The Jan. 21-22 guest editorial, “Can’t hide past: Gingrich’s personal life has difficult-to-escape demons,” written by the Hays Daily News and republished in The Herald, is a perfect example — perhaps even a textbook example — of the media bias that journalists assure us does not exist.
First of all, the editorial contains some true information. Newt Gingrich might well personally rue starting President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, but that is irrelevant, since Clinton deserved to be — and was — impeached for lying in office. That the Senate declined to remove him from office for the offense, after an extraordinary closed session with members of the administration (which had illegally obtained the FBI confidential files on members of Congress) suggests only that senators were more afraid of reprisals than Gingrich was.
Second, Marianne Gingrich’s interview dropped no bombshell, only a dud. It’s not because conservatives are going to approve of “open marriage,” but because Gingrich’s moral failings are well-known — and have been for years. These have been the subject of discussion since Gingrich announced his candidacy; it simply is not news.
Third, this article openly displays the sneering contempt in which the media holds the American conservative. The author says there is “a preoccupation in the current GOP race to see who is the true conservative, the most sanctimonious and pious person,” implying nothing more than a holier-than-thou facade, an excuse to “impose personal-liberty-stripping laws.” Yet the traditional American believes, as the Founding Fathers did, that there is a God who establishes standards of conduct, goals to be striven for. It is that striving for better character and conduct that created the America that could innovate, grow and become the most prosperous nation on earth and stand as the bastion of democracy through two world wars. And if you don’t think the editorial’s quote is openly biased, consider whether any journalist would write the opposite ... “There is a race in the Democratic Party to find the most immoral and corrupt person, who just wants to be president to gain personal glory and power, hobnobbing with the one-percenters at the expense of the poor.”
Fourth, for the media to call Gingrich a hypocrite is “the pot calling the kettle black.” Members of the media claim they have an obligation to dig and delve into every corner of a candidate’s past, so that the public may know. That should be true, but it isn’t. Journalists apply a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) — the policy they so hated about the military — to liberal candidates. Voters asked to see Obama’s birth certificate, and journalists not only didn’t look for it, they dismissed and derided the voters as ignorant “birthers.” Obama’s public school records? DADT. Law school records? DADT. Law school articles? Publications? DADT. Have any journalists tracked down where he worked, what experience he has, who he worked with? DADT. Voters don’t even know if he has a criminal record. DADT. Of course, there already is an official story on Obama’s past, but no journalist has ever bothered to verify any of it.
I apologize if that sounds like a rant, but it illustrates the point: Obama released no records at all, and no journalist anywhere cared a whit. It took years and, finally, immense pressure from Donald Trump just to get a photocopy of an uncertified copy of a birth certificate posted to a website. And the journalists still just laughed at voters who wanted even that tidbit of info.
Gingrich is right to be peevish with the media. To be fair, not all journalists are guilty of this, but if the media wants to be trusted, they need to investigate candidates of both parties fairly and equally, and then report their findings fairly and equally while leaving their biases at home.
We, the voting pubic, do not seek belittling or sneering derision from the media; we want accurate and unbiased information.
— David L. Polsley, Ottawa