Newt Gingrich: New York Times ‘Rededication’ to Fair Reporting Needs Questioning

Leo Timm
By Leo Timm
November 16, 2016News
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Newt Gingrich: New York Times ‘Rededication’ to Fair Reporting Needs Questioning
ESTERO, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich gives a thumbs up after speaking before the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the Germain Arena on September 19, 2016 in Estero, Florida. Trump is locked in a tight race against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in Florida as the November 8th election nears. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

On Nov. 16, Republican politician Newt Gingrich wrote an op-ed posted by Fox News, giving voice to widespread suspicion that major American media had actively and unfairly pushed a pro-Clinton narrative in the U.S. presidential election cycle.

Gingrich took aim at a diplomatically-penned letter to the readers from the publisher and executive editor of the New York Times, scrutinizing the paper’s vow to “rededicate” itself to its “fundamental mission” in journalism.

The letter, published Sunday, Nov. 13, comes at a time when the Times and other major American media are coming under mounting pressure for the nature of their political reporting.

“This is as close as the Times is likely to come to apologizing to its readers for a year and a half of unbalanced–and often unhinged–coverage of the presidential race,” Newt Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives who is known for his strongly conservative views, wrote of the letter.

Republican party candidate Donald J. Trump won the election held on Nov. 8, beating Hillary Clinton by dozens of electoral votes. His victory was largely unexpected, as polls showed a clear if not decisive advantage for his Democratic counterpart, and as media reports abounded with coverage of Trump’s controversial statements and actions with respect to women and minorities.

“You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team,” the Times letter reads.

But Gingrich thinks that over the one-and-a-half year long election political campaign, the Times had consistently bashed Trump and his supporters with “unrelentingly hostile” reports. The Times, he writes, had carried out a “partisan assault” by permitting its staff to “include their personal opinions and political analysis in news coverage,” and “spew their animosity to Trump on social media.” Meanwhile, it had not held Clinton to the same level of scrutiny.

Gingrich, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012, went so far as to compare the Times’ coverage with media controlled by totalitarian regimes. The Times must address its specific failings “before readers take the paper at its word,” Gingrich said. Otherwise, “why would anyone believe that the paper is now ‘rededicated’ to honesty?”

Trump’s feud with the media has continued even after his election. He sent out a column of tweets in the morning of Nov. 16, slamming the New York Times as a “failing” organization grasping for straws. “[The Times] is just upset that they looked like fools in their coverage of me,” the president-elect wrote in response to reports that his White House transition team was a “knife fight” of disgreements.

featured image: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich gives a thumbs up after speaking before the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally on September 19, 2016 in Estero, Florida. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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