Newt Gingrich’s prize for upsetting Mitt Romney’s march to victory in the Republican nomination contest is to earn the “racist” label from the mainstream media.
No doubt journalists have scores to settle–but there is also no clearer sign that Newt is a threat to Barack Obama.
Here’s the New York Times editorial board:
Newt Gingrich won the primary by a decisive margin of 12.5 percentage points, and there is no mystery about how he did it. Two-thirds of voters interviewed in exit polls said they made their decision on the basis of the two South Carolina debates, where Mr. Gingrich exploited racial resentment and hatred of the news media to connect with furious voters.
The link in the paragraph above sends readers to another editorial, in which the Times takes Juan Williams’s side in the debate over whether it is racist to point out that President Obama has put more people on food stamps than any of his predecessors.
It’s actually quite difficult to paint Newt as a racist, given the fact that he has long championed Republican outreach to the black community–for example, advising Ronald Reagan in 1980 to address the NAACP’s convention in a memo unearthed by Big Government’s Wynton Hall.
So the Atlantic’s Robert Wright, who recently insinuated that Gingrich might start another Holocaust, simply calls Newt a “hater” in a general sense for his response to the mainstream media–whose hostility he barely bothers to note. He “explains” Newt’s method:
Here is the algorithm:
1) Assess your audience. What kinds of people do they hate?
2) Convince your audience that you, too, hate those people.
Along the way, ironically, Wright manages to insult voters from the South by suggesting that they are more susceptible to hateful tactics. (The algorithm above accurately describes Wright and the media in general, substituting “the GOP frontrunner, too, hates those people” in step #2.)
The charge of racism is not a new tactic for the Obama campaign or the media. It is a sign that journalists have not been scared into fairness or objectivity by Newt’s responses, but are stepping up their attacks.
It remains to be seen whether Gingrich can withstand the onslaught that was lying in wait for Romney and which Newt has triggered, prematurely, by upsetting establishment expectations.
For now, he can wear the false “racist” epithet as a badge of honor. It is a sign that he is now the number one contender to face Obama in the fall–and that he is feared by his opponent.