Thursday, May 21, 2009

On the Surprising Ability of Newts to Regenerate (and the Unsurprising Pandering of the Mainstream Media to the Right)

In a posting yesterday, I noted the (not surprising) way the mainstream media continue to fawn over Newt Gingrich, even as he represents no constituency, heads no major organization, and has been out of office for a decade, and so forth. Not only that, but Gingrich is being cited as an exemplary spokesman for “the” Catholic position on various issues, though he was resoundingly reprimanded (by a bipartisan vote of 395-28) when he served in the House.

Now I find today that Gingrich is being discussed all over the place at news sites I follow. Jim Martin devotes a posting to him at America, focusing on Gingrich’s recent conversion to Catholicism, and linking to commentary on this topic by Dan Gilgoff at his God and Country blog at U.S. News and World Report. (On that influential publication’s coverage of matters religious, see my comments about Peter Roff’s analysis of President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame this weekend.)

John Aravosis also comments on Mr. Gingrich’s ethic lapses (and his apparent confidence that voters’ memory of said lapses is hazy), as Gingrich seems to be setting himself up as an arbiter of matters ethical. Aravosis is linking to a Washington Post op-ed piece on this topic by Ruth Marcus. Marcus doubts that someone with Mr. Gingrich’s track record with things financial and marital is in a credible position to be dispensing ethics advice.

And at Talk to Action, Bill Berkowitz incisively analyzes Mr. Gingrich’s “seamy and steamy history,” while he tries “[t]o stitch together a coalition of disparate GOP forces that will back him for the Party's Presidential nomination in four years.” Berkowitz concludes that, for a GOP hemorrhaging badly, bereft of intellectual and moral foundations, and casting about for a savior, Gingrich is beginning to look appealing—again.

Looks like we should stay tuned for quite a bit more news about Mr. Gingrich in the future, as the interest groups who fund the media show continue playing for the right. The question is, though, whether the well-known ability of newts to regenerate is going to demonstrate itself in this case—such that the regenerated product is more engaging and morally persuasive than the previous one.