Newt Gingrich’s Media Career Has Been Full Of Ethical Violations, Outrageous Comments, And Email Scams
Political commentator Newt Gingrich is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention on July 20.
Gingrich, who served as House speaker during the 90s -- the “first speaker of the House to be punished by the House for ethics violations” -- turned to consulting and media commentary after leaving office.
Gingrich was hired by Fox News in October 1999 and left the network in spring 2011 to unsuccessfully run for president. He became a host for the short-lived Crossfire revival on CNN in September 2013; the show was cancelled in October 2014. He returned to Fox News in October 2015 and had his contract suspended last week amid speculation he would be chosen as Donald Trump's running mate. (He was not.)
Gingrich's media career has been marked by egregious ethical violations and outrageous commentary (to say nothing of his frequent trafficking in favorite conservative falsehoods like “death panels”). He has also repeatedly scammed subscribers to his email list with warnings about the Illuminati and promises of miracle cancer “cures.”
Here are some of the lowlights from Gingrich’s career as a political pundit from Media Matters’ archives.
Gingrich: Bilingual Education Perpetuates “The Language Of Living In A Ghetto”
The Associated Press reported in 2007:
“The government should quit mandating that various documents be printed in any one of 700 languages depending on who randomly shows up” to vote, Gingrich said. The former Georgia congressman, who is considering seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, made the comments in a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women.
“The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. . . . We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,” Gingrich said, drawing cheers from the crowd of more than 100.
“Citizenship requires passing a test on American history in English. If that's true, then we do not have to create ballots in any language except English,” he said.
In the past, Gingrich has supported making English the nation's official language. He has also said that all U.S. children should learn English and that other languages should be secondary in schools.
In 1995, he said that bilingualism poses “long-term dangers to the fabric of our nation” and that “allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous.”
Gingrich said days later that “my word choice was poor.”
Gingrich: “Test” Americans “Of A Muslim Background” And Deport Them If They “Believe In Sharia”
Gingrich called on everyone in America “who is of a Muslim background” to have their faith tested to see “if they believe in Sharia,” and for any who do to be deported. From the July 14 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I don't want to really tie this into politics, but every issue America is now dealing with, every issue that we have discussed in recent months and years about the Islamization of Europe, about refugees, about immigration, about open borders -- it seems to come together, and also political correctness and not recognizing radical Islamic terrorism as the enemy and evil in our time. From your perspective, what does this tragedy, this evil attack tonight, mean for that conflict and debate?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, first of all, Sean, as you know, I was in Paris just last weekend talking with people who are deeply involved in trying to deal with the Iranian government and other sources of terrorism. And let me also say Daniel Silva has a remarkable new novel called Black Widow, and the entire opening section is on the systematic Islamic attack on Jews in France, which is the worst it's been since the Nazis. So let me start with where I'm coming from, and let me be as blunt and as direct as I can be.
Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia, glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door. But we need to be fairly relentless about defining who our enemies are. Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS, or Al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail. Any organization which hosts such a website should be engaged in a felony. It should be closed down immediately.
Our forces should be used to systematically destroy every internet-based source. And frankly if we can't destroy them through the internet, we should destroy them with kinetic power, using various weapons starting with Predators, and frankly just killing them. I am sick and tired of being told that the wealthiest, most powerful civilization in history, all of Western civilization, is helpless in the face of a group of medieval barbarians who, for example, recently burned 20 young women to death -- burned them to death because they wouldn't have sex with them. A group which beheaded recently in the Philippines two Canadian businessmen.
And we're told to be reasonable, to be passive, to not judge. Well I just want to tell you tonight, everybody who watches this video, this is the fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary, and to tell us the truth, and that starts with Barack Obama. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/14/16]
Gingrich Claimed That Obama Is Engaged In “Kenyan, Anti-Colonial Behavior”
Gingrich claimed in 2010 that President Obama tries “very hard at being a person who is normal” but he actually engages in “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”:
Citing a recent Forbes article by Dinesh D’Souza, former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that President Obama may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.
Gingrich says that D’Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama’s behavior — the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks.
“That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.” “This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” Gingrich tells us.
“I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating — none of which was true,” Gingrich continues. “In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest.”
Gingrich Called Then-Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor “Racist”
Gingrich later said that he didn't know whether Sotomayor herself was a racist, but her quote about being a wise Latina was “clearly racist.”
Gingrich: “There Is A Gay And Secular Fascism In This Country That Wants To Impose Its Will On The Rest Of Us”
While appearing on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor to discuss Proposition 8 in November 2008, Gingrich claimed: “I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment”:
GINGRICH: Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact. And, frank -- for that matter, if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that these secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they're the opposite, of what you're taught in Sunday school.
Gingrich: Obama, Dems Threatening America As Much As “Nazi Germany Or The Soviet Union Once Did”
From Fox News Sunday:
CHRIS WALLACE (host): You also write this, and let's put it up on the screen. “The secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.” Mr. Speaker, respectfully. Isn't that wildly over the top?
GINGRICH: No. Not if by America you mean the historic contract we've had which says your rights come from your creator. They're unalienable. You're allowed to pursue happiness. Just listen to President Obama's language. He gets to decide who earns how much. He gets to decide what is too much.
WALLACE: But in fairness, we're talking not just about any company, we're talking about companies that the government has put billions of dollars in with his pay czar.
GINGRICH: No, but he has said publicly, generically you know, some Americans earn too much. So he's now going to decide that?
WALLACE: No, he -- well he's not. He has said that, I agree, that some Americans earn too much.
GINGRICH: So, so you want a politician to become the arbiter of your dreams? A politician gets to say, “We're gonna raise -- we're gonna have a tax” -- and they proposed this at one point -- “we're going to have a punitive tax on those we don't like. We're going to decide that you have too much money, so we're going to take it from you.”
WALLACE: So -- but you compare that to the Nazis and the communists?
GINGRICH: I compare that as a threat. Not in terms of the moral -- look, there is no comparison to Nazi Germany as a moral force. Or, by the way, to Mao's China or the Soviet Union, all three of which were evil. But as a threat to our way of life, the degree to which the secular-socialist left represents a fundamental replacement of America, a very different worldview, a very different outcome, I think this is a very serious threat to our way of life. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 5/16/10]
Gingrich Claimed President Obama Is “The First Anti-American President”
From a March 23 appearance on Fox News’ Hannity:
NEWT GINGRICH: I don't want to cry, and laughter is the second best choice. I mean, you warned in 2008, you were the one person who consistently talked about Bill Ayers, you talked about what was happening with radicalism in Chicago, you raised the issues of who Obama was really was, and you are probably the only person I know who's a major figure who absolutely got it right.
So, Obama is a radical left, in many ways the first anti-American president -- I mean, you go out and you watch him and you think, you know, how can you stand in front of a mural of Che Guevara, who was a murdering thug, who was viciously anti-American? How can you be seen at a ball game with a dictator who, by the way, was arresting people while Obama was arriving? I mean, the dictatorship in Cuba has done nothing to accommodate the United States. Just as the North Koreans do nothing, just as the Iranians do nothing, all of them treat Obama with contempt, and it's because he earns it. He behaves in ways that are weak, and he allows them to take advantage of him, and I think that's just a fact. Now the question is, do we follow Obama with somebody who's equally susceptible to weakness and confusion? Hillary Clinton, who last night after the Brussels bombing, said we shouldn't really be afraid. I mean, is she just out of touch? I know she had Secret Service since 1992, but the fact is the rest of us don't have Secret Service, and we have every reason to be afraid. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/23/16]
Media Matters put together a reel of lowlights from Gingrich’s career as a pundit when he was hired by CNN in 2013:
For more of Gingrich’s outrageous commentary, see here and here.
Gingrich Called For A New Version Of The House Un-American Activities Committee In Response To Orlando Shooting
From a Gingrich appearance on Fox News after the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL:
NEWT GINGRICH: Let me go a step further, because remember, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, and Orlando involve American citizens. We're going to ultimately declare a war on Islamic supremacists and we're going to say, if you pledge allegiance to ISIS, you are a traitor and you have lost your citizenship. And we're going take much tougher positions. In the late 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt was faced with Nazi penetration in the United States. We originally created the House Un-American Activities Committee to go after Nazis. We passed several laws in 1938 and 1939 to go after Nazis and we made it illegal to help the Nazis. We're going to presently have to go take the similar steps here. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/13/16]
Scamming Email Subscribers With Promises Of Cancer Cures, Warnings About The Illuminati
From a Media Matters report earlier this July:
Gingrich has spammed his email list subscribers with sponsored emails claiming that “cancer was cured back in 1925” and the “actual cure” can be found through a subscription newsletter.
The Republican has attempted to cash in on his post-politics life by becoming a consultant and media personality. He has also made money by renting out his Gingrich Productions email list to shady entities. Gingrich list subscribers over the years have received supposed insider information about “Obama's 'Secret Mistress,'” a “weird” Social Security “trick,” the Illuminati, and Fort Knox being “empty.”
Among the shadiest sponsored emails from Gingrich are a series of missives touting claims that “cancer was cured back in 1925” and “the actual cure” for cancer can be found by ultimately subscribing to a newsletter for $74. The emails are from Health Revelations and Health Sciences Institute (HSI), which are both owned by NewMarket Health, LLC, a subsidiary of Agora, Inc.
The people behind the Gingrich-sent emails have been criticized as pulling off “an unbelievable, immoral con job,” skirting “the line between spammy and scammy,” and using people’s “faith as a way to sell them bullshit ‘miracle’ cancer cures and nutritional supplements.”
Read the full post here: Trump VP Contender Newt Gingrich Profited From Sending Cancer “Cure” Emails.
Read Media Matters’ 2014 post: The Illuminati, “Obama's 'Secret Mistress,'” And Cancer “Cures”: CNN's Gingrich Has A Bizarre Email List
Gingrich’s Ethical Quagmire
In 1997, the House ethics committee voted 7 to 1 recommending that Gingrich “face an unprecedented reprimand from his colleagues and pay $300,000 in additional sanctions after concluding that his use of tax-deductible money for political purposes and inaccurate information supplied to investigators represented ‘intentional or . . . reckless’ disregard of House rules.” The full House later voted (by an overwhelming 395 to 28 margin) that Gingrich should pay the fine and be officially reprimanded.
The Washington Post reported at the time, “The ethics case and its resolution leave Gingrich with little leeway for future personal controversies, House Republicans said.” Gingrich eventually resigned after the 1998 midterm elections, but his ethical problems didn’t end when he left office.
Gingrich repeatedly used his Fox News contributor job to criticize cap and trade regulations and carbon pricing in 2010. However, Gingrich political organization received $350,000 in donations from major fossil fuel companies during the same period.
Gingrich also used his Fox News position to boost the work and profile of the Center for Health Transformation, his for-profit organization. In one instance, Fox News hosted Gingrich and the CEO of a health care company which paid CHT to be a member. However, Fox News did not disclose the financial connection.
During his hosting Crossfire stint, Gingrich violated the standards CNN had set out for him by discussing candidates that had received money from his political action committee without disclosing that fact. After criticism from Media Matters, CNN responded by loosening its standards. The move drew widespread criticism, including from CNN media reporter Brian Stelter.
More recently, Gingrich wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal that attacked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and promoted a poll from the U.S. Consumer Coalition without disclosing that the anti-CFPB group was paying him as an adviser. The Journal eventually updated the column noting Gingrich’s ties.
He was later called out for his shady financial ties to groups opposing the CFPB while testifying during a House hearing.