Drudge announced breaking news with an exclusive report early Wednesday evening, stating that ABC News had conducted an interview with Newt Gingrich’s second wife Marianne Gingrich for a program to be aired in the future. Following is that initial report:
Wed Jan 18 2012 18:47:14 ET
Marianne Gingrich has said she could end her ex-husband’s career with a single interview.
Earlier this week, she sat before ABCNEWS cameras, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
She spoke to ABCNEWS reporter Brian Ross for two hours, and her explosive revelations are set to rock the trail.
But now a “civil war” has erupted inside of the network, an insider claims, on exactly when the confession will air!
ABCNEWS suits determined it would be “unethical” to run the Marianne Gingrich interview so close to the South Carolina Primary, a curious decision, one insider argued, since the network has aggressively been reporting on other candidates.
A decision was tentatively made to air the interview next Monday, after all votes have been counted . . .
According to this first report, the breaking news stated that the interview would first be aired next Monday after the South Carolina primary. It was later reported that ABC News would air it on Friday. Then the Associated Press reported that ABC News would air it Thursday night. Sure seems confusing!
Contrary to what Gingrich keeps telling reporters this week (that Governor Romney will resort to “dirty tricks”), don’t believe any of it. This is between Ms. Gingrich and ABC News. According to Drudge, Gingrich cancelled a news conference yesterday to deal with the breaking news. What is there to “deal with” anyway? There is no new information except that she granted an interview.
Of course, without excerpts of the interview, it is difficult to know if what Marianne Gingrich discussed in the interview is revealing at all or just some additional insight into what is already known about the former congressman. But here’s a guess. Based on the fact that ABC News first intended to release it Monday, then moved it to Friday, and again to Thursday (“tentative”) seems to point to big news. Interviews with his second wife are rare in recent times. And if what she talks about is in fact big news, it is unlikely good news for Mr. Gingrich. Since we are precluded from publishing the AP short, click here to read the published report directly. It is hard to imagine Marianne Gingrich revealing anything more damning than what she said in August 2010.
Marianne Gingrich granted an interview to Esquire in 2010 in which she said of her former husband, in part,
“Newt always wanted to be somebody,” she says. “That was his vulnerability, do you understand? Being treated important. Which means he was gonna associate with people who would stroke him, and were important themselves. And in that vulnerability, once you go down that path and it goes unchecked, you add to it. Like, ‘Oh, I’m drinking, who cares?’ Then you start being a little whore, ’cause that comes with drinking. That’s what corruption is — when you’re too exhausted, you’re gonna go with your weakness. So when we see corruption, we shouldn’t say, ‘They’re all corrupt.’ Rather, we should say, ‘At what point did you decide that? And why? Why were you vulnerable?’ ”
Though Gingrich had made history and achieved extraordinary power, he still felt like an outsider, and the hatred touched something primal inside him. “All he wanted was to be accepted into the country club,” Marianne says. “And he arrives at the country club and he’s just not welcome. ‘Yeah, but I belong here,’ he said. ‘I earned my way to this. I earned it.’ ”
Next came the government shutdown of late 1995, which so alarmed the country that the poll numbers for Republicans went into a steep overnight decline. “Newt’s shocked, doesn’t know what to do,” Marianne says. “He’s like, ‘Whoa, wait, wait! This isn’t just my fault! We need to work this out!’ ”
Greta Van Susteren weighed in on Drudge’s “siren” with this in her GRETAWIRE:
This is not to say that news should be suppressed (it should not) but news should also not be used to ambush. Thus…in light of the close time to the South Carolina primary…if I were ABC, I would hold this interview until after the polls close on Saturday (or I would have showed it a week ago.)
Politico released a letter by Gingrich’s two daughters in their “Marianne Gingrich Speaks” article along with this,
But Drudge’s siren-headlined bulletin - his splash came a day after the 14-year anniversary of him breaking word of the Lewinsky scandal — ensures much more focus on [the] interview by the rest of the press.
The New York Times, in its “Gingrich Camp Responds to Ex-Wife’s Interview” article published the following,
Marianne Gingrich, the second of Mr. Gingrich’s former wives, was married to him for 18 years. After they divorced, Mr. Gingrich married his current wife, the former Callista Bisek, with whom he admitted conducting a lengthy affair while he was still married.
Word of the interview was leaked to The Drudge Report, which reported on Wednesday afternoon that a debate was taking place within ABC over whether it was fair to broadcast it so close to the crucial primary in South Carolina on Saturday.
An ABC source confirmed there was disagreement over the timing of the interview, which was conducted by Brian Ross of the investigative unit, which operates separately from the political news division.
The push-back on ABC from the Gingrich campaign was in the form of a letter signed by Mr. Gingrich’s two daughters from his first marriage, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman, who regularly accompany him on the stump.
An ABC News spokesman confirmed Wednesday night that “Nightline” will broadcast the interview at 11:35 p.m. Thursday; excerpts will be released earlier in the day, before a Republican debate sponsored by CNN on Thursday evening.
At ABC’s competitors like CBS and CNN, executives scrambled to figure out if someone at their own shop had scored a big scoop.
Just after 7 p.m., as the evening newscasts ended, the Web site revealed that it was ABC that had interviewed Ms. Gingrich.
The Drudge Report declared that there was a “civil war” inside ABC News about when to run the interview, though if there was, it was a short and bloodless one.
NOTE: It is the hope of the Mitt Romney Central team that ABC News will take a very responsible, fair, and truthful approach to their editing of anything Ms. Gingrich said. Reports indicate the interview lasted two hours. After accounting for TV commercials, the net broadcast time of the Nightline show is approximately 23 minutes total (normally divided among three segments). Even if ABC News takes the entire 23 minutes for this broadcast, they will edit out over 80% of it. With so little time left before voting in the primary, Team MRC hopes that whatever ABC News chooses to report is fair and not taken out of context.
Just prior to publishing this post, National Review Online reported this in “The Corner,” that the Gingrich campaign “will fight back” and then also later they “predict that Gingrich will likely ignore the story.” This is the last paragraph of the NRO post:
ABC News wanted Gingrich to come on Nightline to offer a rebuttal of sorts but Gingrich’s advisers declined. “This is a sideshow, a distraction,” the third source says. “Is it helpful? No. But is it a game-changer? No.”
Obviously this story will be all over the news today. Stay tuned. There is a very good chance that there is nothing new in the interview and that any hype associated with the Thursday teases will be nothing more than teases. In typical Matt Drudge style though, he gotten a lot of people to sit up and pay attention.
“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keler
“Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero