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Opinion: CNN Was Right to ask Gingrich About Open Marriage

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 02:08 PM

Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reaches to shake hands during a campaign stop at the Cathedral of Praise on January 15, 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina. Newt Gingrich reaches to shake hands during a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina. (Mark Wilson/Getty)

When CNN’s John King asked Newt Gingrich at the beginning of Thursday night’s GOP debate if it was true that Gingrich had once asked his ex-wife for an open marriage, Gingrich sidestepped the question and instead lambasted King for asking it:

"I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”

That got him a standing ovation.

Now I’m not about to argue that the media aren’t liberal. Democrats pulled in 88 percent of ’08 contributions from TV news people. And I’m not about to argue that the media aren’t in Democrats’ pockets either. CNN once “fact-checked” an SNL skit making fun of President Obama. 

But Gingrich is misrepresenting King’s question – and its newsworthiness. That Gingrich’s ex-wife accused him of having an affair might not be “news.” But that it comes after Gingrich himself spent months trying to get Bill Clinton impeached for lying about Monica Lewinsky IS. 

It’s a surprising thing in a notable person’s life – the definition of news! 

In CNN’s post-debate coverage, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer held that questions about Gingrich’s personal life should’ve come later in the debate. But Gingrich-gate was the latest thing crossing the wires at that point, as King mentioned to Fleischer, and that’s what a “lead” – or the first thing mentioned – ought to be.

Like I said, the media are liberal and sometimes prone to journalistic malpractice. But this isn’t an example of that. King was pursuing a legitimate news story, whether Gingrich likes it or not. 

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Comments [5]

Bee from East New York Brooklyn NY

In East New York Brookyn today the polling place was changed from past years. It went from a school gym to a small room in an appartment building. The line was out the door with little room to even enter and exit with the line present. This felt like disenfrancisement for this already disenfranchised community. The Board of Elections and NYCLU needs to explain why this was permitted to happen

Nov. 06 2012 10:18 PM
mck from Indiana

Gingrich is either a pathological liar or, if he believes his own blather, psychotic. In either case he is an embarrassment to the American political system and to the American people.

Sep. 06 2012 12:17 AM
Steven Kuchinsky from Highland Park, NJ

Dorian makes a very good point that Gingrich's outrage is hypocritical in the aftermath trying to impeach Clinton. However, I don't agree that that was an appropriate question for a presidential debate just because it is "newsworthy." Finally, Gingrich did NOT sidestep the question. He said that his did not ask his wife for an open marriage.

Jan. 21 2012 09:11 PM
Marie from Brooklyn

Am a good Catholic and a good Republican. Gingrich is really embarassing. A person has only one mind, and it's unlikely that he's capable of such digusting and self-indulgent behavior in private yet clean and good in public.
Gingrich got away with a snappy comeback that time, but so what? President Obama leads a blameless personal life as far as anyone knows. It's not easy to defeat a sitting President, even one who is not very popular. If CNN brings up Gingrich's sleaze factor, would the Democrats leave off?

Jan. 20 2012 05:18 PM
francyne pelchar from Pelham Bay Park

I don't care about any of the candidates' personal lives. One marriage or three, number of children, affaires, whatever. What matters to me is domestic and foreign policy. I don't care about a candidate's religion, only that it is kept separate from governance.

Jan. 20 2012 04:55 PM

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