Secular Talk: Newt Gingrich Tells Fox and Friends They Created Donald Trump

This is a rare piece of clarity and truth from New Gingrich. The former Republican leader of Congress tells the panel of Fox & Friends that they created Donald Trump through their constant media exposure of him. He also describes Trump’s supporters as living in a fantasy world, and wanting to ‘kick over the pile’ about everything. Kulinski in his comments states that he agrees with Gingrich. Fox and Friends did create Donald Trump and make him the contender for the presidency that he now is. They had him on their programme constantly, and made little effort to check or correct his bigoted nonsense. About ten per cent of the time, they would utter a ‘tsk’, and tell him he’d gone a little too far that time, but mostly they put up with him. And thus Trump feels that he can come out with his appallingly bigoted comments about Muslims, Mexicans and immigrants without fear of criticism or a concerted political backlash. He can cast all Muslims, regardless of sect, including peaceful Sufis, as sharing the same belligerent intolerance as the 9/11 terrorists. (And here Kulinski points out that it’s interesting that he thinks having only a temporary ban on Muslim immigration is moderate.) He can describe Mexicans as ‘criminals and rapists’, and then qualify it with, ‘there are a few good people’. And Fox never picked him up on it.

Kulinski is therefore not surprised The Donald’s soaring ahead in the polls. He states that there are problems there of personal responsibility. People do have the responsibility for doing their own fact-checking. But Trump’s right-wing audience aren’t doing that. They hear Trump speaking and feel that it validates all their own prejudices.

Kulinski also asks us to imagine what would happen if Bernie Sanders got that amount of exposure. Sanders’ popularity would rocket, because his policies also have a powerful emotional appeal. But it hasn’t happened, because Fox and the others have a right-wing bias.

He does, however, think that Gingrich is slightly wrong, in that it isn’t just Fox and Friends, which has created Donald Trump. It’s the whole of the Far Right, who for twenty years have been creating this nationalist, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican and anti-immigration rhetoric of hate. They set the tone and nature of the debate, and Trump has simply picked it up and run with it. He’s simply taken and dropped the coded language with which it was formerly expressed, so that the true bigotry and fear shines through.

it’s an interesting perspective coming from Gingrich, a bright red Republican himself. I can remember one of Joe Queenan’s guests on the Radio 4 show, Postcard from Gotham, way back in the 1990s when Gingrich was promoting his ‘contract with America’, a journalist with the Torygraph, describing him as like ‘an embittered middle-aged chemistry teacher’. Just about everything else Gingrich has done is wretched, but here’s he’s actually right. Trump is a product of a more general malaise in the American body politic, the virulent xenophobic hatred in the American Republican Right.

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