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.