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Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingrich and the Media, 1985

In the May 1985 issue of The Atlantic, Nicholas Lemann wrote an article titled "The Conservative Opportunity Society," about the Newt Gingrich faction in the House.  The article -- not available on the open Internet or Nexis -- includes one scene where he talks about his schedule and muses on his relationship with the media.
"I'm always interested in doing anything in New York, California, Texas, Chicago, and Florida," he said.  "And I want to keep my hand in foreign affairs. Teeter" -- Robert Teeter, a leading Republican pollster -- "says foreign affairs is the reason the younger generation is coming to us. I'm on the advisory board of the American Council on Germany -- because it gets me into New York. I'm just trying to work through in my head here why I said yes. This'll buy me another year and a half of Klein running around in his circles saying that Newt Gingrich is a good guy, which is very important to me." He looked at his assistants. "I want you to understand what's running in my head as I make a decision like that. Help build a COS movement in Europe. Meet with three congressmen in that market and talk about maybe doing something."
"If you're gonna go to Dallas, you ought to do a COS fundraiser," said [staffer Mary] Brown.
Gingrich nodded and plunged on. "A good example is the TV news directors speech. TV news directors is [sic] real important. Incredibly important. That's the central nervous system. They're the ones who make the decision to put Gingrich on. If we can do Face the Nation, that's very valuable. I mean, last night's dinner" -- the National Press Club's -- "made no sense, except the news media could see me walking through the crowd."
He grinned. "I still can't get used to the idea that so many people want me to come to the dance."