Just kill me now:
A reporter asked me today why conservatives were initially so skeptical of the threat of the coronavirus. I tried to explain that one of the dangerous consequences of having a totally dishonest left wing news media was that most Americans discounted their hysteria as phony.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 16, 2020
You can date the beginning of the modern era of scorched-earth conservativism to Rush Limbaugh. Or Drudge. Or Fox News. And they all deserve their share of the blame. But I’ve always dated it to Newt Gingrich, and this tweet is a perfect example of why. Media support was always crucial to the transformation of the Republican Party, but it was still just support. The core of the transformation had to come from within the party, and there’s no question that Gingrich was that core. He worked ceaselessly and with laser focus for over a decade before leading Republicans into a congressional majority that depended on the utter destruction of Democrats and liberals. That’s been the Republican Party ever since.
Gingrich’s influence didn’t last long, thanks largely to a plunge in his self-discipline once he gained power. Today Fox News is far more important. Nonetheless, he’s the wellspring that eventually led us to George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and finally Donald Trump. Thanks, Newt.