WASHINGTON—Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has defended his recent comments about the media, saying that having journalists stationed at the White House is a “bad model” that breeds “adversarial behavior.”
“Having very, very sophisticated, very smart, very energetic people who spend most of their days sitting and waiting is a really bad model and leads people, I think, to have an adversarial behavior,” he said.
Speaking at the National Press Club on Oct. 23, Gingrich suggested alternative models to the White House press corps.
“For example, I think you could design an entirely different model, where local reporters could ask questions to the president. You could literally have virtual press conferences with people coming in from 30 different cities,” he said.
Gingrich believes the presidents should “actually focus on their job and what they’re doing” rather than pay attention to the press.
The former speaker drew attention early this week for his comments about eliminating the White House press corps.
“If I had had the ability to do it, there wouldn’t be a White House press corps in the White House,” he told CBS News on Oct. 21. “Because they are all the enemies of the president.”
Gingrich reiterated his earlier comments about media during a National Press Club Headliners event to discuss his new book, “Trump vs. China: Facing America’s Greatest Threat.”
At the event, Gingrich said, “The news media in America is very far to the left, compared to the base of the American people and certainly very far to the left compared to Trump.”
“And I think election night was so traumatizing that a substantial number of reporters have never recovered,” he added.
‘Enemy of the People’
President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized “fake news,” calling it the “enemy of the people.” He accused media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN of producing “fake news.”
“I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda,” he wrote on Twitter in August last year.
“They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!” he wrote in another tweet.
According to Gingrich, there are similarities between how the media depicts Trump’s presidency and how they depicted Ronald Reagan’s.
“There’s certain mythology here. Reagan was in constant fighting with the news media. The news media has said and did things to Nancy Reagan that were very, very unfortunate and inappropriate,” Gingrich said.
There were many polls and studies, he noted, that showed how media has drifted to the far left on the political spectrum since the 1970s. He claimed 85 to 90 percent of journalists “consistently vote to the left.”
“In every Western industrial democracy, the news media is on the left,” he said. “It’s the culture of the newsrooms. It’s like modern academic culture.”
Gingrich, one of Trump’s close allies, served as the 50th speaker of the House of Representatives, from 1995 to 1999. He was credited for the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional election that ended the four-decades-long Democratic majority in the House.