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Newt Gingrich explains how Trump feeds media false narratives to distract from real stories

“It’s better off for him to give them a rabbit than for [the media] to go find their own rabbit.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. CREDIT: AP Photo/Chuck Burton
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. CREDIT: AP Photo/Chuck Burton

President-elect Donald Trump’s fondness for giving credence to false narratives is part of a “creative” process to divert away from real news stories, transition advisor Newt Gingrich revealed Tuesday.

During an interview with Fox News, former House Speaker Gingrich said that Trump’s success on the show The Apprentice taught him how to play up the “tension” and “showmanship” surrounding his incoming presidency.

Gingrich explained that Trump diverts the media with “rabbits,” or unimportant stories to throw them off from pursuing real stories. As an example, Gingrich referenced the media’s five or six day long focus on Trump’s irritation and possible internal feud with adviser Kellyanne Conway’s over her critical remarks about Mitt Romney’s potential nomination as U.S. Secretary of State.

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“[The Apprentice] was a remarkably popular show,” Gingrich told Fox News host Jenna Lee during the interview. “[Trump] understands the value of tension. He understands the value of showmanship. And candidly, the news media is going to chase the rabbit. So it’s better off for him to give them a rabbit than for them to go find their own rabbit. He’s had them fixated on Mitt Romney now for five or six days. I think from his perspective, that’s terrific. It gives everyone something to talk about.”

“He does not think of this as chaos. He thinks of this as creativity,” Gingrich added.

Gingrich said Trump’s huge following on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has allowed him to get Americans to go after the “elite media” for disseminating real information.

“President-elect Trump’s ability to communicate directly to the American people when he wants to through Facebook, through Twitter, through a variety of mechanisms that aren’t traditional gives him an ability to communicate and build on majority unlike any president we have seen up until now and I suspect he will continue to use it.” Gingrich said. “He is not going to fall into allowing the elite media to define who he is and allowing them to censor what the American people learned.”

Gingrich later suggested Trump’s tweets sometimes backfire, saying that the one on Sunday about illegal voting “wasn’t particularly helpful to him.”

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In that tweet, Trump wrote, “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” There is no evidence to support the president-elect’s claim that there was widespread voter fraud, especially on the order of millions of people. During the campaign and throughout the transition, Trump has tweeted out numerous false news stories and memes from white supremacist websites as fact.

Trump vehemently defended his allegation that voter fraud took place on Monday night, going on a Twitter tirade to rail against a CNN reporter for disputing the claim that there were millions of illegal voters. As part of that tirade, in which he retweeted random supporters, the president elect also appeared to retweet a 16-year-old who wrote, “ Pathetic — you have no sufficient evidence that Donald Trump did not suffer from voter fraud, shame!”