Newt Gingrich: Trump Is Right To Call The Press The “Enemy Of The People”

Newt Gingrich has endorsed President Trump's use of the rhetoric of Josef Stalin to attack the American news media.

Adding his voice to the chorus of people commenting in the wake of the bombing attacks that have been targeted at the President’s critics, former House Speaker and Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said that the media has earned the President’s label of “enemy of the people”:

Newt Gingrich said one day after explosive devices were sent to high-profile Democrats and CNN that he believes the media has “earned” President Trump’s label of the “enemy of the people.”

Gingrich, speaking Thursday morning at an event hosted by Axios, said he doesn’t believe Trump’s description is helpful, but added that he thinks some news outlets’ coverage is hostile. The Republican former Speaker of the House from Georgia, a contributor to Fox News, highlighted CNN International, in particular, during his remarks.

“There’s no more anti-American network than CNN International,” Gingrich said.

Trump also tweeted earlier Thursday that ”a big part” of the anger in society is created by “purposely false and inaccurate reporting” from mainstream media.

(…)

When Gingrich was asked why some conservatives were claiming without evidence that the devices were sent as part of a Democratic conspiracy, he replied, “because it’s October.”

“And they so deeply dislike the left,” he continued, citing former Attorney General Eric Holder’s comment that when Republicans “go low,” Democrats should “kick them” and Hillary Clinton’s statement about not being civil with the GOP for driving conservatives’ anger.

Gingrich said, however, that he disagreed with that view, and that whoever sent the explosive devices should be prosecuted.

You can watch the video of Gingrich’s remarks at Axios, but they should hardly come as a surprise given his history.

From the day he entered Congress, through his time in Republican leadership that eventually led to him becoming Speaker of the House, to the years that followed that have included becoming another far-right voice on Fox News Channel and candidate for President, Gingrich has demonstrated where his politics truly lie. While he claims to be rooted in the same sort of intellectual conservatism that arose with the likes of William F. Buckley, Jr, Russell Kirk, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan, the reality is that Gingrich was and remains representative of the forces that took hold of the conservative movement in the 1990s, beginning the process that turned conservatism into the mindless, idol-worshiping populist nonsense that gave us the Tea Party movement, the idiotic worship of unqualified candidates like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Allen West, and so many others, and which ultimately led to the rise and nomination of none other than Donald John Trump as the 2016 Republican nominee for President. He didn’t do it alone, of course, because there was help from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge, along with the rise of the so-called alternative conservative media and Fox News Channel. However, he was one of the main architects of the political culture we’re living in today. Given that it isn’t at all surprising that he agrees with Donald Trump’s adoption of a Stalinist phrase like “enemy of the people” to attack the one segment of society that dares to question the President, call his words and actions into question, and point out when he is lying. After all, in many respects, Newt Gingrich is the intellectual and political father of Trumpism.

All that being said, there is quite obviously something considerably outrageous about the fact that Gingrich made these remarks at a time when media figures critical of the President are quite literally under attack and in a context where vile rhetoric directed at the press has become commonplace among so-called conservatives online and at venues such as the President’s political rallies. As I said earlier today, we don’t know for sure who is responsible for the attempted bombing attacks that we’ve seen this week but the fact that they have been directed at people and media organizations that the President, and his obsequious fans in the prime time line up at Fox News Channel, have attacked on a regular basis is a fact that cannot be denied. At the very least one would think that a person like Gingrich who has such a wide platform for expressing his views would be more circumspect at a time like this. Doing so, though, would be entirely out of character for a man who has been an irresponsible demagogue for more than thirty years. The fact that he has fallen in line with the Demagogue In Chief is not at all surprising.

 

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Media, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    He didn’t do it alone, of course, because there was help from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge, along with the rise of the so-called alternative conservative media and Fox News Channel.

    Don’t forget Evangelicals like Jerry Falwell, Robert Jeffress, and Franklin Graham. Their wholehearted embrace of trump and all things Republican no matter how many of the Ten Commandments they break on a daily basis is responsible for the moral degradation of the Grand Old Party too.

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  2. @OzarkHillbilly:

    This is true.

    It brings to mind this great quote from Barry Goldwater.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: This atheist couldn’t agree with him more.

  4. Kathy says:

    After all, in many respects, Newt Gingrich is the intellectual and political father of Trumpism.

    A bastard birth if there ever was one.

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  5. al Ameda says:

    The new Mt Rushmore for Republicans is: Trump, Palin, Gingrich and Hannity.

    (and yes, I strongly resisted the urge to put Limbaugh up there.)

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  6. Robert C says:

    @Kathy:
    FWIW, Newt is the face of NAFTA from the 90s, but he and Trump are still BFFs..

  7. Kathy says:

    At some point, self-deception becomes as automatic as breathing. And it goes as unnoticed. It may be that Trump’s supporters honestly don’t see things like “crooked Hillary,” as uncivil, nor praise for the body-slamming Congressman as condoning physical violence. It’s just jokes!

    In a dictatorship or autocracy, part of the population knows the ruler is lying but they pretend to believe him. Like in Saudi arabia now with the Khashoggi murder. It’s self-preservation then. But a part of the population also does believe the lies, and when told an uncivil remark is not uncivil, or an incitement to violence is not an incitement to violence, they believe it also. Not for self-preservation, but because they’re invested in the ruler. Either emotionally or materially, or both.

    So Trump and his supporters are upset with the media for calling out his lies. That’s to be expected. His enablers and apologists don’t dare call him out, after all, out of political self-preservation (see Messrs. Flake and Corker).

    That’s what we’re up against. So much for the land of the free or the home of the brave.

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  8. Tyrell says:

    I have been concerned and bothered for some time about the coarse atmospheres that we are in now. And this was going on before Trump. There is entirely too much hollering and negativism: from left, right, middle, up, down, and every which way.
    Now I am not blaming the news media for all the problems, but they gone from respected professional reporting to political opinionating and slanted political favoritism reporting. Too often I saw the commentators hollering at their guests, and even each other! Springer’s show seems tame by comparison. And it is all negativity and a focus on bad news; much of it not fit for family viewing. And this has been going on for some time now, not just the last two years. I go back to the days of Conkrite, Brinkley, and the amazing Charles Kuralt. I don’t recall them attacking anyone and raising their voices. Back then families watched the news.
    That is why I left the mainstream networks and newspapers for other sources that give facts and positive reporting. Some of these sources are Newsela, USA Today, PBS Speaks Out, ESPN Magazine, Popular Science, TFK, Scholastic, CNBC, CNN (science), and Dogo News. These are not only news sources, but are educational and uplifting. If more people would go to those sites, they would feel a lot better. I used to enjoy “Capital Gang”, “Firing Line”, and “Crossfire”. There we saw differing opinions and civil debate, all the while respecting each other. I wish they would bring those shows back. The other week Ted Koppel said that the news is way too politically obsessed.

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  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Twas ever thus. Back in 1970, a friend of mine in high school wrote a song where the last line was “This is the land of the free and the home of the brave/Which are you?”

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell: I remember when Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtain would face off on the old SNL “Point/Counterpoint” segments, discussing the issues of the day.

    I showed a clip to some Millennials that I worked with, and while they were at first wary about the crotchety middle aged man suggesting something from before they were born, they stared slack jawed at the video as Dan Ackroyd rebutted Jane Curtin’s arguments, and found it as relevant now as it was then.

    “Some things never change,” one of them said to me.

  11. Gustopher says:

    Is it any wonder why the Saudis thought they could chop up a reporter and no one would care?

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  12. An Interested Party says:

    Is it any wonder why the Saudis thought they could chop up a reporter and no one would care?

    That’s the point, isn’t it? They wouldn’t have dared to have tried that with any other president in the White House, but with this immoral reprobate, anything goes…

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  13. Andrew says:

    Who?

  14. Scott O says:

    From the day he entered Congress, through his time in Republican leadership that eventually led to him becoming Speaker of the House, to the years that followed that have included becoming another far-right voice on Fox News Channel and candidate for President, Gingrich has demonstrated where his politics truly lie. While he claims to be rooted in the same sort of intellectual conservatism that arose with the likes of William F. Buckley, Jr, Russell Kirk, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan, the reality is that Gingrich was and remains representative of the forces that took hold of the conservative movement in the 1990s, beginning the process that turned conservatism into the mindless, idol-worshiping populist nonsense that gave us the Tea Party movement, the idiotic worship of unqualified candidates like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Allen West, and so many others, and which ultimately led to the rise and nomination of none other than Donald John Trump as the 2016 Republican nominee for President.

    Well said Doug, mirrors my thoughts exactly. Now the question is how much longer will it go on? I’ve been waiting for the madness to end since the late 90s but it keeps getting worse. I thought that we had turned a corner in 2006 and 2008. Later I saw the 2010 elections as a temporary setback. Boy was I dumb. I never thought so many of my fellow citizens would choose to live in an alternate reality.

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  15. JohnMcC says:

    There is a sinister sort of metaphor in the use of the noun “the people” to describe those who find that “the media” is their enemy. Because — obviously — not everyone experiences the traditional carriers of news as their enemy. But if you are among those who DON’T feel that the institutions and persons who provide news coverage are your enemy, you are NOT among “the people”.

    It’s a turn of phrase that divides Americans into “the people” who are represented by the political leadership of the country versus those who believe reporting that disagrees with the current R-party leadership. Do you read the WaPo and NYTimes, follow CNN or MSNBC, have opinions shaped by other non-Conservative thinking? You are NOT among those who are “the people” of the country.

    If you are like me, then, we are not among those who deserve respect or protection. Your rights can quickly be turned into gifts and indulgences from a leadership that actually owes you nothing. Because we are “enemies” of “the people” we stand outside the circle drawn in the sand that surrounds America.

    Let me take this linguistic analysis one step further — to a place that Gingrich and Trump have not taken it but that is implied in the words they are using: What is the difference between “the people” and their “enemies”? It is the leadership. The political leadership of the R’s is rhetorically claiming to be the decider of who is “us”, who is “America”.

    In Germany in the 1930s, that was called “the Leadership Principle”. Honest, you can look it up. And in the original German the phrase is ‘Fuhrerprinzip’. Rudolf Hesse said ‘The Fuhrer is Germany and Germany is the Fuhrer’.

    Surely I am not the only one who can hear the train coming down the track, not so far now, when it will be said at a Trump rally: Donald Trump is AMERICA! and AMERICA is Donald Trump!

    Would that fit right in there? Between the ‘Lock her up’ and ‘Low IQ’ and etc? Would you be surprised to hear those words of Fuhrerprinzip?

    Remember: “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”.

    Apologies to Prof Godwin but every word of that is true, as I see it. We are SOOOO screwed.

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  16. JohnMcC says:

    @One American: When you begin to form your own opinions, come back. Until then – forget you.

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  17. Mikey says:

    As I said earlier today, we don’t know for sure who is responsible for the attempted bombing attacks that we’ve seen this week but the fact that they have been directed at people and media organizations that the President, and his obsequious fans in the prime time line up at Fox News Channel, have attacked on a regular basis is a fact that cannot be denied.

    Stochastic terrorism

  18. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @One American:

    can actually form my own opinions

    Let us know when that starts…OK, Snowflake?

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  19. Jen says:

    Maybe OT, maybe not: two more apparent devices have been located, one to Corey Booker and the other to former DNI Clapper, via CNN.

    I hope this nut (or nuts) is soon located.

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Newt the Toot Predicts the Future!

    …if the House requested Trump’s tax returns, the party would then “be trapped into appealing to the Supreme Court, and we’ll see if the Kavanaugh fight was worth it.”
    Huff and Puff

    He, like Pud, is nothing more than a bloated sack of protoplasm.

    Had to cancel my out of town plans this AM so I will be here tomorrow when One American’s favorite Pussy Grabbing Sexual Pervert in Chief arrives.
    No Sleepytown bomb scares so far.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al Ameda:

    (and yes, I strongly resisted the urge to put Limbaugh up there.)

    If only the Misery state legislature had resisted the urge to put him in the Hall of Famous Missourians too. As is they have to clean up puke from in front of Mark Twain’s bust every morning.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @One American:

    calling me a man and a bot and assuming I live on the other side of the Atlantic because I post late at night and “attack” people and use “talking points”.

    HA! When I commented on your late night posting habits I followed it with a question mark. Ergo, I was assuming nothing, just speculating that it might be true. Most native speakers of American English would get that. Your inability to understand that basic nuance of our language in combination with your lack of denial is very telling.

    As to your ability to form your own opinions, I’m sure you do, as soon as Rush, Sean, Laura, and Tucker tell you what your opinions should be.

  23. al Ameda says:

    By the way …. Does anyone else here remember when Joe Scarborough said of Gingrich:

    “Let me just say, if Newt Gingrich is the smartest guy in the room, leave that room.”

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andrew: That’s right; he’s on first.