GINGRICH's Tuesday question and answer session...


November 21, 1994

FROM NEWT GINGRICH's Tuesday question and answer session at the Heritage Foundation in Washington:

Q. This country has a real problem with what I call the real world chaos people, and that's better known to everybody as the news media. Why do you think it is that they're so tone deaf when it comes to conservative values?

A. Well, let me say first of all that I think that we've had a long history of a rough and tumble news media. If you go back and read what Jefferson and Hamilton paid their newspapers -- back then they had party newspapers -- and if you read what they said about each other in the newspapers they subsidized, it was pretty astonishing. And so . . . let's start on the notion we've always had a rough and tumble press.

I think the problem has been two things in recent years. One is that you do have a lot of people who grew up as sort of counter culture, anti-Vietnam war, critics of the American system, made their name during Watergate, and that entire wave of reporters and editors are now fairly senior, and they tend -- much like a college faculty -- they tend to select out people to share their world view to hire and promote. So you have a bias in favor of a sort of great society counterculture model.

Not that they're patsies for -- I mean they've been very tough on Clinton -- but their underlying cultural bias is that way. The second is that an awful lot of them live in a very tiny enclave. They talk to each other, the ride on the campaign bus, they gather in the press room, they don't spend much time sympathetically going out and listening to normal everyday Americans -- I'm not supposed to use the word normal, it's politically incorrect -- [laughter] -- they don't go out and listen to ordinary working class Americans who believe in American civilization, a general phrase which used to mean normal. [Laughter.]

And as a result -- I'll tell you where the best place I saw this was when Mike Synar was defeated. And with all due respect to Synar, he was a very liberal Democrat who was more representative of Hollywood and Manhattan than he was of Muskogee, Oklahoma. And he had survived for years by using all sorts of resources form the left in order to keep his district at bay even though they kept trying to beat him. You could tell those reporters that said, "Here is this wonderful elite guy who has heroically fought against all of those rednecks in Oklahoma, and isn't it sad he finally got drowned." [Laughter.]

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