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Media Fawns Over Newt, Ignores Other Former Congressional Leaders

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"Media Fawns Over Newt, Ignores Other Former Congressional Leaders"

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Steve Benen observes that these days Newt Gingrich is everywhere you look:

This morning, for example, the Washington Post offers readers an 800-word op-ed from Gingrich about public attitudes on the size of government, Wouldn’t you know it, Gingrich thinks there’s a mass movement of people out there who think exactly the same way he does.

In the great tradition of political movements rising against arrogant, corrupt elites, there will soon be a party of people rooting out the party of government. This party may be Republican; it may be Democratic; in some states it may be a third party. The politicians have been warned.

Anxious to hear more? You’re in luck — Newt Gingrich will be the featured guest on “Meet the Press” this weekend.

He was lying on Fox News yesterday. He was lying on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. More of the same on “The Daily Show” on Tuesday. Looking over CNN’s political blog, which tends to keep up pretty well with the big political stories of a given day, Gingrich’s various attacks have generated “news” every other day for a week.

It’s a really strange situation. If were an editor looking for an op-ed from a conservative point of view about the California budget crisis, I would turn to one of the members of the California State Senate, or to one of the members of the California State House of Representatives. If I wanted an op-ed from a conservative point of view about the implications of the California budget crisis for national politics, I think I would turn to one of the 19 different Republican members of the United States House of Representatives. But the Post went with a former House Speaker from Georgia, who last held elected office about ten years ago.

If I wanted a conservative politician to go up against Dick Durbin (D-IL), the number two Democrat in the United States Senate, my first choice would be Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who’s Durbin’s opposite number. But of course Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the top GOP dog, would be a great get too. Failing that, there are 37 other Republican Senators you can ask. And there are lots of conservatives in the House leadership who might have an enlightening point of view on whatever it is they’re up to. But Meet The Press went with a former House Speaker from Georgia, who last held elected office about ten years ago.

I’d be interested in hearing from a journalist if they seriously think that a reasonable standard is being applied to the newsworthiness of Gingrich’s pronouncement. Back on Wednesday, Dick Gephardt hailed the appointment of Margaret Hamburg to be FDA Commissioner. I don’t recall that as having made any headlines or garnered him any cable appearances. But why not? Gephardt’s a former House leader, and held the post much more recently than Gingrich. On Thursday, Tom Daschle was in Atlanta and made a strong statement in support of health care reform. That didn’t lead Politico. It didn’t get him an interview on a network morning show. But why not?

What are the rules?

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