Skip to comments.Gingrich on Debate’s No-Clapping Rule: ‘Media Doesn’t Control Free Speech’
Posted on 01/24/2012 7:16:24 AM PST by teenyelliott
(CNSNews.com) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says it was "wrong" for debate moderator Brian Williams to silence the "free speech" of the debate audience in Tampa.
At the start of Monday night's debate, Williams said, "We've asked our invited guests here this evening to withhold their applause, any verbal reactions to what they hear on stage, so as to ensure this is about the four candidates here tonight and what they have to say."
Never again, Gingrich told Fox & Friends the morning after:
"I wish in retrospect I'd protested when Brian Williams took them (the live audience) out of it, because I think it's wrong. And I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they've done in every debate.
"And we're going to serve notice on future debates, we won't tolerate it. We're just not going to allow that to happen. That's wrong. The media doesn't control free speech. People ought to be allowed to applaud if they want to. It was almost silly."
Gingrich is the only candidate who has prompted standing ovations from two recent debate audiences. All of the candidates have drawn applause -- and occasional boos -- at various times, however. And the debate moderators themselves have been booed on numerous occasions.
As for the heated exchanges on stage Tuesday night, Gingrich told Fox & Friends he "didn't want to get into some kind of brawl" with Mitt Romney. Gingrich said he'll correct the record -- which he claims Romney is trying to distort -- on his campaign Web site.
Gingrich is particularly annoyed at Romney's repeated accusation that Gingrich was a de facto lobbyist for Freddie Mac. Gingrich says he "did no lobbying of any kind," acting instead as a consultant.
On Tuesday morning, Gingrich called it a "great irony" that Mitt Romney owns Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae stock: "We didn't learn (that) until after the debate," Gingrich said. "I mean, here's this guy making this big deal. I don't own any Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae stock. He (Romney) does -- so presumably he was getting richer."
Gingrich said he had a "very specific understanding" with Freddie Mac that "I would not lobby. My advice to them was they needed better regulations, and my advice to the Congress as a citizen was, 'Don't give them any more money, do not bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.'"
Gingrich said he will continue to focus on Obama, jobs, and the housing situation -- which is particularly difficult in Florida, he noted.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who appeared on Fox & Friends after Gingrich, said Mitt Romney was "over the top" in his insistence that Gingrich was a lobbyist. Technically, he was not, Santorum said.
But Santorum also said that Romney missed a good opportunity Monday night to discuss the conservative coup attempt on Gingrich when he served as speaker of the house.
Santorum said at the time, there was a strong feeling that Gingrich was trying to undermine the conservative cause.
AGAIN, Newt’s absolutely right.
Why have an audience AT ALL if they aren’t allowed to reflect any kind of emotion.
Knowing the way NBC thinks, I’m a bit surprised they don’t fill the seats with registered Democrats.
Who is doing the debate Thursday night? It will be interesting to see IF whoever it is admonished the audience prior to the start of the debate on no cheering, no booing and NO clapping. We’ll see how that plays out.
OMGosh .. . .just showing a pic of the bruised and u-g-l-y looking JF Kerrry on Fox. hahah He looks TERRIBLE, well worse than usual.
Once Newt wiped the floor with Mitt in S C, his major opponent became the MSM, which may not necessarily be a bad thing.
Most hard working, tax paying, and voting citizens with an ounce of sanity hates the MSM.
Whether hard working, tax paying, and voting citizens are large enough in number to constitute an electoral majority remains the open question.
That said, when the MSM does Newt dirty, he needs to keep going on the attack.
They have had a no clapping rule at other debates, mostly because of the Paulers, who seem to make more noise than their presence would warrant.
It actually was better to have the debate without the interruptive Ra Ra Pep Rally each time a candidate responded to a question.
The debate is to elicit candidate responses, not elicit populist hoopla from the audience.
NO WAY would I let some little media intern tell me that I can't clap.
If the audience really was made up of conservatives and they sheepishly sat there because someone told them to do so, Lord have mercy what does that mean for our future?
What happened to Kerry? I just went to Foxnews.com and didn't find an article about any type of accident or anything.
Newt is right about the applause, but it would have been WAY more effective if he had made the statement on stage last night!
Simple solution from the media. There will not be an audience for the next debate.
I think Newt's plan is to gradually turn up the heat on each subsequent debate, ending with a crescendo nearest the primary.
This is generally a good idea for building momentum but it works against Newt with early and mail-in voters. He is probably expecting his win in SC to have plenty of carry-over impact for early and mail-in voters.
I can almost see the ads against Romney now..
You know that company that gave you the no money down mortage at that great teaser rate? Romney owned it.
You know that company that laid you off? Romney owned it.
And, you know that company that foreclosed on your home? well... Romney owned that too.
Got “Injured” in a Hockey Game.
Way to go, Newt.
I can tell he isn’t going to take any nonsense from the media at all.
“...so as to ensure this is about the four candidates here tonight and what they have to say.”
When Brianna said that, I thought, “...and so the audience can’t make you look like an ass!”
If a liberal would of said this this thread would be filled with post after post explaining that it is not an infringement of free speech. The government was not involved in suppressing applause. Please explain to this principled conservative how this is an infringement of free speech ?
Now one can argue whether it is right or wrong but to bring the 1st ammendment into this is silly imo.
** his major opponent became the MSM**
Might be an excellent call for all the debates! LOL!
Sadly enough, that IS the question.
What an opportunity Newt missed. If he had said on stage “Brian Williams isn’t your boss. If you want to clap, cheer, boo, go ahead. You’re free people, you don’t owe Brian Williams your obedience”, He’d have wrapped up the nomination right there.
“Why have an audience AT ALL if they arent allowed to reflect any kind of emotion.”
Exactly right. Why not then just sit at home and watch it on TV? This explains why the audience looked like a bunch of zombies (which is what the MSM wants).
Allowing this suppression of free speech — by the media no less — was yet another political blunder by the Stupid Party.
Maybe he could add a rejoinder: “Will that be extended to the “audience” in tonight’s SOTU?”
Hypocrisy R Dems!
And yet, they did.
Last night's debate was certainly terrible, and Newt did nothing to slap down that stupid blathering Romney.
I hope this story means that he got a good night's sleep and is ready to come back with some fire.
And I do hope he gets rid of the old lady hairdo. Not sure where that advice came from.
Compared to the debate in SC, Newt fizzled last night. I don't know why on earth he changed but change he did. He must have listened to some brilliant consultant.
If Newt keeps this up we'll be looking at 4 more years for O or his alter-ego Romney sitting in the White House.
The reason Newt fell flat is he feeds off the audience. Without the gratification, he looses his cadence
I saw something similar happen in 92. Perot made a speech to the NAACP. The audience simply didn't respond to his stock lines because they didn't resonate with them. Perot fell flat. His whole speech had the appropriate pregnant pauses to allow for some applause or verbal response at strategic places and the audience simply didn't fulfill their part of the role. It was painful. And it was at that point I knew he was toast with the general population or those who didn't resonate with his positions and ideas.
This may be the case with Newt too.
“What amazes me is that the audience obeyed, like a bunch of mindless lemmings.”
There have been many notorious psychological studies demonstrating people’s great reluctance to act on their own even when they know its the right thing to do. Sadly, most people will just quietly go along with the program rather than do something that they think will put them at odds with their peers. The lemming instinct is quite powerful.
You’re right. he seems to realize that now. Were I his campaign, I would put out a letter to every major news medium castigating Williams and informing them in no uncertain terms that such behavior will not be tolerated in the future. I would send the letter out in a news release. And I would go on every talk show reiterating the point in the strongest possible terms.
The better question to ask is why the audience kowtowed to those rules. Have they no minds of their own? Or have they been brainwashed by this administration and media lap dogs that demand that we, the people, submit?
You noticed that, too, LOL?
To me he looked like a little boy page in a British royal wedding procession.
All he needed was velvet knickers and a be-ribboned satin pillow holding the ring.
BRian Williams went an entire 1:40 Debate without ONCE uttering the words “Barack Obama”. When anyone did, he IMMEDIATELY cut them off!
And I thought the question about retaining a Federal Swamp Restoration Project was JUST RIVETING, didn’t you?
I mean, that is SO much more important than 47 million Americans on food stamps, unemployment, homelessness, energy independence, restoring manufacturing, etc,etc, Doncha Think???
What amazes me is that the audiance obeyed, like a bunch of mindless lemmings.
It was a set up for Newt to take away his momentum. I just read the following from a blogger at Lucianne.
This from Tampa television station WTSP and link provided in story:
“The tickets for Monday’s debate were all given out to the event’s sponsors and aren’t available to the public.”
“The University of South Florida, in partnership with NBC News, the Tampa Bay Times, National Journal, and the Florida Council of 100, will host the Republican Presidential Primary Candidates Debate ... .”
I absolutely agree with you. Don’t have an audience at all. This is supposed to be a presidential debate not a road game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. No home field advantage for anyone.
[ No way that frail little fag John Kerry was playing ice hockey. Give me a break. ]
I think he “fell down the stairs” after he hogged the katsup from his wife.
Why can't we have some independent thinker as moderator rather than some uppity "journalist"?
How do you know they didn’t?
In the general election debates can be moderated by an equal number of conservative and liberal moderators, but this system is nuts. Is there anyone who thinks democrats would EVER debate with Rush and Hannity asking the questions? And setting the rules?
I disagree. For too long Americans have sat idly by while politicians and journalists have had free reign. We need emotion put back into the conversation about our future.
I love that audiences want to participate and we need people to be passionate and get involved.
And it is super fun to watch Romney and random talking heads get booed when they say something stupid.
Then Newt should tell them to cram it and he won't participate until the American people are allowed to be involved int heir own political process.
That would get people to the point of torches and pitchforks at the media's door, I would think.
Then Newt should tell them to cram it and he won't participate until the American people are allowed to be involved in their own political process.
That would get people to the point of torches and pitchforks at the media's door, I would think.
Really? I thought it was Pelosi filing the the multitude of ethics complaints. The only one that didn't get thrown out was the book deal. I would submit the GOP wanted Gingrich out so they could take advantage of their majorities and spend like Democraps to buy votes. Gingrich was in the way of that, so they were more than happy to let Pelosi do the dirty work that she is soooo good at.
That is why I am worried about the future of our country. I'm not sure we can overcome the damage that has been done because most people go along to get along.
But last night, all it would have taken is one person to stand up and say, "Obey if that is what you want to do, but we do NOT have to be obedient to the media."
Nothing but crickets from an auditorium full of zombies.
Don't you know? They are saving that for the general election debates.
Seriously, though, excessive displays of applause can be distruptive to the tight schedules of debates and, in the extreme, can even be used to shout down other candidates.
If the debate moderates actually acted like baseball umpires rather than the ultra-partisan hacks which they are, then I would have no problem with limiting applause.
A decent compromise might be a Star Trek type solution where each audience member is equiped with a traffic light type device which could flash red lights (for disagreement) or green lights (for agreement). That way, you have visual feedback evidence without the time disruptions.
If the media hacks were truly interested in tight schedules, they would be asking substantive questions.
Exactly right. People keep saying Newt should have said something at the time, but he was not the one being told to sit down and shut up.
The responsibility lies at the feet of the dummies in the audience. I canNOT imagine keeping my mouth shut when some talking head tries to tell me what I can and can't do.