are not demanding that the L.A. Times immediately release the tape.
So there you have it, a biased "report" by ABC "News" aimed directly at the most prurient interests of its viewers, tantalizing Americans all day yesterday with morsels of the grand banquet Nightline would present last night, and, in four years, not a single MSM effort to uncover or present anything that could possibly injure the chances of reelection of their own chosen one, the Constitution-flouting, Rashid Khalidi-embracing, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn-befriending Barack Obama.
It's enough to make you wish for an investigation by the Department of Justice. Just kidding!